Zoom calls status quo during pandemic

“We’re going to be making Zoom calls a lot all through the summer,” said Sister Madeleine Munday, Province Leader for the Province of Mid-North America.

Zoom call pros

Sister Madeleine and other Sisters in the Province of Mid-North America have become seasoned pros when it comes to making Zoom calls. They have been using the online conference call platform to communicate since March, when sheltering in place became the norm with COVID-19. All Sister Zoom calls are by invitation and are optional. Sister Madeleine said, “We identify a topic before the call and sometimes have 25 or 30 Sisters on Zoom. I get a big kick out of them.”

Before Coronavirus brought us all to a halt, Sr. Madeleine said she would travel to personally visit Sisters in their houses as a way to stay connected and spend relaxed time together. Now she connects virtually with them on Zoom calls through computers and large screen TVs. The Sisters can click on speaker view and see faces enlarged on their screens.

zoom calls
Sister Madeleine Munday took this photograph of Saint Mary Euphrasia’s clock at the Motherhouse in Angers, France, in 2012. The clock juxtaposed with the snail symbolized for her the need to slow down. She admits that it took a pandemic for her to fully grasp what the concept of slowing down really means.

“Of course there’s always a challenge with technology. But making Zoom calls has allowed us all to stay well connected during the pandemic and this time of isolation,” Sr. Madeleine said.

Finding stillness

The Sisters also make Zoom calls to stay connected and meet with Mission Partners who serve with them on teams, groups and committees. Sr. Jean Marie Fernandez, PMNA Leadership Team councillor, said, “Even with the pandemic, life continues. It goes on and takes different shapes and forms.

She said, “Finding stillness in the midst of frantic, anxious chaos is challenging. We are meeting the challenge and finding stillness by using Zoom. The Zoom calls allow us to feel and stay connected while also being relaxed together online.”

Companions connect and expand through Zoom calls

Zoom is keeping Companions of Jesus the Good Shepherd connected during COVID-19 quarantine weeks, according to Joan Clancy, Board member of the Companions.

“We have been checking on one another with Zoom calls and computer and sustaining mission in our usual ‘together alone’ fashion,” she said..

There are many online spiritual resources that some  Companions have pursued. For others, the presentations by Brother Phillip Pinto have proved most wonderfully insightful, according to Joan.

“During lockdown, I’ve “Zoomed” seminars by Cynthia Bourgeault (Thomas Keating on God’s Secret Embrace), Ilia Delio (The Sacrament of Everyday Life) and Prof. Michael Peppard of Fordham University (Women Erased From the Lectionary). Having stumbled upon Contemplative Outreach, I’m learning Centering Prayer with a meditation group in Ireland that I join daily with Zoom calls,” Joan said.

Companions have been discussing Formation and envisioning their place going forward with Mission in mind. Leaders are in frequent contact with the Companions.

“There is much for us to do individually to sustain the frightened, the elderly, the newly unemployed and all families,” Joan said.

zoom calls
Joan Clancy participates in a Zoom conference call in her living room with fellow Companions of Jesus the Good Shepherd who live across the United States and Philippine Islands.

Some Companions have assisted at their local food banks. Another is active in an “online market” arranging weekly transport of fruits and vegetables from local farmers to buying families.

Finding community dearer than ever

“Our prayer and ministries continue although we sometimes feel ourselves working without a net in this new COVID-reality, Ironically, in this isolation, we are finding  community dearer to our hearts than ever,” Joan said.

Read more stories like this in the Province newsletter Items of Interest.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com