Then there were the calls concerning newborn disabled children whose lives were at risk.
The Marian Sisters of Eucharistic Love, founded by Sister Stan in 2009, provide a home for children with special needs who were often rejected by their families and communities because of superstitious beliefs that associate birth defects with witchcraft.
“At this period too, we have been called by so many priests: ‘Please rescue a child that is in danger,’” she said.
“‘Please, Sister, come, we have rescued two children that they wanted to kill them.’ ‘Please come, a woman gave birth and died and that child is considered ‘witch’ ... and we need to do something about it.’”
Sister Stan said that although movement had become very difficult, she knew that God was calling her order to rescue these children.
She recalled that she had heard this call very distinctly in the founding of the Marian Sisters of Eucharistic Love: “Christ told me: ‘Even though you have nothing, I am telling you to go and rescue my children.’”
“All this we have to risk our lives to go in search for such innocent victims,” she said. “Christ said: ‘Let the children come to me’ … children are precious to God.”
She added: “Our mission here on earth is to keep rescuing life, rescuing souls, and to keep spreading the good news of the kingdom of God.”
Sister Stan was one of several sisters who shared her religious order’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic in the “Women Religious on the Frontlines” virtual symposium co-hosted by the U.S. and British embassies to the Holy See.
Sister Alicia Vacas, regional leader of the Comboni Sisters in the Middle East, was also called to take risks to serve those in need amid the pandemic.
“Unfortunately one of our communities in Bergamo got infected at the very beginning of the coronavirus emergency, and we started receiving very bad news from the community,” Sister Alicia said at the symposium.
“And several young sisters, several of us nurses, we volunteered to go and reach them and to help them.”
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Once she arrived in the town of Bergamo, located in Lombardy, the epicenter of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, Sister Alicia said that the Comboni motherhouse “was in real chaos” because “everybody was sick.”
She estimated that 45 sisters of the 55 living in Bergamo were ill. Ten Comboni sisters from her community died during the outbreak.
“It has been a very powerful experience to live from inside the suffering of the people in Bergamo,” she said, adding that it has been an experience of Christ’s Passion.
“As a Comboni sister, I think it has been only a privilege … sharing with people’s lives, with people’s sufferings,” she said, calling it a “gift from God for the whole congregation.”
Sister Alicia, who is now back at the convent in Jerusalem, said that the coronavirus pandemic is not over and “the situation is very worrying” for many sisters in other parts of the world.
The World Health Organization reported June 22 the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, with more than 183,000 new infections documented worldwide in 24 hours.