Ida Recovery from the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center

Of the 11 staff members of the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center, none of us had electricity or internet for some time during IDA.  Some evacuated. They are returning to NO gradually to assess damage and begin repairs. The ASC had no electricity or internet until Friday. Our office is opening on Monday – not all staff are able to return because they are in recovery mode.

Here are some stories from the hearts of spiritual directors.

  • One religious woman sits with a dying member of her community who was in leadership ministry with Jeanne, Dot and Sue
  • One directee looks at the home of her parents – a religious article hanging on an inside door frame is all that is left of the home
  • Watching the water over roads in Grand Isle, other parts of the Houma Diocese is heart rending for those of us who ministered in those small bayou dwellings
  • Listening to the story of a priest who ministers in one of the River Parishes is OH so very sad.
  • A Jesuit from New Orleans drives to Baton Rouge until students can return to Loyola – they have been bussed to Springhill College and other colleges
  • An elderly directee evacuated to stay with her children In Baton Rouge, her husband has dementia and kept asking when are we going home and when they returned home he was still asking when we are going home; her house was intact inside but her beautiful prayer garden was destroyed. At the same time, she received news that her son was at MD Anderson and his cancer was not improving and his home in Laplace took in water. She continues to pray and stay strong through it all.
  • A younger married directee now has to relocate from her Metairie apartment because it took in water and is growing mold which, she is severely allergic to, a ministry she has grown attached to and has been an instructor for has now gone totally virtual and she will no longer be needed. She is putting their things in storage and are thinking where to live and start over. Yet her faith is strong.
  • Reconciliation, an evacuation to her brother’s house in Texas allowed for healing of their fractured relationship while staying with him.
  • A few days prior to the storm my directee had a major surgery, while recovering from home she had to evacuate to Lafayette to her sister’s home, thankfully she returned to Kenner yesterday, her home is intact and she has power. She is the most resilient 72-year-old.
  • A widow directee broke down on the phone with me when she was trying to file a claim and her computer would not work, she never had to handle these things, she feels alone. A tree fell on her property and learns because it is in her yard she must handle it, water came in one bedroom, together we prayed and cried. Then her generator went out, for a while and she needed help from neighbors to get it going. She is alone in her home. She took valium just to calm herself this week from all the stress. She is missing her routine of morning prayer, mass and adoration.
  • A religious sister went without power for almost 2 weeks but yet when we talked on the phone she was very optimistic, she stayed strong through support of the sister’s living with her and the rosary. Thankfully, power has been restored and the cleanup continues of many trees down on the property.
  • A Pastor’s own residence was damaged but he continued to be there for his parishioners, and the community. But he has limits too.
  • The gift of being a Director during this time is the gift of listening to others, it takes us out of our own worries, and expands our vision of things. It makes prayer fruitful because we can pray for them, and even when it is dry it becomes purposeful.
  • Another directee has damage to her home and rental properties, but shares I am grateful on one hand and my heart broken on the other, trying to find the peace, I have my moments both ways.
  • As a Director myself, lots of thanksgiving for how much has been accomplished in two weeks, and accepting going home eventually to a town that looks like a bomb went off, sadness for the many neighbors and friends that are hurting. I pray we can come back from this, many are leaving the area permanently. It was always our plan to do so, but for many it was not, Laplace was their home. I pray for the businesses who will be affected for a long time, our church community which has taken a heavy hit, our archdiocese of New Orleans too. I pray I can find a little light in each day, so I can provide a glimmer of hope to my directees who are suffering from this storm in their lives.
  • Many directees shared stories of the statues of Mary standing tall through the storm when everything around her was damaged.
  • Listening to a Directee talk about how bad he felt for those who experienced so much storm damage, while he did not.  He knew what they were experiencing because he lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.  He knew what they are going through, so he could relate to their feelings.  However, this time he only lost power for a few days; but even then, had a generator, so, as he put it, he and his family were only “slightly inconvenienced”.  As we talked, he began to realize, that because of the “survivors’ guilt” he was experiencing, he forgot to be thankful for his experience this time of being only slightly inconvenienced.
  • I have heard from directees and I hear it inside myself, “Somewhere inside me, Katrina and IDA live together and clamor for attention.”
  • An intern in spiritual direction training said that after she and her son weathered the storm together in one of their halls knowing the roof would be lifted off their house, spent the day after the storm clearing their yard and the yards of two neighbors. When they could no longer take the humid heat, they went to a motel only to find that their VISA card had been compromised and their cards were now frozen.
  • From a directee,“I do not know if I can go through this another time.”
  • Being with our Assisted Living Sisters during the two days when the generator didn’t work, was the most painful moment for me. Such a blessed time in our lives yet how delicate and fragile we become.  As the second day without power, water, etc. was coming to and end and not expecting the propane delivery until the next day, God’s promise, “..that God always hears the cry of the poor…” was fulfilled.  The propane arrived and you could hear our joyful thanksgiving through the entire property. Sr. Gloria Murillo, STJ  (staff member)
Posted in News

5 responses to “Ida Recovery from the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center

  1. Thank you so much, Dot, for sharing these stories. They “incarnate” both the suffering and the love that are interwoven in your all’s terrible challenges at this time.

  2. Dot, thank you for sharing amazing stories of faith and compassion in the midst of suffering and challenge. Present day gospel stories.

  3. Thank you, Dot for sharing these stories. They make very real some of the stories we hear and read. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of those who are living through so much loss.
    Prayer and blessings,
    Barbara

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