Dear friends and family,
Sister Edna Hess • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
As I write these words, we find ourselves in a recurring surge of COVID-19 with the hope of a vaccine coming soon. All of our lives have been affected in many ways these past months. Significant among them is communication. In this issue of Sharing & Caring we share how we, both young and not-so-young, have adapted to these times with new ways of communicating. We also look back to ways we communicated in the past.
The other week, one of our Sisters made a comment that we are suffering from “relational poverty.” It made me reflect on the fact that we are communicating and yet some-thing is missing. “Relational poverty” involves the lack of communicating through touch. Much is communicated through a handshake, a hug, a kiss, our body language.
I think about how often Jesus healed not just by word, but by touch. When he healed the woman afflicted with hemorrhaging who touched his cloak he said, “Who touched me?” When he appeared to “startled and terrified” disciples after his resurrection, he said, “Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when the apostle Thomas was skeptical of Christ’s resurrection, Jesus invited him to reach out and feel his wounds. We have been deprived of touch as a means of communicating for the past nine months.
During my 34 years in Chile, saying hello and saying goodbye usually involved a hug or a kiss. I find myself longing for the day when we can communicate our care for one another by more than just words. So many special moments like weddings, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries have had to be celebrated without touch, which is so much a part of expressing joy or sadness. All of us are experiencing “relational poverty.”
I am grateful for the ways our elderly Sisters at the Maria Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and at Salem Heights have adapted during this pandemic time. Like you, they are persevering through isolation and relational poverty. Many of them have learned to communicate through Zoom or FaceTime. The one constant continues to be communication with God. No technology is needed for that! Know that you are held in their prayers, and they trust they are held in yours.
May this Christmas season fill your hearts with the beautiful gifts of joy, peace, hope and love.