Covid-19 Update: Chile

As of 31st March 2020

In our Province of Chile, March is the time when several communities (six of them) were welcoming their new members. Many were beginning the mission of accompanying our schools, chapels, and others, commemorating Women’s Day, participating in marches, and preparing the final details of the visit of the Central Team. All of these were taking place in a very sensitive political and social environment since the social upheaval we experienced on October 18th and that in March (when daily life resumes after the summer holidays) was reorganizing and gaining strength.

We were aware of this virus, though at the beginning we did not think it was so serious. We even came to think that the government was “inflating” this episode to lower the profile of the social state of the country. In just a few days, however, everything changed for us — from the cancellation of the visit of the Central Team to the suspension of classes at schools and universities, and the cancellation of sporting and cultural events, as well as Eucharistic celebrations, to our staying at home in quarantine.

Thanks be to God, up until now, our RSCJ sisters are fine. In the house of the elder sisters, they are taking all possible precautions — above all with the infirmafy staff who come and go. At this house of elder sisters, no one can enter or leave (or come for visits) except the infirmary staff (with whom a schedule of shifts and substitutions, etc. has been established).

The sisters of the community in Puente Alto were asked to move to the house on Rancagua Street (also in Santiago, in the centre of the city) so that they can have better access to medical centres, should this be necessary. It was very difficult for them to leave and not be in solidarity with their neighbors and people of the area. However, we, the leadership team, thought the move was for the best since all four of them are over 60 years old and live far from emergency care. The sisters in other communities have kept to their houses for the most part (except for work, seeing doctors, and shopping for food). Thanks be to God we are all supplied with the basics and what is necessary. Today, we see that the infection curve is flattening but this is not the moment to relax. On the contrary, we are aware that we must take greater care because we are told that, according to the statistics, the virus will be at its strongest in mid-April.

As the leadership team, we have sent a letter asking all to take shelter and prepare a plan A, B, and C, in case of the illness, infection, or death of someone in the community, a family member, or a neighbor. Communities are reflecting and these days their answers will come. These will help us to become more aware and to focus on what is important, to strengthen our commitment to be Artisans of Hope in a blessed and broken world, and to know how to act and not fall into fear and paralysis.

The Communications Team for the province is sending a simple daily reflection online to the communities and to the Sacred Heart family. The idea is to offer input to nourish the heart, to provide anternative space in the face of so much information about the coronavirus.

The Network of Schools team has been actively encouraging the school communities. They sent a heartfelt letter with a message and words of hope to the communities of our three schools. We are also having virtual meetings among the communities of our province, and also with other provinces.

We have subscribed to the Zoom program to facilitate the virtual meetings that have multiplied in this time, both among us as a Province and for our work and pastoral ministries.

As leadership team, we have weekly virtual meetings and we send weekly communications to the communities to encourage hope and responsibility for prevention in the face of this pandemic.

In light of the reality of this epidemic, we as a leadership team, together with the Network of Schools team, made the decision to suspend the RedLac meeting which was to be held at the beginning of June, 2020.

Next Monday, we will have a “virtual Provincial Meeting” to know how we are living this world reality and what isolation in our communities is meaning for us, etc. It is a time take our pulse in order to lower the tension levels.

Dear Sisters, many thanks for the concern and for having us share what we are living as provinces. All of this will help us strengthen our COR UNUM and is a great opportunity to live as Artisans of Hope with greater strength today, in this sad reality, where the poorest and most vulnerable are the ones who suffer more.

Edith Opazo, in the name of the sisters of Chile

Section |International News

Province |Chile