Impact of COVID-19 on the St. Katarina Community in Oslo

Sr. Mette Andrésen, OP
Community of St. Katarina in Oslo

In order to broaden my personal reflection on the impact of COVID-19 a little, I consulted some members of a Bible group that I lead.
They are adult women, married or widowed, and therefore with a different experience from mine. But we all agreed that coming together around the Word of God helped us during this difficult time.
So, I take the starting point in this common experience.

The restrictions taken by the Norwegian government from the beginning of the pandemic were respected by most citizens and the number of contagions and deaths remained relatively low. Certainly, the younger people have had less patience, which has contributed to an increase in contagions for some time, but so far, the hospitals have not been saturated…
For the members of the group, the time of the recommended confinement at the very beginning was the most difficult, as not being able to go out and gather with family weighed on everyone. In addition, the masses were only accessible on the Internet. At present, a certain number of faithful can be accommodated, but it is necessary to register in advance for the Sunday celebration.
On the other hand, in the community we have been privileged, having been able to maintain the services and the Eucharistic celebrations.

For all of us, not being able to make plans, such as going abroad, remains a constraint because we do not know when it will be possible again.  For the time being, the government advises against travel that is not strictly necessary. Of course, several of us had the opportunity to rediscover our beautiful country this summer, but I must admit that I suffer from not being able to go elsewhere.
The call to avoid close contact is also difficult for everyone and especially for grandparents who are deprived of seeing their grandchildren as before.
An important mission for me during this time was to contact by phone or email people I knew were ill or isolated.

In addition, our priority was to take into consideration the female students living with us who were immediately taken care of at the slightest symptom of the virus and then tested by the medical staff.

In conclusion, I join the group in saying that the consolation found in reading the Bible together helped us to live through this situation. For these meetings are a place to talk about our fears, our doubts, but also about our trust in a God with us.

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