I hope you are managing during this most unique and unsettling time. I know that few of us could ever have imagined living through something like today’s COVID-19 crisis. Although we are vaguely aware of pandemics and plagues throughout history, our modern culture seems to have been lulled into a false sense of security that all society’s progress and advances have made us somehow immune to the plagues of the Bible and past history.
Despite our modern technology, despite all the breakthroughs in medicine and science, the devastation caused by COVID-19 has been widespread and, for almost everyone, felt very personally. As many of you know, an outbreak of COVID-19 at the René Goupil House, the Jesuit infirmary in Pickering, Ontario, has resulted in seven Jesuits being called home to God. But, out of despair truly does come hope. Several young Jesuits became caregivers for their elderly brothers during their last days, and the experience for all, the old and the young, was edifying and full of grace. We will be sharing some of their stories in the next issues of our newsletter and Canadian Jesuits magazine.
It is difficult to remain hopeful during these times of sickness and death, but St. Ignatius offers us this advice, “Realize that illness and other temporal setbacks often come to us from the hand of God our Lord, and are sent to help us know ourselves better, to free ourselves of the love of created things, and to reflect on the brevity of this life and, thus, to prepare ourselves for the life which is without end.”
We thank you for all your kind expressions of support as we all journey together through this time of great unknown. Let us all do our best to look out for each other, to help each other, and to pray for each other. The Jesuits are truly grateful for your friendship, and you are always in their prayers.
Barry J. Leidl