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The Radiance of SCJM Charism in the face of Covid-19!

In response to an initiative taken by the UISG for sharing stories of hope, our provinces and regions were invited to send in such stories. Presented in the form of reports, not stories in the real sense of the term, they are very enlightening, encouraging and inspiring. They speak to us of an integral part of our life in the Congregation today. So, we will post them here, one by one. The following is the account that came from the province of Delhi, the first one to arrive.

Challenges to live our Charism

The Corona Virus entered India on 30th January 2020 when a student who returned from Wuhan in China was tested positive. Just before its arrival, the country was already going through a terrible time due to the recently enacted amendments in the parliament: the CAA (Citizens Amendment Act), NRC (National Registration of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Registration). As these were interpreted as discriminatory, people rose in revolt, resulting in much violence and bloodshed, even riots.

Against this background, the country was suddenly gripped by the pandemic, which called for immediate attention and action. Overnight, the Central Government announced 21 days of lock down which left countless people helpless. However, God did not abandon them to despair. There were hundreds who reached out to them as torch bearers with a ray of hope.

The SCJMs of the Delhi Province have their own stories to tell of being such rays of hope for those who are groping in darkness.

1. The riot victims: The riots were primarily seen in Delhi, the national capital. The provincialate community reached out to the suffering humanity who were driven away of their homes. We joined hands with the archdiocese of Delhi, the Conference of Religious India (CRI), NGOs and other volunteers who came forward to alleviate the situation.

  • Along with other priests, religious, social activists, journalists and religious leaders, some of our Sisters expressed their solidarity by joining a sit-in-strike in the capital,
  • Some of us personally visited the camps and spent time with the riot victims. They listened to their heart renting experiences and counseled them.
  • The province offered financial help for those in dire need.

Though what is done is like a drop in the occasion, our presence must have definitely been a ray of hope for the victims of inhumanity.

2. The Corona Virus Pandemic: We were aware of the virus spreading but never thought that it would become a global crisis. Gradually the country realized the need for preparedness and to take preventive measures to ward off the virus from spreading. The national lockdown declared for 21 days caused many problems, particularly for migrant & construction workers, daily wage earners and others on the margins. We were witnessing heart-rending sights on the roads in front of the provincial house where crowds of migrant-workers were on foot, trying to reach their homes, hundreds of miles away in most cases. There were still thousands left behind without shelter and food. To this suffering humanity we could reach out in some ways, we thought.

Some of our communities had already started reaching out to those who had nothing much to eat. Soon all other communities also found their own ways of being a ray of hope to the helpless. 26 communities sprang into action to help in all possible ways, such as:

  • Distributing ration or offering financial help for treatment.
  • Joining hands with those who were providing food in sheltered facilities.
  • Making our school buildings available for quarantine purpose.

We were trying to be Good Samaritans to all those who were in need without distinction of caste, creed, religion, age or gender. These gestures of generosity, empathy, and solidarity with the affected people were sowing seeds of hope for the hopeless.

3. Solidarity with our “Lifeline”: Adhering to the words of Fr. Triest who said, “always accomplish your works of Charity in a spirit of faith, with your eyes fixed on God” we turned to God, our Lifeline. The last month had been a time of intense prayer, not only for the victims of corona but also for asking God for mercy upon us and the whole humanity for our sins, failures and short comings which have caused our Mother Earth to mourn under its weight. We are sure the Lord who labors with us during this world-wide crisis will enable us to continue to be a ray of hope.

In the depth of darkness when God seems concealed, the transforming light and hope of God is revealed through the committed and dedicated services of all health care supporters, government servants, NGOs, volunteers, priests, religious, donors and others whom our Fr. Triest would consider as “ gods on earth, and angels of God ”. May God, our Lifeline, continue to inspire us to walk in solidarity with the distressed people at this critical time of humankind!

To be continued...

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