Watch: Nuns in the time of Coronavirus

Communicating through Whatsapp

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

“I’m in quarantine and all my sisters have been quarantined with me. I am closed between the four walls of my room but I still work, thanks to technology. I communicate with my sisters on the floor below me using Whatsapp”. This was Sr Rachel Frendo, Mother Provincial of the Augustinian order Servants of Jesus and Mary. She lives in a convent with her sisters at Fleur de Lys.

15 Nuns in quarantine

Sr Rachel explained that she ended up in Quarantine after France was added to the number of ‘hot’ destinations. “That meant that my quarantine was extended to all the nuns in the convent” added Mother Provincial. “I am locked in my room. My sisters leave food outside my door which I pick up” said Sr Rachel. So, asked, is this a case of when the mother cat is away, the little mice play? That raised a smile in the nun’s face. “We felt the responsibility of closing our doors in quarantine so that we would not be a source of contagion to those we normally meet including the students and young ladies we teach at school” explained Sr Rachel. The nuns are continuing with their work from the convent with several looking at this quarantine as a boon since it permitted them to catch up on work which had fallen behind.

Ageless technology

 “Good to slow down a bit”

Sr Rachel said that there were positive aspects of situations like this. It gave the nuns a chance to thoroughly spring clean the house as well as giving them more opportunity for reflection. “Slowing down helps even in spiritual life…we can only give what we have inside of us” observed Sr Rachel. “In moments like these, we start questioning things we used to do automatically, mindlessly, things we deemed indispensable. Are our daily routines too much? Are we feeling that when we stop we are wasting time rather than resting? At the very least, Coronavirus li helping us reflect on the way we are living our lives” said Sr Rachel.

Who are the Augustinian Nuns?

The Augustinian Sisters first came to Malta in 1894 at the request of Bishop Pietro Pace; they established their first home at Qormi and later on, in 1928, they opened another home at Mosta. Other homes then followed: in 1937 at Gżira, in 1946 at Għajnsielem, in 1950 at Birkirkara, and in 1940 a novitiate at Rabat. Among their various pastoral duties, the nuns run St Monica School at Mosta, Birkirkara and Gzira.