-A A +A

Providence in the Pandemic

Our co-foundress, Marie de la Roche, said that "the darkest paths lead to light, through love and grace." This quote is particularly cogent during these 40 days of Easter. It has been said that Easter is Christ going down into the tomb and pushing life out of the tomb. During these 40 days, we invite you to share in these reflections and experience a blossoming forth of witnesses to the abundance that is God’s Providence, even in the pandemic.

MONDAY, APRIL 13, 2020

I resonate with a short illustration that described the current reality as all of us in the same boat, but not in the same storm. For some of us this is a soft rain. A breather. A time to reconnect with self, family, friends. It is somewhat peaceful. For others, it is a thunderstorm bringing harsh winds, damaging flooding and fear of power outages. For yet others, it is an impending hurricane with the potential loss of all we hold dear. And sometimes we vacillate between these scenarios. They are each true. What is also true is found in the Gospel story of the storm at sea (Mark 4: 35-41). In a recent reflection, Pope Francis noted that while his disciples are quite naturally alarmed and desperate, Jesus stands in the stern, in the part of the boat that sinks first. ://www.vaticannews.va/.../urbi-et-orbi-pope-coronavirus.... This is the truth and Providential image that comforts and sustains me. —Sr. Michele Bisbey, CDP
- - -
Resueno con una breve ilustración que describe la realidad actual de como todos nosotros estamos en el mismo barco, pero no en la misma tormenta. Para algunos de nosotros es una lluvia suave, un respirar, un tiempo para reconectarse con uno mismo, la familia y los amigos. Es algo tranquilo. Para otros, es una tormenta que trae vientos fuertes, inundaciones destructivas y el miedo a los cortes de electricidad. Para otros, es un huracán inminente con la pérdida potencial de todo lo que apreciamos. Y a veces vacilamos entre estos escenarios. Cada uno está en lo cierto. Lo que también es cierto se encuentra en la historia del Evangelio de la tormenta en el mar (Marcos 4: 35-41). En una reflexión reciente, el Papa Francisco señaló que, aunque sus discípulos están naturalmente alarmados y desesperados, Jesús se levanta en la popa, en la parte del barco que se hunde primero. ://www.vaticannews.va/.../urbi-et-orbi-pope-coronavirus.... Esta es la verdad y la imagen providencial que me consuela y me sostiene. —La Hermana Michele Bisbey, CDP

TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2020

"The darkest path leads to light, through love and grace"… Since March 4, I have felt my heart on fire with a sort of stress. It is a stress and fire that transforms all into an energy that is so full of life where "quietness," "distance," "uncertainty," "care," "connection" create a new way of being. We’ve discovered new ways of connecting with technology, calls, emails, writing notes to people in order to stay in touch. These are strange times. No one can plan for these major disruptions to everyday life, but, I also see, there is a great sense that "we are not alone." This is a new reality and we cannot take the normal routines for granted. There is a need to navigate this new reality and we don’t yet know many things. I have to believe the words of Julian of Norwich when she says, "all will be well." The Leadership Conference of Women Religious says to us: "This is an invitation to lay aside any expectation of how the Holy One may come to us and to simple open ourselves to what is and allow the Holy to take us where we have never been." This has been a time to go from the fear zone to the zones of learning and growth. I have so little control over my own destiny and the destiny of those I love, but I "trust in God who is always light in darkness." —Sr. Ana Lydia, CDP
- - -
"El camino más oscuro conduce a la luz, a través del amor y la gracia" ... Desde el 4 de marzo, he sentido arder mi corazón con una especie de estrés. Es un fuego y estrés que transforma todo en energía llena de vida; donde "quietud," "distancia," "incertidumbre," "cuidado," "conexión" crean una nueva forma de ser. Hemos descubierto nuevas formas de conectarnos con tecnología, llamadas, correos electrónicos, escribir notas a las personas para mantenernos en contacto. Estos son tiempos extraños. Nadie puede planificar estas interrupciones en la vida cotidiana, pero, también veo, hay una gran sensación de que "no estamos solos." Esta es una realidad nueva y no podemos dar por sentado las rutinas normales. Es necesario navegar esta realidad con su novedad y no saber aún muchas cosas. Tengo que creeren las palabras de Julián de Norwich cuando dice: "Todo estará bien." La Conferencia de Liderazgo de Mujeres Religiosas nos dice: “Esta es una invitación a dejar de lado cualquier expectativa de cómo el Dios Santo puede venir a nosotros, simplemente abrirnos a lo que es y permitir que Dios nos lleve a donde nunca hemos estado." Este ha sido un momento para pasar de la zona de miedo a las zonas de aprendizaje y crecimiento. Tengo muy poco control sobre mi propio destino y el destino de aquellos que amo, pero "confío en Dios quien es siempre luz en la obscuridad." —La hermana Ana Lydia, CDP

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2020

I've found it hard to accept Grace in the midst of so much world-wide suffering, but I can't deny that I sense it all around. Here I am safe and in good health, as are all of my friends—also knowing that safety and health can change in a blink of an eye. So, today I cracked an egg. I almost gasped at the beautiful yellow of the yolk, I noticed how the clear of the egg turns a perfect white as it responds to the heat; a lovely yellow/white color combination. I thought about the cast iron pan...the men who dug the iron ore, those who worked in the smelter, the shapers of pots and pans. I asked myself who took it from the assembly line and placed it in a box...it found its way to my Grandmother's hands almost one hundred years ago. I'm watching my egg fry with all of these elements Gracing my heart. The egg slides so easily out of this well-seasoned pan...a miracle of the coming together of God's gifts of egg, iron and heat...shaped by human hands into the breaking of overnight fast. Eucharist gifted so beautifully in my kitchen. I think of a meme that's going around the web: "Go to your room, and consider... ." ...The marvelous Providence of God. —Nancy Robinson

THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 2020

"O God beyond All Praising" is a favorite hymn of mine, and of the late Sister Maura Anne Dunn. Its stately simplicity truly transports me to the heart of our Provident God. Here is a piano arrangement I recorded: https://soundcloud.com/user-927987835/o-god-beyond-all-praising —Rebekah Hill, Liturgist and Director of Music, Providence Heights

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2020

When I was little we lived on the church property at St. Joe’s in Duquesne. And there was a walk that went from our kitchen door to a door at the school/convent. I was scared to death of the "nuns" (CDP’s!) especially Sr. Marcelline! But every day at lunchtime she stood at her door, shaking a box of Cracker Jack, and calling my name for me to come to her. I never liked Cracker Jack, but I wanted the prize. And so, I would go and get what I wanted. And so did she; we became wonderful friends. And through her, I became friends with the other Sisters (even to this day!) As the voice of Providence still calls today to go beyond our own doors, and yet now, for a while, stay within them, we can and will find that we have already won the prize through with and in Jesus. And we have won and share it together; even though we may, for a while, be apart. To wherever that voice calls; fear not. Fear died on calvary. Thanks Sr. Marcelline, and Sisters. Happy and Joyous Easter! —Fr. John McKenna, Chaplain
- - -
Cuando yo era pequeño vivíamos en la propiedad de la iglesia de San. José en Duquesne. Y había una entrada desde la puerta de nuestra cocina a una puerta de la escuela / convento. ¡Le tenía miedo de muertea las "monjas" (¡CDP!) Especialmente a la Hna. Marcelina!  Pero todos los días a la hora del almuerzo se paraba en su puerta, sacudiendo una caja de Cracker Jack y gritándome que fuera donde ella. Nunca me gustó el Cracker Jack, pero yo quería el premio. Así obtenía lo que quería y ella también. Nos hicimos amigos maravillosos. Y a través de ella, me hice amigo de las otras Hermanas (¡hasta el día de hoy!) Como la voz de la Providencia todavía hoy nos llama para ir más allá de nuestras puertas; y ahora, por un tiempo, permanecemos dentro de ellas, podremos descubrir que ya hemos ganado el premio con y en Jesús. Y lo hemos ganado compartiéndolo juntos,  aunque, por un tiempo, estaremos separados. A donde sea que esa voz llame;  “no tengamos temor”. El miedo murió en el calvario. Gracias Hna. Marcelina, y Hermanas. Feliz y gozosa Pascua! —Fr. John McKenna, Capellán

SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2020

In this tough time of the pandemic, I find solace in the kindness of others. I am particularly inspired by our Pastor who stands in line for hours to purchase groceries for his elderly parishioners. One of my special prayers is: Provident Loving God, We ask in your goodness that You- Comfort our sisters and brothers with COVID-19. Bring wisdom to our doctors and strength to first responders and caretakers. Stabilize our communities, unite us in our compassion and remove fear from our hearts. —Sr. Kathleen Matz, CDP 

SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2020

COVID-19 all around us. How will we come out differently this Easter season? On Holy Thursday we cling to the readings and pray, “Please let this Coronavirus pass us by.” And during the night we pray again and this time in Jesus’ words, “but not my will but yours be done” The night seems forever!Good Fridayhas arrived and again in Jesus’ words we pray,”Itis finished!” Loss over loss, pain and more pain world-wide! Overcome by emptiness, meaningless and endless grief? No, we are an Easter people after all. We run to see the empty tomb, we urgently desire to be called by our personal names, and,yes, we demand to touch the sacrificial wounds, and finally, blindly but ever more trustingly we walk into our new Emmaus experience, the most loving Agape of all, the Eucharist! Jesus is resurrected!!! Indeed he is!!! He is ever more visible within and through us in moments of insurmountable and indiscriminate love given to others. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow! Rejoice! Hallelujah! Let us together keep up the Easter-Laugh-Tradition now and evermore! —Sr. Maria Clara Kreis, CDP 
- - -
Nuestro sendero surrealista hacia el amor. COVID-19 a nuestro alrededor... Entonces, ¿cómo vamos a entrar en esta Semana Santa?  ¿Cómo saldremos de manera diferente esta temporada de Pascua? Durante el Jueves Santo nos aferramos a las lecturas y rezamos... por favor, deja pasar este Coronavirus... Y durante la noche rezamos de nuevo y esta vez en las palabras de Jesús ... "pero no se haga mi voluntad sino la tuya  ¡La noche parecíaeterna! ...Viernes Santo... ha llegado... y de nuevo en las palabras de Jesús oramos... "¡Está terminado!"  Pérdida sobre pérdida... dolor y más dolor... ¡en todo el mundo!  ¿Superado por el vacío... sin sentido... y un dolor interminable? No... somos un pueblo de Pascua después de todo ... Corremos a ver la tumba vacía, deseamos con urgencia que nos llamen por nuestros nombres personales, y, sí, exigimos tocar las heridas del sacrificio y finalmente... ciegamente, pero cada vez más confiados, entramos en nuestra nueva experiencia de Emaús... ¡el Ágape más amoroso de todos... la Eucaristía!  Jesús resucitó!!!  De hecho Él es!  ¡Él es cada vez más visible dentro y a través de nosotros en momentos de un amor insuperable e indiscriminado dado a los demás!  ¡Ayer, hoy y mañana!  ¡Alegrarte!  ¡Aleluya!  ¡Mantengámonos juntos guardando la tradición de la sonrisa de Pascua ahora y siempre!

