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Are We Learning Anything from COVID-19?

Posted on November 1, 2020, by Joy Jensen SL

Bright fuchsia flowers in bloom on a sunny day.
Flowers in the Motherhouse courtyard
Photo by Donna Mattingly

The covid-19 virus has not walked into the Motherhouse Infirmary. We Infirmary residents have been in lockdown since mid-March. We are isolated but not unknowing of the suffering world around us. As I sit at my Infirmary window my heart aches for what I see: the violence, the pain of loss of loved ones, the death alone, the hunger because of job loss, the despair. What has happened to our world as we knew it? Where is hope?

This is not the first time a pandemic has visited our Earth. In the 14th century the plague, the Black Death, depopulated Europe by a third. The plague economically upset feudalism, and there was no return to the life lived before. The Black Death altered the feudal system, and new models for understanding the world emerged from death and despair. For one thing, women won a higher status because so many men had died. For another, seeds for new models helped usher in the Renaissance. Out of death came hope for a new life.

What are we learning now? I have read the articles about the Season of Creation, and my heart has revived. New things are emerging from this pandemic. The steering committee for the Season of Creation model tells us that the pandemic came as our planet has reached its tipping point. The pandemic has shown us that social, economic and ecological realities are interconnected. We can emerge from this “paining” time with hope and new ways of living on Earth. The steering committee for the Season of Creation maintains that “we enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth that requires new ways of living with creation.”

We have hope for these new ways of living with creation. We hear and read that there is now more desire to care for Earth. From our place in creation we can have hope for the future. We see that new models of living committed life are emerging. We experience more desire to live sustainably. We find new ways to live with creation. We want to pray. No matter our isolation or our place in this great interconnection with the cosmos, trees and birds, we can hope.

And we can pray. We can pray for new ways to live with creation. We can hope for new models of life to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. We can pray for more justice, more peace, more ways of being human with all who are other. In his Silent Music, William Johnston was succinct: “The mystic sits for the universe.”

Sitting in my chair by my window my eyes see a new life from COVID-19, a life that knows its interconnection. I believe that models for a new life will emerge from this pandemic. I have hope that we will enter into this Season of Creation with new hearts. The Source of all Being spoke in Isaiah: “I do a new thing, do you not see it?”


Joy Jensen SL

Joy is a vowed member, and she resides in the Motherhouse infirmary. Previously, Joy was a community organizer in St. Louis at St. Alphonsus Liguori “The Rock” Church, a historic Catholic church with a predominately African-American faith community. She also did some teaching at St. Louis University after receiving her doctorate. She enjoys reading American history and spy thrillers. Joy also enjoys knitting.
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