STAYING TOGETHER WHILE STAYING APART
The Ladysmith Servite Sisters have found a new way of being community during the coronavirus lockdown. Each Monday afternoon at 3:00 o’clock the Sisters log in to Zoom for an hour of sharing news, coping tips, laughter, and prayer.
I invited the Sisters to the first such gathering on March 23. I wasn’t sure how many would – or even could – show up, since most had never used Zoom before. To my delight, more than half the community logged in, and each week a few more Sisters join. Some gather around the same computer, others participate singly, and a few join by phone.
During the first call Sister Cecilia filled us in on the condition of Sister Mary John, our oldest member at age 101, who was in hospice care. That evening Sister Mary John went home to God. At the next Zoom gathering, we heard from our Sisters in Ladysmith about the private graveside service they held for Mary John. Sadly, we also heard about the final days of our next oldest member, Sister Mary Lucy, age 95. While Zoom could not replace the experience of the community coming together to celebrate their lives, it was comforting to be able to share the stories of their passing and our memories of their time with us.
A little later into the call someone said, “Sister Margaret, tell us a joke.” Margaret didn’t skip a beat. “Did you hear the one about the germ?” she asked. “Never mind, I don’t want to spread it around.”
Sister Dominica told of her neighbors, who stop in from time to time – keeping their distance, of course – asking if she needs anything. Sister Kateri told us, “I’m not bored. I have to be doing something for someone. I made 72 Easter cards for the kids in school.” And Sister Ann Marie announced that she had picked up the guitar for the first time in six years.
Now, after four Zoom calls, the Sisters have become comfortable with the new technology. The conversation at these weekly meetings flows back and forth, with the ease of a friendly living room gathering. It’s a wonderful way of staying together while staying apart.