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The Covid pandemic broke out violently in Vietnam, especially in Saigon city, which has the largest population in the country. During this Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been infected; a great number of people have lost their lives. The emotional, economical, physical and spiritual affects result from the disease are long lasting. Particularly, health professional are overwhelmed and exhausted by the increase in number of patients who need intensive care. In mid-July 2021, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Saigon Archdiocese invited religious congregations to serve the Covid patients in frontline hospitals.
Responding to the invitation of Archbishop Joseph, there are 350 priests, religious men and women have volunteered to serve in the frontline, to assist medical departments to serve patients. They serve for one to two months depending on their availability. They are divided into 4 times to serve in different frontline hospitals, most of them serve at ICUs, during the first time of mission, 9 religious were infected but have now recovered and continue to work normally. The volunteer religious all are very happy and enthusiastic with many different jobs, especially taking care of patients directly and support them emotionally and spiritually.
The Archbishop has organized for those who have severed for the first time of mission that completed their time of service in hospitals to be quarantined for 14 days in an isolation center where they have a good environment to restore their energy, to regain their psychological and spiritual well-being. They also have Covid tests before returning to their respective communities. However, a number of religious men and women registered to serve for one month now expressed their wish to continue volunteering because the needs are many. After receiving their superiors’ approvals, they continue performing their charity works in hospitals for another month.
There have been 24 Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions participating in this initiative. They set out different times. The first group of eight sisters went on 22 July and serve at the No. 10 Hospital; another eight sisters set out on 11 August to serve at the No. 16 Hospital; and the third round of six sisters embarked this journey on 20 August. Up to now, all sisters, although have been working intensively; remain healthy, energetic and enthusiastic in the mission.
The Xuan Loc Diocese also has a volunteer program, supporting the health department to serve patients. Volunteers are asked to serve for 2 weeks. So far, the Xuan Loc Diocese has had three times of religious in the Diocese set out to serve patients in hospitals and concentrated isolation areas. We have two young sisters who have volunteered to serve in the 3rd time along with 111 other religious in the Diocese. Their service and presence are highly valued and appreciated. Their time of service is coming to completion but there was a request for them to continue for another two weeks.
Every happening in life can be an opportunity for us to turn to God, to trust and to surrender ourselves into God’s love and mercy. Please join us in praying for our Sisters and other volunteers.
Sr. Tuyet Mai- Rndm
Some pictures of the RNDM Sisters from the hospitals