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2020

During these times of uncertainty and fear, I am energized by the snapchats I receive from my nieces and family. They continue to celebrate Easter in their homes in a creative way. A prayer I pray during this time of the COVID 19 pandemic. Most merciful and Provident God, We come to you in our weakness. We come to you in our fear. We place before you this disease present in our world. Comfort those who have COVID 19. Be with all those who are alone. We place our trust in you, Provident God. —Sr. Pat Eeckhout, CDP

TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2020

Little did I realize when I attended Mass on Sunday, March 15 that I would be quarantined from that time until the Corona Virus, which was declared a Pandemic, was under control. I learned the rules of distancing by “6 feet” and “staying at home.” Each day brought new discoveries as the pandemic got worse and worse. I started to spend more time in personal prayer and reflection and joined several groups who gathered through ZOOM for reflection and prayer with the help of Rhonda Karlton Rosen. Through Facebook or Zoom, I also met several Catholic clergy, namely James Martin, SJ and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.  Mary Jane and I watched daily sessions with James Martin,SJ as he prayed with us and spoke about the Gospel for the day and answered questions. From the First Sunday we were quarantined, we attended Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of St. Patricks as chief presider. He is an outstanding Homilist and we were duly inspired. In the meantime, we had a schedule of walking daily and preparing healthy meals, along with occasional breakfast at McDonalds via drive through. I had some ministry to be involved in, primarily making phone calls to donors, family and friends especially those in quarantine. We also had chores and took on some projects in the house. Frequent prayers were offered for those who were victims of Covid19 and thanks for all those who helped the victims and those in quarantine. For me, all of this adds up to a personal change in heart, and willingness to respond to the invitations of the spirit. A daily and frequent remembering of a Scripture text was inspirational and life changing for me. During the Annunciation when Mary questioned the angel about how bearing a child could be possible for her, the angel responded to Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” —Sr. Carolyn Winschel, CDP
- - -
La pandemia del Corona Virus. Cuando asistí a misa el domingo 15 de marzo en la Casa Provincial me percaté muy poco de  que estaría en cuarentena en 2447 Mae Drive desde ese momento hasta que el Corona Virus, el cual fue declarado Pandemia, estuviera bajo control. Aprendí las reglas de distanciamiento de "6 pies" y el "quedarse en casa".  Cada día traía nuevos descubrimientos a medida que la pandemia empeoraba. Comencé a pasar más tiempo en oración y reflexión personal y me uní a varios grupos a través de ZOOM para la reflexión y la oración con la ayuda de Rhonda Karlton Rosen.  A través de Facebook o Zoom, también conocí a varios clérigos católicos, entre ellos: James Martin, SJ y el cardenal Timothy Dolan de la Catedral de San Patricio en Nueva York.  Mary Jane y yo vimos sesiones diarias con James Martin, SJ mientras oraba con nosotros y hablaba sobre el Evangelio del día y respondía preguntas.  Desde el primer domingo que estuvimos en cuarentena, asistimos a misa en la Catedral de San Patricio, con el cardenal Timothy Dolande San Patricio como principal oficiante.  Es un destacado homilista y nos sentimos debidamente inspiradas. Mientras tanto, teníamos un horario para caminar a diario y preparar comidas saludables, junto con un desayuno de vez en cuando en McDonald desde el carro.  Tenía un ministerio en el que participaba, yo principalmente haciendo llamadas telefónicas a benefactores, familiares y amigos, especialmente aquellos en cuarentena.  También teníamos quehaceres y asumimos algunos proyectos en la casa.  Se ofrecieron oraciones frecuentes por quienes fueron víctimas de Covid19 y acción de gracias por todos los que ayudaron a las víctimas y los que estaban en cuarentena. Para mí, todo esto se suma a un cambio personal en el corazón y la voluntad de responder a las invitaciones del espíritu.  El recuerdo diario y frecuente de un texto bíblico fue inspirador y me transformó la vida.  Durante la Anunciación cuando María le preguntó al ángel acerca de cómo podría ser posible para ella tener un hijo, el ángel respondió a María: "Porque nada será imposible para Dios". —Hna. Carolyn Winschel, CDP

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2020

As I reflect on Providence during these times, I find myself choosing to remember moments of gratitude and presence at the end of each day. Today I will be with this experience of this morning. On Mondays, I stock our food pantry at La Roche. The nearby Dollar Tree store is my go to supplier. As I was checking out, I mentioned to the cashier that I come here to stock our food pantry for the students still on campus. She paused and looked at me and said: “Aren’t you glad you can do that for them?" I responded, “Yes, we are." As I had two carts full of essentials, she said, “Let me help you out to your car." And it started pouring outside. I said, “Thank you, but you’ll get all wet.” She replied, “I can do this.” So we went outside in the pouring rain together and loaded the back seat of my car. Before she turned to go back to the store, she said, “God bless you.” And I said, “And God bless you." God’s Providence is very near each day in this pandemic. I am grateful for the unexpected kindnesses and generosity of others and hope to be a presence of Providence for anyone I meet. —Sr. Janet Folkl, CDP 
- - -
Al reflexionar sobre la Providence durante estos tiempos, me encuentro eligiendo recordar los momentos de gratitud y presencia al final de cada día. Hoy pemaneceré con estaexperiencia de estamañana. Los lunes, abastezco nuestra despensa de comida en La Roche. La tienda de DollarTree es mi proveedor a donde voy a hacer las compras. Cuando estaba saliendo de la tienda, le mencioné a la cajera que vengo aquí para abastecer nuestra despensa de alimentos para los estudiantes que todavía están en el campus. Hizo una pausa, me miró y dijo: "¿No te alegras que puedas hacer eso por ellos?" Yo respondí: "Sí, estamos alegres." Como tenía dos carritos llenos de artículos esenciales, ella dijo: "Déjame ayudarte a llevarlos a tu auto." Y comenzó a llover afuera. Le dije: "Gracias, pero vas a mojarte." Ella respondió: "Puedo hacer esto." Así que salimos juntas bajo la lluvia torrencial y cargamos el asiento trasero de mi auto. Antes de darse vuelta para regresar a la tienda, dijo: "Dios te bendiga." Y yo le dije: "Y que Dios te bendiga." La Providencia de Dios está muy cerca cada día en esta pandemia. Estoy agradecidaa por la amabilidad inesperada y la generosidad de los demás y espero ser una presencia de Providencia para todos con los que me encuentro. —Hermana Janet Folkl, CDP

THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 2020 | CLICK HERE to read (English & Espanol)

FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2020 | CLICK HERE to read (English & Espanol)

SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020

Age-old Love. Our co-foundress, Marie de la Roche, said that “the darkest paths lead to light, through love and grace." As I reflected on these words during this time of isolation, I recalled what God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah for the people of his time and ours, as well. “The Lord appeared to him from afar, with age-old love you: so I have kept my mercy toward you." As I repeat that passage to myself over and over I’m drawn to the words age-old. From the time of the beginning of the universe this age-old, sovereign, unchangeable, and everlasting love has reached out, expanded and embraced all. Age-old love is all-encompassing of light and darkness. Age-old love sees our pain, suffering, the failures of our humanity and our remorse. It honors our freedom to choose and to make mistakes. So with age-old love come mercy and faithfulness and a way to redeem human fragility. Age-old love, without a word, invites us to see our reflection in the mirror of God’s love, and to acknowledge both light and dark. Age-old love shows us what true love does. In these Easter days, Marie de la Roche knew through experience that the darkest paths lead to light, through love and grace. Though God may feel afar these days, hold on to his promise of love. I have to believe that when we pay attention and embrace this sovereign, unchangeable and everlasting love, God reaches for us with the arms of grace. —Sr. Margie Modro, CDP
- - -
Antiguo amor. Nuestra cofundadora, Marie de la Roche, dijo que "los caminos más oscuros conducen a la luz, a través del amor y la gracia." Al reflexionar sobre estas palabras durante este tiempo de aislamiento, recordé lo que Dios le habló al profeta Jeremías para la gente de su tiempo y la nuestra también. "El Señor se le apareció de lejos, con un amor eterno: así que he guardado mi misericordia hacia ti." Cuando repito ese pasaje una y otra vez, me atraen las palabras antiguas. Desde el comienzo del universo, este amor antiguo, soberano, inmutable y eterno ha llegado, expandido y ha abrazado a todos. El antiguo amor abarca la luz y la oscuridad. El amor ancestral ve nuestro dolor, sufrimiento, los fracasos de nuestra humanidad y nuestro remordimiento. Honra nuestra libertad de elegir y cometer errores. Entonces, con el amor ancestral, vienen la misericordia y la fidelidad, y una forma de redimir la fragilidad humana. El amor milenario, sin una palabra, nos invita a ver nuestro reflejo en el espejo del amor de Dios, y a reconocer tanto la luz como la oscuridad. El antiguo amor nos muestra lo que hace el verdadero amor. En estos días de Pascua, Marie de la Roche sabía por experiencia que los caminos más oscuros conducen a la luz, a través del amor y la gracia. Aunque podemos sentir que Dios está lejos en estos días, Dios cumpla con su promesa de amor. Tengo que creer que cuando prestamos atención y abrazamos este amor soberano, inmutable y eterno, Dios nos alcanza con los brazos de la gracia. —Hemana Margie Modro

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2020

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in His word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning
(Ps. 130)

During this time of pandemic, we find ourselves waking each morning with a prayer that comes from the depths of our fear and grief: Lord, hear our plea! We wonder why God permits evil and suffering, why death has to be a part of life.  Surely a God of goodness can simply wave his hand or say a word and the deadly coronavirus can be obliterated!  Why, O God, do You let this misery happen?  Where is our God of Loving Providence in all of this? When Jesus’ friend Lazarus became gravely ill, Jesus dragged his feet and didn’t go to heal him; in fact, he “stayed where he was for 2 more days” before starting off for Judea (Jn. 11:7), saying to the disciples, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (Jn 11:4)  And, though Lazarus did die, in raising him from the dead Jesus showed that death was not final, and God’s power and glory were evidenced in that raising.  Lazarus had to die before he could be raised, to the Glory of God. There is mystery in life and in death, and we tend to see suffering and death in a negative way.  But Jesus tells us that suffering and death are transformative, that we are changed, matured, recreated through suffering.  Our transformation is a reflection of the power and glory of God. So close in time as we are to having celebrated the mystery of Jesus’ own suffering and death, Easter is a vivid reminder that suffering and death do not have the last word; that our faith in a loving Providence gives us the strength and confidence to reach out to help others in whatever way we can, with trust that this, too, has the power to transform us more and more into the image of our Provident God. —Sr. Mary Michael McCulla
- - -
Desde las profundidades te lloro, oh Señor.
Señor, escucha mi voz!
Deja que tus oídos estén atentos
¡A la voz de mis súplicas!
Espero al Señor, mi alma espera,
y en su palabra espero;
mi alma espera por el señor
más que los que vigilan la mañana
(Salmo 130)

