If anyone was afraid of getting COVID, it was me. I actually thought that if I got it, I would not survive. Usually, I am a fairly obedient person. By that I mean I agree with the big policies of my community, and I am grateful to be able to vote.

So, when the community decided to “lock down” so to speak, I agreed. Usually, I need to go somewhere every week or so. At least I like to think I have the freedom to run errands (whatever that means) at my discretion. I like to make plans with friends for entertainment every now and then. Or, it could even seem like an emergency that I might feel too confined and need to get away, for my own personal health.

However, there was so much mystery surrounding COVID—that “V” word, you know, that I could not get past the predictions of its extremes. Normally, I am a rather healthy person and at times even lack full compassion for someone who is always sick. It’s as if I cannot quite imagine always trying to cope with “bad.”

I get “really bad headaches” because sometimes my head wants to be a ground-to-rocket machine gun and keep firing off explosions. But I don’t have an imagination for kidney disease because I rarely need to pee in the day time.

So, when I observed that my community had just finished its third round of COVID boosters, and everyone had also gotten flu shots, that noticeably a few sisters were coming down with COVID, I began to question the efficacy of our actions. Well, not that so much as this question: Why is this happening now when we are still in rather close settings keeping our parameters quite tightly guarded?

What happened to the sister I expected to see at lunch? Oh, she tested positive this morning? What about so and so? She, too, tested positive just last night?

How am I feeling? I sat by her and her and her. So, am I testing positive now?

This feels like my reality? How did that happen?

Mary Jane Berger, OSB

Photo: Masks pinned to a bulletin board, taken by Sister Nancy Bauer

Because we are experiencing sporadic cases of COVID-19 in the monastery, we encourage all guests to wear masks when visiting. Thank you!