Good Samaritan Sister Leonie Dueñas recently participated in Kwarenta, the Diocese of Bacolod’s 40-day Communal Reflection during COVID-19 and the Season of Creation, from September 1 to October 4, 2020.
Early on the morning of September 10, Leonie was interviewed at the Bishop’s House where the program was livestreamed on Facebook. The program is in Ilonggo, the local language of the people of the Diocese of Bacolod in the Philippines.
The theme was ‘We Are All Connected’. Leonie was asked: How do you see this time of COVID-19? What are the opportunities for connecting?
“In as much as we want to connect with people, we also need to observe physical distancing and keep safe but be flexible and creative in responding to the need because COVID-19 is also our neighbour at this time,” Leonie said.
“In connecting with people and the whole of creation, we see what is beautiful but also support those who are wounded, with care and compassion.”
The Good Sams have had a presence in Bacolod for more than 25 years, operating a Kinder School, providing food for the children at the local orphanage and operating an Outreach Centre serving people living in squatter settlements along the coastal shoreline of the densely populated city.
Leonie said there were lots of opportunities to be neighbour, “but there are lots of interruptions as well due to the lockdown”. “We embraced our helplessness citing the word ‘surrender’ by Linda Espie: ‘It is what it is because it is. Let it be.’
“At our Outreach Centre, the Sisters with our partners have been working hard to prepare food for the hungry during COVID-19. Another Sister couldn’t undertake her usual prison visits, but she was able to deliver the necessary help to the prison. Our staff at the kinder school are doing a clean-up drive while the children are not at school.”
To watch Leonie’s interview on Facebook, click here (starts approx. 18:00).
Published in The Good Oil, October 2020.