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For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


 

From Dominican Sisters International


Reflections On Response To Covid-19 In Nigeria

Click here to read the published story.

Sr. Rita Schwarzenberger, OP
Dominican Sisters of Peace

My response to COVID-19 in Nigeria is colored by other personal experiences at the onset of information on the disease here in Nigeria. I was in the hospital recovering from surgery when the government began to speak about COVID-19 and the need to engage in protective measures against the disease.

A national task force was set up, and nightly on the news there was a press report on what was happening regarding measures the government was taking, both in terms of structures and of the spread of disease in the various states. Two states and the Abuja were ordered to lock down.

In Kaduna State, the governor who was among the first to announce that he was infected, ordered a complete lockdown that lasted more than a month. Only hospital personnel and others offering essential services were exempted from the lockdown. Others who were caught were subject to fines.

This lockdown affected people in different ways. People in rural areas were able to eat what food they had on hand, but they were not able to market the necessary goods to buy what they did not have. People in the outskirts of the main city moved about on foot to go to nearby shops to buy necessary items. But from all the cry was that the government is trying to starve them, that they would die of hunger rather than from the virus.

In Kaduna, the government initially within the second month lifted the ban for only one day in a week to allow people to go to market for foodstuff. No other shop was allowed to open unless it was for service for essential services, e.g., petrol station, pharmacies, etc. According to government directives, masks were to be worn, but this was ignored, and because of the desperation of people to get what they needed within the 24-hour free period, there was much pushing and shoving in the markets, no local distancing observed at all. After about two weeks of such, the days were extended to two a week. But again, safety protocols were largely ignored, though the government tried to set up areas for food so that markets would not be overcrowded.

Sr. Julie came daily to the hospital to bring me food. She was able to pass through all the checkpoints (manned by military and police and other security bodies) because she had a national ID card as a nurse. Two of our staff who took turns staying with me at night were also able to pass because of their IDs as health workers. Their bigger problem was getting transport to come to the hospital because cars and buses were not plying the road due to the lockdown. But as is often the case in the Nigerian system, ‘big’ people were able to come to visit me, e.g., priests, highly placed people, etc. Others such as parishioners and staff took their chances of not getting caught.

Regarding work, the clinic purchased hand gloves, sanitizer, soap, buckets, and containers for water supply, etc. Patients came into a situation where social distancing had been established through placement of areas to sit. Visits to rural communities were curtailed, and the main ones carried out were related to the pandemic. Sensitization was done and accompanied with distribution of buckets, soap, masks, etc. This was done for community groups in general and in some communities, for children. An assessment was made in five communities to determine those most vulnerable, i.e., elderly, disabled, widows/widowers, the sick, single-headed households, etc. These were then given palliatives such as cooking oil, bouillon cubes, rice, soap, etc., when funds were available for these goods.

Places of worship were not allowed to open. Easter was celebrated by people in their homes. Some priests did defy the orders and instead of having Mass in the parish church, they would have it for a small group in their home or go to one of the outlying areas of the parish to celebrate in someone’s home. No social distancing was observed in such cases. People love the Mass, so they did not bother about the virus, for them, it was most important to have Mass. Several Sunday Masses were available online so that is how most people ‘attended’ Sunday Mass. Most people did not believe that COVID-19 is real; they believe it is a government scam to get money from international agencies. Thus now, with the society open, few wear masks or even consider social distancing. Churches and mosques are now allowed to hold their worship services. Among the doubters have been the priests who have been stating that there is no COVID-19 in Nigeria, that the numbers of cases and deaths are just made up numbers.

Their opinion was shattered several weeks ago when one of their brothers, Fr. Augustine Madaki, was infected and died within 3-4 days. He was diabetic thus more susceptible to the worst effects of the virus. His funeral was well attended (more than 110 priests) by large numbers of friends and ex-parishioners of his as well as his living family members. The reality of the disease was made more graphic by the fact that his casket was not brought into the church but taken straight to the cemetery for burial.

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We enter into hopeful waiting.

 

 

 

As this “year like no other” draws to a close, we come to the season of Advent. A period of expectation, of waiting ….

It may seem to many of us that we have spent most of 2020 waiting …waiting for quarantines to lift, waiting for good news about a COVID vaccine, waiting for calls for justice to yield real change.

Advent is a different type of waiting. Rather than waiting with trepidation or fear, Advent – even in 2020 – is a period of joyful waiting. A time for hope. We understand what it is that we await. At the end of this season of anticipation, we will welcome the Messiah, Jesus. The Prince of Peace.

As we enter into these days of hopeful waiting, we ask you to join the Dominican Sisters of Peace in reflections that consider the gifts of Advent in the light of this unique year that we have all experienced.

Advent Week 1 – A Reflection on HOPE

 

Click here to view the video.