Durante este tiempo de pandemia, nos encontramos despertando cada mañana con una oración que proviene de las profundidades de nuestro miedo y dolor: ¡Señor, escucha nuestra súplica! Nos preguntamos, ¿por qué Dios permite el mal y el sufrimiento, por qué la muerte tiene que ser parte de la vida? ¡Seguramente un Dios de bondad puede simplemente agitar su mano o decir una palabra y el virus corona mortal puede ser eliminado! ¿Por qué, oh Dios, dejas que ocurra esta miseria? ¿Dónde está nuestro Dios de la Providencia amorosa en todo esto? Cuando Lázaro, el amigo de Jesús, se enfermó gravemente, Jesús fue lento en su respuesta, no fue a sanarlo;  de hecho, "se quedó donde estaba por 2 días más" antes de partir hacia Judea (Jn. 11: 7), diciendo a los discípulos: "Esta enfermedad no conduce a la muerte;  más bien es para la gloria de Dios, para que el Hijo de Dios pueda ser glorificado a través de ella." (Jn 11: 4) Y, aunque Lázaro murió, al resucitarlo de entre los muertos, Jesús mostró que la muerte no era final, y el poder y la gloria de Dios se evidenciaron en esa resurrección. Lázaro tuvo que morir antes de poder ser resucitado para la Gloria de Dios. Hay misterio en la vida y en la muerte, y tendemos a ver el sufrimiento y la muerte de manera negativa. Pero Jesús nos dice que el sufrimiento y la muerte nos transforman, somos cambiados, maduramos recreados a través del sufrimiento. Nuestra transformación es un reflejo del poder y la gloria de Dios. Tan cerca como estamos de haber celebrado el misterio del sufrimiento y la muerte de Jesús, la Pascua es un recordatorio vivo de que el sufrimiento y la muerte no tienen la última palabra; que nuestra fe en una Providencia amorosa nos da la fuerza y la confianza para alcanzar en la ayuda a los demás de cualquier manera que podamos, con la confianza de que esto también tiene el poder de transformarnos más y más en la imagen de nuestro Dios Providente.—Hermana Mary Michael, CDP

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2020

I can’t lose anything in this place of abundance I have found (St. Catherine of Siena). West Virginia Institute for Spirituality went to ZOOM presentations, and  spiritual direction when the WV Governor  announced to stay in place. To protect this house of seniors, one 98, social distancing was needed, and our neighbor Rabbi directed us  to ‘hit a sacrifice flyball.' Why? The sacrifice to ‘stay home’ advances all of the other players and saves lives. Religious life and its structure moved us  easily into solitude mode, increased prayer rituals, and communal meals which included a ZOOM Easter dinner guest from St. Louis! To soothe the anxiety of my WVIS clients, a  have weekly prayer meetings and an increase in ministry. A delightful surprise is the increased contactwith family of origin. Could it be that my siblings and I finally realized ‘we’ are the endangered elderly? We’ve been blessed with food from the Episcopal pantry, and gardening from the American Baptists. I’m teaching piano through facetime and 5-year-old Vincent proudly demonstrates his C scale. His musical life is growing richly. To handle my own anxiety, I’ve supported each governor and senator that offered an email address...following my call to congratulate, encourage and pray. So, the words of St. Catherine of Siena provide a mantra: I can’t lose anything from a Providence perspective. —Sr. Carole Riley, CDP
- - -
No puedo perder nada en este lugar de abundancia que he encontrado (Santa Catalina de Siena). El Instituto de Espiritualidad de West Virginia estaba realizando sus presentaciones en ZOOM y ofreciendo la dirección espiritual cuando el gobernador de WV anunció que había que permanecer en casa. Para proteger esta casa de ancianos, uno de 98, se necesitaba distanciamiento social, y nuestro vecino Rabino nos ordenó "batear una pelota de sacrificio." ¿Por qué? El sacrificio para "quedarse en casa" hace avanzar a todos los demás jugadores y salva vidas. La vida religiosa y su estructura nos trasladaron fácilmente al modo solitario, aumentaron los rituales de oración y las comidas comunales que incluyeron a un invitado de la cena de Pascua ZOOM de St. Louis para calmar la ansiedad de mis clientes de WVIS, tenemos reuniones semanales de oración y un aumento en el ministerio. Una sorpresa encantadora es el mayor contacto con la familia de origen. ¿Podría ser que mis hermanos y yo finalmente nos dimos cuenta de que "somos" los ancianos en peligro de extinción? Hemos sido bendecidos con comida de la despensa episcopal y las  plantaciones de los bautistas estadounidenses. Estoy enseñando piano a través de Facetime y Vincent, de 5 años, muestra con orgullo su escala C. Su vida musical está creciendo ricamente. Para manejar mi propia ansiedad, he apoyado a cada gobernador y senador que ofreció una dirección de correo electrónico... siguiendo mi llamado para felicitar, alentar y rezar. Entonces, las palabras de Santa Catalina de Siena proporcionan un mantra: “no puedo perder nada desde la perspectiva de la Providencia.” —Hermana Carole Riley, CDP

TUESDAY, APRIL 28, 2020

In the midst of the darkness of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the fear and insecurity of being quarantined with all that this entails, we are invited to be still and listen to the messages of the first Easter. There is no place to go nor hide from the darkness that seems to envelop us today. We are not in control. Mother Marie de LA Roche reminds us to have faith that “the darkest paths lead to light." We might ask: “But where is the path that leads to light? Darkness and insecurity can open a door to new insights when we can be still and listen to the voice of the One who desires to speak with us and draw us into deeper expressions of love and care. If I have myself as the center of life, I experience deep insecurity and find it difficult to preserve faithfulness to the Easter Gospels. Let’s look into the story of Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of John (20:11-18). Mary had one thing in mind. She was looking for Jesus. She wept; she was not distracted by the angels in the tomb nor their questions. “They have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they laid Him." She turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. In the stillness of that moment, she heard Jesus say “Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? Jesus said to her "Mary." Her tears darknessgave way to light and she experienced new birth and hope. Jesus was alive. She immediately responded to the grace of this experience by rushing to share the good news and announce to the disciples: "I have seen the Lord." Easter gifts us to never forget all that the Lord has done for us. It challenges us to look beyond the darkness of our insecurity in this moment in time to discover that Jesus is with us always. We just need to "be still, keep our eyes on Jesus, and know that He is God with us." We pray that we may be gathered as one body... with all our brothers and sisters across our world. "For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now in this moment and forever. —Sr. Anne Winschel, CDP
- - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2020

