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Sister Betty Daniels Sharing Ministry Stories During COVID-19 in Newfoundland
Pictured above: Sister Betty leading a ritual at a pre-COVID small group reflection.
Beginning with the 1st week of February 2020 and following the Christmas break, we resumed our weekly spirituality sessions at our Nano Nagle Spirituality Centre, where I live and am director, continuing from where we left off in December. The winter program, an online program which I facilitated, was an 8-module presentation, “Re-imagine Healing” by Anita Moorjani. We had three separate small groupings, held each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Each group follows the same program and a member from each group forms a team to assist me in the sessions.
All of us were disappointed when in mid-March Covid-19 and the pandemic forced the closure of so many social events. We had to discontinue our gatherings … and isolation from one another began. It became a difficult time for us all. Not knowing at this time how long it would last, we had set our hopes on just a few weeks. Little did we know it would be for many months.
Though it was a huge challenge trying to adjust to the alienation, and the opportunity to continue my ministry that was very dear to me, I took some time to reflect on how I could look at an alternative ministry that could be possible, at least temporarily. That wasn’t difficult because all around us were lonely, fearful, and needy seniors who were crying out for help, for connection, for someone to talk with. I decided to begin a phone ministry with some of these people whom I knew. I called this ministry “companioning seniors.”
As the weeks went by and some restrictions were being slowly lifted, I was able to become a designated visitor on a small scale to seniors in a retirement home and long-term care, I also was able to visit seniors in their homes again on a small-scale. Through later spring and summer months, as more restrictions were lifted in our area, I was happy to take them for drives and some little treats and offer them some semblance of normal life to lift their spirits a little.
By mid-October we were happy to be granted permission to gather again in small groups and so, with joyful hearts, we returned to our program sessions.
My ministries have been “companioning seniors,” and “enriching mid-lifers.” As spring begins to send shoots up, it’s time for gardening once again at the Centre. Now I have also been “engaging teenagers” as two beautiful young people have offered to help around the property with my flower beds, along with my “old faithfuls” from other years.