Covid-19 Update: Mexico

As of 31st March 2020

In response to the message you sent us, and in the face of the worldwide pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. I would like to share with you the situation of the Province of Mexico.

On the 24th of March, the health authorities of the country declared that we were entering “phase 2” of the virus. Two weeks before they began to implement strategies to mitigate the spread. Among the measures is the suspension of classes in educational centres. Gradually they have suspended other activities and are only continuing what is essential for basic services and infrastructure.

The three focal points receiving greatest attention are Mexico City (with the greatest number of those infected), Guadalajara, and Monterrey, along with their metropolitan areas, because of the high concentration of inhabitants. Religious of the Sacred Heart have presence in all three of the cities mentioned.

Our institutions and educational organizations have suspended work. The schools, popular education projects, and the administrative offices have implemented “Home Office” mode to reduce risk and not neglect their operations. They have also developed contingency plans in each place and organization.

This is a historic moment that has awakened our creativity and with the support of the technological resources that we count on, we can clearly see how great vitality has emerged in our work teams. It will be quite interesting to gather the experiences and the learnings from this time of uncertainty and change that offers us new opportunities.

Thanks be to God, the sisters of the Province are well. Almost all are in their respective communities, except for a couple who, for different reasons — post-operation recovery or because they could not return to their community for health restrictions — are in the house for elderly. 

One can perceive in each one a desire and a commitment to practice self-care and to care for each other. There is also a commitment to finding ways of helpin in this time of confinement — from establishing joint actions, strengthening prayer, sharing meals together, maintaining a work routine, and reserving time for self-care.

The community at the Casa Grande is well cared for. They have implemented all health protocols that have been established for retreat houses and older adults. As of now, our employees continue to come regularly. 

In areas such as Ayutla, Guerrero, San Cristóbal and Chiapas (where Carlota Duarte lives), since they are far from the big cities, awareness of the situation is lower, as is the number of cases.

The young sisters in the InterProvincial Novitiate community, Adba Musharrafie and Sandra Cayetano, are well. I spoke with them on the phone. Just like our communities in Mexico, they are in a time of confinement to the home.

To date, none of our collaborators has reported health problems caused by the pandemic. We only have knowledge of one female high school student from Colegio de México who has tested positive for Covid-19. The critical period has passed and she is in the process of recovering. Security personnel are the only people working in all of the schools.

In the case of Granja Hogar in Chihuahua, all of the children have returned to their families or relatives until further notice. The same was asked of the foreign volunteers, as of Wednesday, March 18th.

Our lay personnel, by reason of their age or health conditions or who live in areas where they are most exposed to contagion, have been asked to stay at home with pay.

We do not have knowledge of any family members of RSCJ with illnesses related to the pandemic.

Even at this moment, we foresee the economic repercussions of this health crisis. especially for those people who live from day to day, and who for the most part do not have access to basic services.

We know that we are fortunate because we lack nothing; however, we are invited to make the most of the resources that we have at our disposal.

In the midst of all this, we forsee that our provincial chapter will have to be held at another time — or at least, held in a different way from what we initially planned (Open Chapter). We want to wait a bit to offer you a proposal on this point. In this sense, we welcome whatever suggestions you might give us in this regard.

We live in a time when our countries are demanding creative responses in order for us to live our spirit and sense of education with greater depth, coherence, and hope. This historic moment is an opportunity to return to what is essential in our lives.

Lourdes Velázquez, in the name of the sisters of Mexico