THE GIFT OF THE YEARS in coronavirus times

Sr. Mª Sagrario Díaz, OP
On behalf of the Community of Saint Catherine of Pamplona
Dominicas de la Enseñanza de la I.C.

In the communities of elderly sisters of our congregation, we have instituted a feast called the Gift of the Years, which takes place on the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Feast of the Good Shepherd.

We are a community of 11 elderly sisters with an average age of 80 years, the youngest being 74 years old. We live well in this time of confinement, without negative experiences. We are served in the form of a shared mission with the Summa Humanitate foundation. Since the first day of our quarantine, we have received instructions, which are repeated periodically, on how to behave…, a lot of separation in the common areas, a lot of hygiene, daily disinfection of the rooms, etc., not to let anyone enter the house.

In one of the orientations and information letters, we were encouraged to take care of the sisters’ state of mind, to prevent depression, etc.

In the midst of the pain and desolation that society is going through, and us with it, we were encouraged to celebrate this feast by which we give thanks to God for the years of life that He has granted us, for the grace that we have received as a gift, and for being alive and willing for this experience to make us be born again as Jesus said to Nicodemus.  

It was a different feast, without being able to invite anyone, without a special Eucharistic celebration, but our prayer was deeper and more lively.

The next day, after waking up to music, we were surprised to find our doors decorated, each one with our name on it.

We began the prayer of Lauds with the hymn « The Good Shepherd who died to give us life has risen, we give you thanks Lord, for this Easter in bloom where YOUR LOVE has triumphed. » During the intercession, we prayed for the victims of the pandemic and especially for the elderly like us who are suffering because of this disease. And also for those who give of their lives with such care.   

Later, the playful and festive part took place, the lottery game, respecting the distances – yes -, a film that corresponded to the taste of the sisters, a special snack-dinner…

A different day in the midst of the quarantine (we also celebrated the feast of Saint Catherine in line with the laypeople of our Pamplona community). We came out of it renewed, with the desire to be more grateful to the sisters and the people who care for us, to give importance to what is fundamental and to be close to those who are suffering from the crisis and its consequences.

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