So much has changed or been lost in this season of the COVID 19 Pandemic. My comfortable routine is gone; my ability to go to work or shopping or visiting friends and family is gone. But, not all is lost. In fact I’ve found two treasures that have become more precious to me. My first treasure is prayer. In our Community Directional Statement each week we pray this part of the statement: Mindful of the brokenness within our global community, we commit ourselves to be prophets of hope and agents of healing and justice-making. How fitting it is for this time of quarantine and social distancing. I may not be able to go to our Provincial House or spend time with my Sisters, but our Directional Statement, emails sent, and the postings on our website help me to stay united and connected to our Community. Our local community prayer has always been source of spiritual nourishment; these days, more so. We attend church online, meet with Fr. James Martin SJ each day at 3, and take time for communal prayer. I find strength coming from my personal prayer. I have wonderful sources of support and spiritual connection. Anyone who knows me knows that Thomas Merton is my go-to guy. Another resource is The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement. These Church Fathers and Mothers are wonderful companions in prayer. My second treasure is the seeing howresilient and generous we are becoming at home and across the globe.  Personally it’s taken me some time, but I’m adapting to a new routine. Each day provides me with at least one opportunity to makefurther adaptations to deal with the unexpected. I’ve learned how to SYPKE, Face Time, and use Google Duo to meet with clients and stay in touch with families and friends. As I meet with my clients I’ve heard not only about their struggles, but how resilient they are and how they continue to hope. Our neighbors are not able to open their doors to us, but they have opened their hearts.  They have offered to shop for us and dropped off goodies on our front porch. They wave and smile and call out as we walk around our circle. We shared an Easter card and some oatmeal raisin cookies with them. Thank goodness the news media is sharing more of the Good News. It is heartwarming to hear how individuals and organizations are reaching out to help those in need. Generosity is alive and well. Yes, this is a most difficult time for our world. But what I also know is that it is a time where caring and generosity are spreading faster than the virus. Stay home and wash your hands! This is the new way of saying, “I love you." —Sr. Mary Jane Beatty, CDP
-
 - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2020

As I consider the pandemic and our understanding of Providence I amsuddenly flooded with images, long lines of cars with people desperatefor food to feed their families, people in strange masks trying tofind needed items in the grocery; frightened residents of Nazareth Commons trying not to get too close to anyone for fear of the virus attacking them, it goes on and on until we all just want to scream, leave me alone! But there is nowhere to go to get away from covid19. It is at times like these that my only consolation is remembering Providence. In particular for me is turning to scripture. In particular I go to the Emmaus story. It is very comforting to return to those disciples on the way away from Jerusalem. They were broken and gravely disappointed. Yet their consolation was found in thecompany of this stranger who did not know all that had gone on in thatcity in the last few days. Like them we can be amazed when we see Jesus in all that is going on around and about us. He is here withus in all the confusion, need, fear and virtual Mass events. We cannot directly participate in Eucharist and yet we do. It is a new and different way. Yet Christ is here with us if we just keep looking. He does not want to be far away. He is here if we only lookand reflect and accept. —Sr. Joan Marie Harper, CDP
-
 - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2020

"To Light through Love" Each day I see this in operation. I have continued to work at Jubilee Soup Kitchen during these days of the Pandemic. I answer the phone, respond to donors who come through PayPal and try to help those who are serving others. While we are not using "regular" volunteers, one who is coming is retired but comes every day. Another is out of work, so he comes every day to hand take-out to all who come to our door. Almost every week another person collects money to cater a meal to our about 100 guests giving our regular cooks a rest day. A Muslim group, a Hindu Temple, and other religious groups donate food and meals to the poor. Each week several regulars call to ask what we need and low and behold they bring this to our door. I hear the Risen Redeemer say, "What you do to the least, you do to me." Please keep each of these bright lights in prayer. They give freely. While they don’t ask anything of us, I see the Love of God in daily operation and pray a blessing over each and wish that all may be safe. —Sr. Kathleen Angel, CDP
-- - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2020

"A Covid Eastering"
An Easter morn thickly grayed
holding no chance of sunlight
much less hope for a resurrection.
Pelting downpours
larger than life raindrops
run rivers through my backyard
oceans in lower lying flatlands...
And Covid ravages our land
stealing breath and energy and yes, life itself,
before my very eyes life is swept away
before my very eyes hopelessness roots itself
into the collective psyche challenging
hope and faith to rise and stare down and hiss 
at an unseen foe
Resurrection has its work cut out this Easter Day...
Still I trust
that with you, we rise,
though it may be unseen rising
perhaps mist in the air
or a shadowy movement...
Still, in faith, with you, we rise...
we rise faithfully, fully,
fully risen, fully alive,
A different humming echoes across hearts and lands:
We will not give up, over, or in
We will not be victims...
We will rise.

Easter Sunday, 2020
Sr. Maria Patterson, CDP
-
 - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2020

