We are in the Era of COVID -19 that will have a lasting impact on human kind. COVID -19 has sounded a warning bell- that despite our scientific claims and achievements, we are totally unprepared to handle a pandemic. On August 15, 2020 WHO confirmed 21,026,758 people have been reported to be infected by the Corona Virus disease (Covid-19) globally and 7,55,786 have died. India has reported 25,26,192 cases and 49,036 deaths. Nations across the globe try their best to reboot their intelligence to tackle the deadly spread of pandemic. One consolation is that a pandemic does not anchor itself for eternity; it will die. But before that the ‘Corona Effect’ will change many aspects of our lives ranging from health care to social norms and leave behind a deep economic depletion that would take years to fix.

COVID -19 pandemic has not only killed the vulnerable but the poor villagers and daily workers, the road side vendors, people running small business and petty shops in the informal sector are terribly hit. Life is changing, as of now in 164 nations while coping this crisis; coordinated, global response to tackle this corona virus crisis is the need of the hour.  “We shall all be judged by our relationship with the poor,” says Pope Francis. And he urges us that “it’s time to reach out to those suffering and those in need.” During such a crisis what unites everyone as members of the human race is our ability to reach out to each other with compassion as members of one human family. As human beings, we are all the same. We experience the same fears, the same hopes, the same uncertainties, yet we are also united by a desire for happiness. Our human capacity to reason and to see things realistically and clearly gives us the ability to transform hardship into opportunity.

God certainly had a message to all of us while we encountered this Virus that entered through our back door and started living with us. We are called to connect ourselves: connect to God, to those we live with, to those affected and to the cosmos. It is creating a green corridor to connect. I quote St Ignatius of Loyola, “Do as if everything depends on you and then, pray as of everything depends on God.” Yes, when the human intelligence failed, we were on our knees, united with the whole world very much dependent on the Lord of life and at the same time accepting the fact that “God makes everything beautiful in His own time.”

Corona brought families together and our Communities together. We are beckoned to spend quality time in our Communities praying together, present at the dining table on time and spending extra time relishing what was set there and cherishing the presence of our Community Sisters. The time we never could afford for community service was availed to us and we were there working in the vegetable garden, flower garden or farm being very close to nature and close to each other. We got connected to mother Earth smelling the fragrance of the flowers and soiling our hands and giving a lot of exercise to our frozen muscles. Contact with mother Earth and elements of nature refreshed our bodies and enlivened our relationships. We did allot time to connect ourselves to some of our forgotten friends and the thrill of re-connecting was priceless. We browsed through our library catalogue picked some good books from our library to connect ourselves to our cognitive mind and the dust of the library was gone with the wind.

One of the badly hit sectors was the student-teacher community. They felt knocked out.  Completing the syllabus, revision, exams etc. stood a stand still. But the creative mind of the teachers took this challenge into opportunity. The teachers made use of the digital world to connect the students. They used the amazing new communication technologies available today—Zoom, Face Time, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.—to create regular group conversations among the students and specific groups of teachers.

The lockdown crisis created a wave of solidarity across the world to connect and reach out to the needy. Our Communities responded to this stimulus through food supplies, monitory assistance, health care, shelter, masks and salaries to those who could not come to work. Yes, there was meaningful change in our being and behaviour, our attitudes, our approach, our relationships and outreaching.  Let this good will continue beyond corona –time.

May we be the bearers of good news and the witnesses of hope, love and healing to the world through our connectedness. Stay healthy and stay connected!

Rev. Sr Lily Fernandes