From Darkness to Light: Living Through the Pandemic
“Dark clouds over a closed world”
(Title of Chapter One of Fratelli Tutti)
Sr. Evelyn Eckhardt DW United States
The current pandemic has plunged us ever more deeply into the darkness described in these powerful words of Pope Francis. Inherent in the universal human suffering caused by the pandemic lies a fundamental choice. Do we live as isolated individuals or do we act as brothers and sisters to all “where there is only one WE?”
As we moved through the year 2020 here in the United States, we saw countless images of people reaching out to care for one another and finding creative ways of staying connected at a safe distance. We acknowledged the service of front-line workers in health care and food services and thanked them profusely. We shopped for elderly neighbors and donated to food banks assisting those whose jobs had been lost. We utilized ZOOM to be in touch with family and friends and stood outside windows waving to the housebound and those in skilled care facilities.
At the same time here in the United States, the pandemic has brought to light the depth of the racial and economic disparities endured by our people of color. It has also faced us with multiple examples of how our past Administration in Washington, DC, withdrew from collaboration with the broader world community.
Now, with the new Administration having taken office on January 20th, 2021, we once again have the opportunity as a nation to assess our position in the global community. Hopefully, the words of President Biden will become a reality: “We’ll lead not merely by the example of our power [but] by the power of our example.”
We look forward to renewed collaboration beyond our borders on the critical issues of our times so affecting the entire human race.
As Daughters of Wisdom here in the United States, we, with other members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, are committed to doing our part in confronting the systemic racism so rampant in our society. We are becoming more conscious of the advantages of our “white privilege” and of the ways we have been complicit in the on-going racial discrimination in our country. In addition, we will continue where possible to offer financial assistance to those in particular need in our ministries. As we become eligible, we will receive the Covid vaccination for the sake of the common good and will support those working to assure the availability of the vaccination world-wide.
Going forward, we find hope in the growing awareness that our cultural emphasis on independence deters the interdependence essential to survival of the world community. Without a doubt, these times call for continued efforts to realize the one “We” of beloved brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May we find in Wisdom the path to bring into being the vision expressed in the words of the young Inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman:
“ . . . When day comes we step out of the shade
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
if only we’re brave enough to be it.