Just when I thought I would be able to begin my projects, life took an unexpected turn. It was Friday, March 13, the day that I had been looking forward to for the past couple of months. It was the day that I would finish my two month full time substitute teaching position and dive into my new plans with earnest: spending more time with my father at the nursing home, getting our home ready to put on the market, and increasing my distance running for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I walked into the house that memorable afternoon just in time to answer a call from the Masonic Village. Andrea was calling to inform me that family members would no longer be allowed to visit their loved ones due to the Corona Virus. The campus was on complete lockdown. To top it off, at the same time, Governor Wolff was announcing that the schools would be closed until further notice. All I could think have was "Are you kidding me?  This can’t be happening!" I had been making the 90 minute round trip every day to visit my severely handicapped 97 year old father since he was transferred to the nursing home and I was unable to process what this ban would mean to both myself and to my father. America was just beginning to learn the full impact of this deadly and extremely contagious virus. To make matters even worse, we were in the middle of Lent and the churches were all closing. That meant that we when needed the sacraments the most, we were unable to receive them.  No confession, no communion, no Stations of the Cross and are you ready? No fish fries!! The most important time in the Liturgical Year and we had nowhere to go to prepare ourselves spiritually for the glorious resurrection of our Lord. After the initial shock, I realized that I would have to begin practicing what they were telling us: social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home. I had to readjust my thinking like every other American and conform to the new standards. To begin with, I decided to start each and every day with live streaming of the daily mass on EWTN. This offered me the peace and solace that I so desperately needed. The novena to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is also helping me to realize that God’s mercy is there, we just have to ask Him for it. After addressing the spiritual, I either hop on my bike or take a run in the park to maintain physical wellbeing. I cover my face with a neck gaiter and jog about four miles in Hartwood Acres. If you enjoy being outdoors, I recommend that you go there. You will fall in love with its beautiful trails, its fabulous Tudor mansion, stables, and gardens. You will see God’s creation as you meander along the pathways and observe the birds and newly budding trees and plants. So soothing! Finally, like most of us, I am catching up on my reading. More specifically books about women who have suffered greatly and emerged triumphantly during times of war and social upheaval. No Tears in Ireland  by Sylvia Couturie recounts how she was able to survive World War II as in eleven year old on an isolated Irish Coast. She was inspired by Churchill’s words which promised victory but first there would be "blood, toil, tears, and sweat." If Churchill could manage the blood, sweat, and toil, Sylvia could manage the tears and vowed that she wouldn’t shed any during her five years of exile. I also have always enjoyed reading the biographies and autobiographies of America’s First Ladies. As the saying goes, "behind every great man is a woman." This quote is embodied in the life of Abigail Adams. You talk about a super woman! I just finished reading what Abigail had to endure during the American Revolution and recommend that you put Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie Bober on your reading list. An incredible woman way ahead of her times who advocated new laws guaranteeing women financial freedom and education. So here I am. It’s been a month since I have last seen my father, gone to St. James to worship, or taught in a classroom. I have become used to the live streaming of the mass in an empty church and taking spiritual communion. I have accepted that I am only able to FaceTime my 97 year old father who can’t see me but is able to recognize my voice. I have listened to my fellow teachers who tell me that distance learning and creating lessons on line is extremely time consuming and not fair to the children in economically disadvantaged districts who don’t have the proper technology. Finally, I have read the obituaries of senior citizens and first responders who have been struck down by this terrible pandemic through no fault of their own. Yes, Sylvia, I say to myself, no tears in Ireland and try to focus on the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori: Hope, Pray, Don’t Worry. —Peggy Carlson
- - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

MONDAY, MAY 4, 2020

As I witness this Pandemic, I become more aware of the many ways that Providence not only takes care of me, my Religious Community but also the countless people that circle the Globe!I have been very edified by the various news reports sharing the many creative ways that people have volunteered to rescue others.  Among them being: for the courage that the various levels of the health care personnel daily risking their own lives(Mothers, Fathers, Guardians, etc.) to care for the Covid-19 victims, for the millions of employees in the various life-preserving organizations—first responders, food stores, pharmacies, national and international reporters, etc. And, I often have smiled at the imagination of neighborhoods with teddy bears in windows, coordinating outside exercises as each group practices social distancing, playing and singing on balconies, etc.  Even as we continue an unknown journey, we can be certain that the loving Providence of God will keep us from losing hope and be a beacon of light and support in time of need. —Sr. Bernie Duman, CDP
-
 - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2020

I have always claimed to have both an obviously extroverted side, and, I thought I had an equally strong introverted side--I typically relish alone time-- but covid19 quarantine is just not the same.  I miss my life as it was.  No different from most people, I suppose, but how to cope?  Two ideas have helped.  The first is my old friend structure:  I use a schedule every day and love to cross things off my list.  It helps me feel productive.  And another equally old practice that seemed to get lost in the fear of isolation: gratitude.  Each day I find myself thanking God for the big and small “good things” that find their way into my consciousness.  My little grand-niece who was in need of skull surgery was found to be misdiagnosed and only needs a helmet to reshape her skull.  The flowers and trees have been blooming on campus so profusely that I feel like I live on a Hallmark movie set, where everything is lush and green and beautiful.  Although unable to go into the Motherhouse, Facebook allowed us to be with the sisters during Holy Week, if only virtually.  And while I can’t visit my mother in St Joseph Center, the best place in the world she could be at a time when she needs care, I can go and stand at her window and visit and laugh and delight in her fortitude.  I am grateful La Roche can still offer food and other supplies to hungry students at our LRU Providence Pantry and every two weeks we still have a student life staff meeting via zoom that allows me to reconnect with co-workers who are also dear friends.  And in our house, Michele, Amanda and I now eat together three times a day--up from the twice a day we regularly do-- and at night we watch BBC mysteries and play games.  Life is good--and I am grateful because I know that it is not the same for everyone.  My prayer is now fueled by the needs brought about by the pandemic.  As a campus minister I always pray for the La Roche community but now these prayers have an urgency that I had not known before.  My heart is full as I think of all the people and their needs but it is also more closely tied with our Provident God who journeys in us bringing love and care into the pandemic.—Sr. Elena Almendárez, CDP 
- - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 2020


