By J1 Reporter Sam Pelan
COVID-19 has made a big impact worldwide and in the Marian community. It affects everyone, but it is especially dangerous among people with compromised immune systems, those with existing health conditions, and the elderly.
There are “six or seven sisters with serious pulmonary and cardiac issues, so we have to protect them,” Sr. Joan Houtekier said.
“Many of them are in their 80s and 90s and some of them do have health conditions, which make them more vulnerable. These factors would require us to be extremely cautious,” Sr. Sarah Deeby said.
“Now that it has gone on for a couple weeks here, where we have had different levels of prevention happening, I think some of the anxiety has lessened, but of course everyone is being very cautious,” Sr. Sarah said.
“This is a serious situation, and we are grateful we can be somewhat quarantined. Of course, this is a very serious situation for our whole world,” said Sr. Joan, who lives in the convent. There are 26 Sisters currently living at the convent.
These current precautions help keep the Sisters safe from illness. “We are very grateful to both Mary Higgins and Susie Sullivan for the precautions they set up,” Sr. Sarah said.
“Some of the things we are doing are sanitizing door knobs, guard rails, and railings twice a day, and there are no visitors coming in. The mail is received at the door, and held for 24 hours until it is distributed, all deliveries are held with great precaution,” Sr. Sarah said. The Servite Leadership Team is responsible for putting in place the precautions.
The Sisters have been using technology for Mass, communicating with family members, and talking to the Sisters who are living at Immanuel Fontenelle. “We have been live streaming the liturgy from St. John’s on Creighton’s campus into our chapel… that feels very different from what we usually experience,” Sr. Joan said. To communicate with the Sisters at Immanuel Fontenelle, the Sisters have been FaceTiming “at least once a week,” Sr. Sarah said.
Sr. Joan has even had time to catch up with her nieces. “They FaceTimed me, and that was very enjoyable,” Sr. Joan said.
The Sisters enjoy spending time with each other while they are quarantined in the convent. “After supper a lot of us will play cards, yahtzee or work on a puzzle, just enjoying the time with one another,” Sr. Joan said. They have also been going on walks around the school and convent campus to get fresh air. Sr. Joan enjoys looking at “the daffodils coming up every day.”
Sr. Sarah and Sr. Joan’s advice to Marian girls is to “take advantage of this time and to just enjoy slowing down a bit” and to “keep each other’s spirits up.”