Precious Blood Spirituality for the Pandemic
(This article was originally published in This Good Work, found here)
by Sr. Marla Gipson
Precious Blood Spirituality is a way of living through the ups and downs of any life situation. I have found this is no less true when living through a pandemic! It’s human and it’s natural that conflicting feelings and emotions arise whenever there is a change in a familiar pattern of behavior. Disruption of these familiar patterns leads to disruption in relationships, routines, dreams or goals. Disruption is the dying part of Precious Blood Spirituality. However, disruption doesn’t have to end in death.
It is also natural that conflictual feelings cause humans to tap into their capacity for resilience. We have the ability to adapt to new patterns, even if such new patterns are not desirable yet necessary.
Our ability to adapt to the new patterns of living with the threat of COVID-19 and to learn how to carry on in spite of more isolation and social distancing is the rising part of Precious Blood Spirituality. We can do this and still be about who we are and what we do as women religious! After all, religious life is not new to adaptation! Its very nature is to adapt to the signs of the times.
Those of us who serve on the leadership team of the Congregation continue with the ministry of serving our Sisters as best we can in terms of mission, administrative care to that end, and the pastoral care of our members and constituents. Through the blessing of Zoom, we work collaboratively on process and make decisions. Some decisions are novel for this time because of the dictates of COVID-19.
We are blessed with a staff who also work from home. They, too, journey with us to carry forth the mission entrusted to us. We are also more mindful of the basic human needs of those affected by losses during this pandemic and are able to allocate some of our resources to directly serve them.
As we continue to adapt and move through the challenge of these times, it is easy to be frustrated, angry and/or impatient at times. A large part of my ministry in normal times is the face-to-face interactions with our Sisters on a daily basis, either at Salem Heights (our central house in Dayton, Ohio) or Emma Hall (part of the nursing facility next door). I lament the loss of being able to do that. Or, in some moments, technological glitches might get the best of me. However, Precious Blood Spirituality calls me to take a step back, acknowledge such feelings of loss and practice acceptance of what is, while growing in compassion for others and, equally important, for ourselves.