March 22, 2020:  Day of Worldwide Solidarity and Prayer 

Dear Sisters, 

I am sure many of you are following today the invitation of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) to Worldwide Solidarity and Prayer especially for all those directly affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

In our faith sharing last night, we the CLT, reflecting on the situation in Italy and the expanding Pandemic in the light of the Gospel of the IV Lenten Sunday, felt a strong desire to send you a message to let you know that we are all connected in prayer and solidarity. 

During these past days, we received many messages, e-mails and calls from all over the world, asking about the situation in Italy and how it affects us in the Generalate and expressing their prayerful support. At the same time, sisters shared their concerns about the rapidly increasing number of infected people in their respective countries, provinces/ regions. 

Thank you, dear sisters, for these signs of belonging, concern and support. 

I am glad to let you know that we are all fine here in Rome. We are doing everything possible to follow the rules and advice of the Government in order to lessen the spread of the virus. At the same time we are praying for protection, healing, and consolation for the people who are most affected. What is difficult for most of us is that we cannot DO much; that we are asked to stay “in casa”, at home, because staying home minimizes the spread of the virus and ultimately saves more lives. 

Religious  Congregations who have communities in the most affected area, in the North of Italy, are really suffering. Some are mourning  the loss of their Sisters who have died because of the virus. We are trying to keep in contact with them, letting them know that they are not alone in this difficult time. Right now some communities in and near Rome have also tested positive. 

With all the information we receive, we have not heard that  any of our sisters have been infected, not even in the Far East, which  was for so long the focus of attention. Today I spoke with Father General Budi and he confirmed that they too are fine. The SSpS-SVD-Tertiate in Nemi continues their program as far as possible, adjusting according to the situation when resource persons are not able to come.  

Dear Sisters, the Gospel of today speaks about blindness and healing. The healed man is not interested in finding out who is responsible for the sickness, he does not even know who healed him. He only knows that he was blind and now he can see; and after a personal encounter with Jesus he confesses “Lord, I believe”. Let us pray that our eyes may be opened to recognize the Lord in the midst of fear, sadness, loss, sickness and death, helplessness and heart-breaking scenes, searching and healing.  Let us also pray, that our ears and our hearts may be opened to hear the cry of our suffering world so that we, guided by the Spirit, can respond with generosity and compassion. 

Dear Sisters, we are asked to stay home and to keep physical distance, but we are invited to stay connected on-line with God in prayer and on-line with one another through modern technology and social media. Take CARE and many blessings for the remaining days of the Lenten journey, one that   will be very different from other years because Church celebrations and processions are cancelled everywhere. May this help us to grow more deeply into the Paschal mystery of the passion, cross, death and resurrection of Christ. 

“Let us live from hour to hour, from day to day and leave the future to God” (Bl. Mother Josepha)

Sr. Maria Theresia Hörnemann SSpS – Congregational Leader