Shalom

Missionaries in Italy and France tell how to maintain hope in Covid-19 times

In the midst of Pandemic, there exists the hidden supplication of those who offer their lives for love.

In recent months, the world has experienced a new dynamic: quarantine is now part of the routine of thousands of people who, at home, protect their families to prevent the virus from spreading during the Pandemic.

In this Special Series on comshalom.org, you will follow how missionaries around the world have lived the virtue of hope, which is a characteristic of Christians at all times in life.

How, then, is the Shalom charisma a current answer for the suffering world?

 

Italy

In Italy, the country with the highest number of deaths by Covid-19 in Europe, missionaries currently live quarantined in a profound spirit of prayer.

Samantha is a Psychologist for the Shalom Covenante Community and has been in Rome for the past few months. Unable to return to Brazil, she shares how her quarantine experience in the Eternal City has been: 

“One of the main things that I realized when the situation got more complicated, is that it all started on Ash Wednesday, when the first decrees started to come out here in Italy,” recalls the missionary.

She says that she realized, with everything that happened, that God invited her to live a different kind of Lent, much more radical and intense, to be with Jesus in the desert, hoping to be resurrected with Him on Easter.

“I found ways to be with the brothers and to feel part of a people, a family, and that was very significant. Many brothers from the Community in Brazil joined me at this time. How beautiful it has been to feel like family again in the face of this circumstance.” 

For Samantha, a phrase that comes to mind in the midst of today’s challenges is that of Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neuropsychiatrist who survived the concentration camps in Germany. Frankl states: “Who has a why, supports any how”.

Samantha shares a similar sentiment: 

“Those who had a meaning in life could endure extreme things. I really believe in that – when I have a reason, it gives me the strength to endure anything. I need, with my life and my testimony, to remember that I have a why, which is God’s will.”

Samantha says that this is the ideal time for her as a missionary to dedicate herself to two hours of prayer, since now nothing can rob her of that sacred time of her day.

This missionary concludes that it is important to view all of the things that come to us through contemplation through a spiritual lens. 

“How many prophets were intercessors before God so that he would remove evil from that people? As missionaries of the Shalom Catholic Community we are called to do the same.”

 

France

In France, the mobility restrictions enacted by the Heads of State have also been experienced with a profound spirit of intercession.

Amanda Pinheiro, the local head of the Community in the city of Paris, says that the spirit of Lent’s own sacrifice was intensified in the face of the new reality.

“We also see all of this as a sign of the times. Jesus invites us to conversion in a very strong, very concrete way,” emphasizes Amanda.

The missionary also recalled that it is normal to have a movement of concern in the face of something so new and so unthinkable, but that it is necessary to have hope as well. 

“It is amazing to see that this is all happening to the world. But when we stop to think about the Word of God and the apparitions of Mary – I cannot fail to quote her, since here in France we have so many apparitions – and of all the call to conversion, for us missionaries and for us Christians , I think this is a good opportunity to live faith, hope and charity ”, she points out.

Amanda concludes by saying that it is not the time for us, as Christians, to live out this test “turned to ourselves”, but it is a time to redouble our attention to the most fragile, giving a testimony of faith and hope that God is greater than everything at all times.


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