The Dynamics of Life: Reflections of Indonesian OP Sisters in the Middle of a Pandemic.

By: Sr. Elizabeth Sukamdo, OP

It is undeniable that COVID did bring great sadness, fears, and anxieties. However, there are many other things that breed gratitude and admirations. – Pandemics, lockdowns, and maintaining social and physical distancing have made the dynamics of life really changed. There are walls of life being renewed, there is something new.

The Indonesian OP Sisters looked at the bright blue afternoon sky. Reduced pollutants, clean air. The bustle died down, entered the silent room. It is time to pull over, reflect. Live in a deep, vibrant awareness. Continuing life, adapting to change. – Don’t ever lose hope but live in the joy of God’s mercy.

The life color of prayer is enriched. The sad situation of the world due to the pandemic has not eroded the love relationship with the Creator. The prayer candles actually burned even more. Morning and Afternoon Office of the Hour prayers, Adoration, and community Rosary Prayers were scattered intensive forms for the world, the country, the health fighters, covid19 victims, and those affected by economic hardship and job dropouts. Prayers that are shown are more deeply appreciated full of empathy and are aimed at common concerns. At this point, a prayer heart was formed.

Online Prayers also colors the day and enrich spiritual experiences in the midst of this pandemic. Our Sisters from various communities, lay Dominicans from various cities, together with Dominican priests and brothers unite in heart in celebrating the Eucharist and online Rosary prayer everyday via zoom. A meeting of junior sisters for prayer and sharing of scriptures was also held via google meet. Spiritual meetings and prayer meetings with the nuns were carried out via WhatsApp group. The prayer chain is unbroken, and it is even more colorful during the pandemic!

The life dynamics of study and preaching are increasingly meaningful and there are more creative ways. Every community apostolate especially among the victims of the pandemic. Moved by heart, with compassion and empathy to extend love’s help in various forms. The sisters who work in the health sector are at the forefront of opening the doors of clinics and hospitals that are full of empathy to serve patients and also protect the medical workers well.

Each community of sisters in various cities distributes basic necessities to families with economic difficulties, for online motorcycle taxi drivers, pedicab drivers, scavengers, and cleaners. The sisters also cooked food to be distributed free of charge and also give masks and hand sanitizers. Some also made parcels of learning equipment for the village children around the monastery, as well as gifts in the form of toiletries and cleaning tools. This compassion movements, which is still being carried out today, implies concern and compassion to get out of the comfort of the monastery and actually are apostolate acts. Our assistance is also addressed to our Lay Dominicans in their formation studies. The laity’s thirst to deepen their spirituality and Faith in this pandemic, led them join the Dominican Order. So, with the coaching experience that we have, we the Dominican Sisters also help out on-line coaching for the new members of the Dominican Laity in Indonesia.

The community lifestyle feels renewed. Concern for ecology is increasingly and bearing fruit in some concrete actions. Sisters in various communities grow various vegetables, fruit and flowers in their convent gardens. The convent gardens became greener and produced natural crops. The sisters also paid attention to ecology by keeping the environment clean. The sisters do not hesitate to sort waste, reduce waste generation, and process waste into fertile compost. Healthy living habits are also practised in our communities. Wash our hands frequently, wear a mask, keep physical distancing, take multivitamins as supplements, enjoy the morning sun together, and eat healthy, nutritious foods, especially for the elderly sisters.

If Saint Dominic lived in this age, what would he do? This reflection colored the sisters’ enthusiasm to be creative in finding new ways to keep us preaching!

The Indonesian Dominican sisters believe that any situation that may occur can always send our heart to experience a true encounter with the Great One of Love. Looking at every event with faith, because God also works in everything to bring wonderful things to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

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