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These cloistered nuns answered support lines and took care of others during the pandemic

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ChiesadiMilano via Youtube

Silvia Lucchetti - published on 03/09/22

These consecrated women have found meaningful ways to serve others and fulfill their vocations during a difficult time.

The Archdiocese of Milan made a 12-minute video in Italian for the 26th World Day of Consecrated Life titled “I’ll take care of you – Stories of consecrated life in the face of the pandemic” (“Avrò cura di te – Storie di vita consacrata di fronte alla pandemia“). It presents the testimonies of three consecrated women from different communities in the historic archdiocese once led by St. Ambrose.

The stories of three experiences are intertwined, all in some way characterized by the context of the ongoing pandemic and by the burden of suffering that it has entailed, especially for those who are the most vulnerable.

Sister Maria Teresa answered hundreds of phone calls and emails

Sister Maria Teresa of the Incarnation, a Benedictine of the “San Benedetto” cloistered monastery of Milan, is the oldest of the three. After a fond reference to the roots of her vocation, she tells how, on the occasion of the lockdown of 2020, she accepted an appeal from Milan’s Archbishop Mario Delpini to religious communities to make themselves available to listen to their suffering brothers and sisters.

This request led her to answer hundreds of phone calls and emails to offer “a sign of hope” to those seeking comfort and understanding, many of whom—distraught over the death of their loved ones—anxiously asked her the question, “If God exists, why does all this happen? Why is God evil?”

She never tried to provide theological answers, which often have limited pastoral value; rather, she simply embraced all this suffering that penetrated the walls of the cloister. She ends up saying with conviction that this service “has made us discover our vocation in the Church.”

Sr. Teresa Passagem and her assistance to her sisters

Sister Teresa Passagem, a Portuguese Combonian missionary from the community of Buccinigo d’Erba (Como, Italy), spent 15 years in Africa—6 in Mozambique and 9 in Congo. She was sent to care for 70 sisters—all with COVID-19, 20 of whom have since passed away—housed in a rest home.

She recounts that when she arrived in the courtyard of the institute, she found 13 ambulances shuttling the sisters who were in the worst condition to the hospital. She emphasizes that the strength to react to such a dramatic situation came from community prayer, and she lights up when she tells how on Easter Day they brought Communion to all the sisters, the oldest of whom is 103 years old.

Sandra Stazzer and the children with neurological problems

Sr. Sandra Stazzer, Little Apostle of Charity and children’s neurologist in Bosisio Parini (Lecco, Italy), takes care of children who have suffered major head traumas or have other acquired brain injuries.

Her story shows us the great efforts made to overcome the difficulties of caring for the little patients and their parents’ anxiety, made even more serious by the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

Caring for others

These three consecrated women call each and every one of us to “find someone who takes care of you and to learn to take care of others.”

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