Home | Contact Us
Benedictine Sisters
News Center
Harmony News
Spirit & Life Magazine
Please share media and advertising request with Kelley Baldwin, director of communications, at kelley@bspa.us or (660) 944-2221

Easter blessings during a pandemic

Easter blessings during a pandemic - (11-04-2020)

< back

PHOTO: Several members of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri, greet parishioners from a local parish who arranged a drive-by on Palm Sunday. It was a sweet gesture and a way for the Sisters to "touch base" with neighbors and friends who aren't able to attend services at the monastery due to social distancing requirements.

Sister Ruth Elaine Starman, OSB, assistant prioress general of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri, relies on her ever-present faith to keep her spirits up during a global pandemic that has altered Easter observances this year.

“Our spirits are pretty good over all, but we too have some of the same fears and anxieties that the general public has. We are blessed to have a chaplain come for Mass, but it breaks our hearts that our friends and neighbors cannot attend our services with us at this time,” she said. “We trust that God will see our world through this, and all of us come out on the other side more compassionate and knowing what really matters in life.”

The Benedictine Sisters announced a few weeks ago that their monastery would be closed to the public until late April. Social distancing requirements also meant no customary washing of the feet on Holy Thursday. The Sisters have also cancelled their Easter Vigil fire and blessing of the Paschal Candle, which normally take place in front of the monastery, as well as the candle-lit procession into the Adoration Chapel. Instead, their Saturday evening Mass will begin in a dark chapel with the presider lighting the Paschal Candle in the sanctuary. There will be no visit with their friends at nearby Conception Abbey where they usually gather for Vespers and a meal on Easter Monday.

The Benedictine Sisters have changed how they sit for prayer services and meals, putting more distance between each member - difficult for a group that thrives on the concept of community living. Most of their lay employees are working remotely from home or taking time off, so there are fewer people at the monastery.

“It’s been a very strange Holy Week, just like it’s been a strange previous three or four weeks,” Sister Ruth Elaine said. “Since we live in a monastery and don't go out for work anyway, in some ways we are used to staying put at home.”

However, there have been bright spots in the past few days. A local parish arranged a drive-by on Palm Sunday, with a caravan of cars driving past Conception Abbey and the Benedictine Sisters’ monastery. They honked their horns and waved in greeting as the Sisters rang celebratory bells and displayed signs with Easter messages.

“We also added an extra day of exposition/adoration to specifically pray for those who cannot attend church and for an end to the pandemic,” Sister Ruth Elaine said. 

As Sister Lynn Marie D’Souza, OSB added, “We walk together with Jesus in these familiar yet unprecedented days, but I think it will not be unlike the first Easter. We will know that Jesus is not in the tomb, know that He is risen but won’t really be able to rejoice or celebrate that fact fully. The Holy Spirit is coming, Pentecost joy will give us new courage, hope and graces beyond any we can imagine.”