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

St. Bernard, Congo: "GOD WILL PROVIDE"

In D.R. Congo, on March 10, 2020, the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the capital Kinshasa and precisely in the Commune of La Gombe where our community is located.

On March 24th, the President of the Republic, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi, declared a state of health emergency. Three days were given to the population to get supplies because, for the Commune of la Gombe, the lockdown would begin on 06 April 2020, for two weeks. As the number of Covid-19 cases is increasing, the State has extended the lockdown to date.

Our ordeal began at the time of making purchases. The market was full of people and food was becoming very scarce and very expensive. We didn’t quite understand where all this would lead us or what we were going to do!

At the beginning of the lockdown, we had to go out to buy vegetables. On the way, we were stopped by the police at the central station of Kinshasa because we were two in our vehicle and we had only one access badge. After an hour’s exchange with the police, who would not let us go, we appealed to the mayor of the commune of La Gombe who came to our rescue. Because of this incident, we decided not to go out anymore and to be satisfied with what we could have at home.

The flame of Eucharistic fervor was not extinguished in our house. The Jesuit Fathers who are our neighbours did not hesitate for a single moment to continue to say Mass in our chapel in this time of lockdown. They took turns day after day so that we could have the Eucharist while respecting social distancing. During the daily Eucharistic celebrations, the lay people who are used to joining us are unfortunately deprived of access to our chapel.

During this confinement, the situation around us seems difficult: vulnerable people are crying with hunger and looking for food, including the police and guards assigned to guard the neighbouring offices, who have nothing to eat. They all head towards our community to beg for food. In solidarity with our people, we share what little we have with them.

Since we were more concerned about this situation, and since we cannot cope with it alone, we made a request for assistance to the Diaconia Service of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa which responded positively. We received some food.
In our turn, we made packets and distributed to each of these vulnerable people. The people were so happy and thankful to us for that gesture. Hope radiated on their faces. Part of the food received was also shared with the forty-five pregnant women and women in childbirth at our Mwinda Health Centre in Sanga Mamba and twenty malnourished children.

We experienced the words of our Founder, "God will provide". We saw how the faces that were saddened regained joy, smiles and strength. We also took the opportunity to sensitize them to the need to respect the measures taken by the Congolese State to protect themselves against Covid-19. We also encouraged the adults not to lose hope or become discouraged. All were in admiration.

This difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic had plunged us into sadness and stress. The annual retreat during this time was very beneficial for us and gave us the courage to move forward and do what we can while respecting the barrier gestures.

We have regained courage and strength. We are full of hope and ready to look for ways and means to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. We have begun to raise awareness among those who come to us, comfort them, give them hope and tell them to rely on Divine Providence because God will provide at all times.

Sister Wivine MBOMBO

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

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