By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Just like many others in the U.S., the Daughters of St Paul are on lock down. That has not stopped the sisters from performing their communications ministry. First they began to call people who frequent their book centers. Now, they are launching a digital Spiritual Adoption program for Covid-19 patients and frontliners.
Sr Tracey Dugas spoke with Vatican News about how the program began and how people can join.
Actively reaching out
Sr. Tracey explained how the sisters have adapted the way they reach out to people due to the Covid-19 restrictions which have closed the doors to their Pauline Book & Media Centers. “We began a telephone outreach”, she explained. “We're just giving clients a phone call, you know, that human touch”. It’s been surprising, not only that people are home, but that they answering their phones, Sister continues. “The beautiful thing about it is we just want to know how people are because they are a value to us and we care about what they’re living”.
The sisters began to realize that “there was a definite need to be present to God's people throughout the days and the weeks ahead. So we created #SpiritualCommunion, which is just various opportunities that people have to either engage in live videos with the sisters, just various ways for people to connect through presence, the wisdom, the prayer of the sisters for them”, Sr Tracey explains.
As women religious, “We have this opportunity to go to the Lord, to actively intercede, to help people focus on the positive”. The sisters have now figured out how to go digital with this hidden aspect of their lives.
Spiritual Adoption program
Spiritual Adoption grew out of this #SpiritualCommunion initiative. “We realized that over time there was this growing need for people to connect. There were tons of people out there who are on the front lines. They themselves have a sense of the overwhelmingness of the situation, whether they're doctors or they’re nurses, they’re on the front lines. It's bigger than they are”.
But more than that, the sisters also sensed that healthy people in lockdown were seeking something too. “So many people are in lockdown and they themselves have this feeling of ‘There’s gotta be something I can do to really partner with those who are kind of standing in defense or standing on the front lines for me’ ”.
Then a number of the members of one the sister’s families contracted Covid-19. As she began to accompany each one long distance, she began to realize that there were many more people in need of the same spiritual companionship. First, she enlisted the prayers of her fellow Daughters of St. Paul, then “she thought of this beautiful idea called ‘spiritual adoption’ ”.
Through the program, people who want a prayer partner, people who want to find a prayer partner for a third party, and people who want to pray are matched by the sisters. “So they're like truly connected and they each have an active role in this spiritual accompaniment”, Sr Tracy says.
How to join the program
Anyone who wants to connect through Spiritual Adoption can do so at www.pauline.org/spiritualcommunion. People can also connect through their Facebook page where they can view live videos or interviews with the sisters.
The bottom line is connecting the human with the divine, Sr Tracey emphasizes. The connection is meant to give the message that “we are not alone. Even if we're physically isolated, the Lord, through intercessory prayer, allows us to truly support each other in ways that are beyond this world, supernatural. That’s the power that we need”.