Click here to view and download the HOPE Prayer Card.

 


Advent Week 2 – A Reflection on LOVE

Where do you find love?
Look around at those who serve. Look around at those who give. Look to Christ, who in His love, sacrificed all for you.
Even in this year of upheaval and social strife, love is everywhere, if you look in the right places.
Please join the Dominican Sisters of Peace in celebrating the Second Week of Advent, and light the candle of LOVE.

 

Click here to view the video.

Click here to download and print the LOVE prayer card. 


Advent Week 3 – A Reflection on JOY

The Church in her wisdom chooses to engage all of our senses as we worship God. We listen to music, we smell incense and floral offerings, and we mark the celebrations of the year with color.

The color pink or rose represents joy or rejoicing. The lighting of the pink candle on Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, reveals a shift away from repentance and toward celebration – the joy of the coming of Christ. Even the word Gaudete is a signal to the faithful … it means “rejoice.”

Please join the Dominican Sisters of Peace in celebrating the Third Week of Advent, and light the candle of JOY.


Advent Week 4 – A Reflection on PEACE

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

In a world of tinsel, candy canes, and shiny wrapping paper, these words from John 14:27, are the quiet, yet powerful gift that God gave us on the first Christmas, and continues to give us today.

In spite of covid, outside of politics, as a response to racism, God’s gift of Peace, in the form of God’s Son Jesus, is the Hope, the Love, and the Joy that we have celebrated throughout this Advent season.

As we complete our preparations to welcome, again, the Son of God, let us share the gift of Peace. Through the words we say, the things we do, and the faith that we share, let us all be the light of Christ, the light of Peace, in a weary world.

Please join the Dominican Sisters of Peace in celebrating the Fourth Week of Advent, and light the candle of Peace.

Click here to view the video.

Click here to download and print the PEACE prayer card.

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A Thanksgiving Greeting from the Dominican Sisters of Peace

Dearest Friends…

Prioress Sr. Pat Twohill, OP

Like so many events in 2020, our annual Thanksgiving celebrations here at the Dominican Sisters of Peace are likely to be more subdued than we would like. Most of our Sisters will remain in their local communities, and visits, if they happen at all, will be distanced, with masks and other precautions.

Like all of you, we too are growing weary of the restrictions placed on our lives and our ministries by this virus. But as our ministries have learned to pivot – to teach English on a Zoom call, to run a “no touch” plant sale, or to conduct prayer, study, or even knitting courses via Zoom and Facebook live – we are faced with the challenge of adjusting how we celebrate. Indeed, even in the face of this most unprecedented year, we have much for which to be thankful.

First and foremost, we are grateful to God for the love that we have received in this year of isolation and fragility. Our Sisters have received so many calls, emails and letters asking the same questions: “Are you well? Are you healthy? How can we help?” The love of our family and friends, even at a distance, has been a blessing from God. Praise God, and thanks to the ongoing efforts of our Sisters and staff to maintain proper protocols, we have for the most part remained healthy.

As important has been the love and support that we have received from our own essential staff at our Motherhouses and care centers. Our Congregational staff have gone above and beyond to ensure that we are safe, comfortable, busy, and doing God’s work in every way possible.

The fact that our ministries have been able to continue their work in education, ecology, health care, poverty alleviation and social justice is another reason for gratitude. This continued success is in part due to the creativity and ingenuity of Sisters, Associates, and staff at our various ministries, but it is also a testament to your friendship and support. If you want to know more about the ongoing work of our ministries, you can read more on our website at OPPeace.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

As you prepare your own Thanksgiving celebration, think about the gifts that God has given you this year. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to express your gratitude for God’s abiding love, your family and friends, and meaningful work, whether paid or as a contributor of your time and talent to a special ministry. Most important, to be grateful for the opportunity, daily, to help someone … whether wearing a mask when you go out, running an errand for a housebound neighbor, or supporting the work of our Sisters to build peace in our communities and around the world.

For whatever you are grateful, your Dominican Sisters of Peace are grateful for YOU. You will be in our prayers of thanksgiving, and in our prayers for a safe and speedy end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

Sr. Pat Twohill, OP
Prioress

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Peace and Justice Updates – 11.25.2020

Interfaith Immigration Coalition Advent Resources
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, of which LCWR is a long-time member, is offering a resource for your Advent journey. This year’s resource will focus on the struggle faced by Black migrants to the U.S.

The series, Lighting the Candles: Journey with Black Migrants, includes seven sessions, one for each of the 4 Weeks of Advent, Christmas, and the feasts of the Holy Family and Epiphany.  Each session scripture, spiritual reflection and question, a story of black migrants, suggested actions, and a prayer.

Please sign up at: http://bit.ly/BlackMigrantsJourneys to receive the resources for your own Advent contemplation.

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