In the invitation to share something of our experience during this time of COVID-19, one of the questions posed was: “What images inspire or stir you or just make you laugh?” One of the popular memes making its way around social media in Chicago is an image of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot guarding Jesus' tomb. Mayor Lightfoot has become known for her strong leadership enforcing the city-wide stay-at-home order. The meme made me laugh out loud. Not even Jesus is exempt from Mayor Lightfoot’s watchful eye. After my initial laughter, I began to wonder, what would it be like if Jesus had not come out of the tomb? What if Jesus was so overcome by fear and despair that he remained in the tomb lifeless? That, however, is neither Jesus’ nor our story. Jesus was overcome with love and light, therefore, showing us a different way to be in the world. This way of being light through love is what we know and experience as Providence. Just as our Provident God emboldened Jesus, the resurrected One, Providence claims us as the people of the resurrection. During the pandemic, I have been given a gift of time that slows me down and invites me to take a long loving look at the real. With that loving look I see light, generosity, and abundance. I also see suffering, greed, and scarcity. Providence in this unpredictable time strengthens us to hold these realities with steadfast trust in God’s loving care. So as the City of Chicago continues to stay-at-home under the watchful eye of Mayor Lightfoot, we shelter-in-place under the loving gaze of our Provident God. No one is exempt. —Sr. Karina Conrad, CDP
- - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2020

Julie Andrews had a television show many years ago. At the end of every show she would sing in her lovely voice, “Time Is My Friend.” Some of us have been given the gift of time during this pandemic. We have been blessed with the opportunity to fill our days with experiences and creativity beyond our wildest dreams.  “If only I had the time,” we say so often.  Well, the “if only” came to be and before we know it, we will be back at trying to regain what we know as normal. That would be unfortunate if not impossible. Hopefully, we will have prayed more fervently and frequently. We will have read a book that was gathering dust or mastered a song that we gave up trying a long time ago.  Maybe we learned a few more words in a different language or played a new game. Perhaps we started a garden inside with herbs and spices that we never tried before. If we have made time our friend, we know that there is no normal to which to return.  We will be better people because there is no place to hide from being one world.  Barriers are no longer impenetrable and we have to adapt our minds and hearts. We are called to be Mary and Martha welcoming the travelers who come calling to our hearts. Sometimes the travelers will arrive from somewhere around the world.  Sometimes they will only travel across the dining room table.  For each and every one we are called to welcome Jesus.  Before we run out of time, let us make time our friend once again. —Sr. Marilyn McMillin, CDP
-
 - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2020

Holy Saturday was a hoot, both literally and figuratively.  My son alerted me that a pair of Great Horned Owls had nested during January in some tall, decaying tree stumpson Island Park, a stretch of land bordering the river near downtown Ann Arbor.  They had raised a set ofbabies to fledgling size.  The City had cordoned off the place to allow safety for the owl family and viewing space for humans. Michigan has a strict set of instructions for all, especially senior citizens, in this time of Co-vid 19 pandemic: Remain indoors, quarantined; leave the house only to get groceries or medicines or for daily exercises. When out, wear a face mask and gloves. So, swaddled in parka, scarf, latex gloves under winter gloves, and equipped with binoculars, I went strolling by the river. I expected to see baby birds or juveniles but the twins peering out from the crotch of a tall, raggedy tree were almost two feet high. They were covered with shades of beige, buff and yellow down from their oversized heads right down to their talons. Their father, about the same height as the young, had orange and brown feathers all over his barrel-shaped body. He had an equally large head with huge yellow eyes. He kept watch over them from a nearby tree limb. Their mother, a bit larger than the male, dozed in a different tree. It was a positively breathtaking sight! These birds have a wingspan of up to five feet. They swoop up rabbits and other small mammals and have been known to take downanimals larger than themselves. Any animal that swims, crawls, walks, runs or flies is fair game for a Great Horned Owl. The power and beauty and majesty of the whole family held me transfixed for a long, long while. It was not lost on me that the backdrop for my viewing was the University of Michigan Hospital Complex – the sprawling collection of Main Hospital, Cancer Center, Pediatrics, Psychiatric, and other specialty units. It claims the whole hillside on the opposite bank. Chief among those units is the Emergency Room now bulging at the seams with incoming patients stricken in this pandemic! Michigan, only the tenth largest state in the union, now has the third largest number of Coronavirus victims. Taken together, these images have left an indelible mark on my consciousness that will surely last for the rest of my life. Providence is in every frame! —Pat Montgomery
- - -
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2020

These are the days. These are the days when ritual and liturgy continue to shape our lives but they are new rituals. Sometimes those rituals are cleaning the kitchen after every meal or getting dressed, and the liturgy of the 20th time to say “in our family we use our words to love each other” to children and the woman in the mirror. These are the days when some of us are run off our feet with work and others feel the sudden stop like a closed door. These are the days when we are disoriented and alone, afraid and filled with anxiety. These are the days when some people are lonely and others feel cloistered with danger, days when our elders are vulnerable and our financial responsibilities seem overwhelming. These are the days of twenty four hour news and text message check-ins and dependence on our children for grocery runs. These are the days for tears and tiredness, for silver linings and gentleness with each other. These are the days when kids are at computers because teachers are learning new ways to teach and they are learning new ways to learn, the days of overwhelmed parents balancing needs and hopes. These are days for new rhythms and grief for the sudden loss of rhythms we didn’t even know we loved. These are the days when everyone has decided to become bakers. Our social media feeds are filled with sourdough starters and pleas for yeast and photos of loaves on kitchen counters. These are the days when someone’s body being broken for us doesn’t feel like a metaphor anymore as we look at the faces of exhausted healthcare workers, putting themselves in harm’s way to help, risking their own health for ours. Their tired faces, lined with PPE wounds, their coats billowing as they crouch on the curb outside of the hospitals and nursing homes to catch a breath for a minute, their weary souls as they stand at a bedside, holding up a phone for a FaceTime visit are precious to us. So we honk horns, run sirens, and decorate our windows at the allotted time to somehow say thank you, I see you laying down your life, thank you. Do this in remembrance of me, Jesus said once about bread. So perhaps, maybe, somewhere in our souls we’re remembering something important. We’re yearning for the incarnated Bread of Life who satisfies, whose body was broken, because we are unsatisfied and bodies matter to God and the breaking feels very near to us right now. These are the days... —Linda Reynolds
 - - - 
CLICK HERE to read in Espanol

Permissions: 
Public