Contributing writer Ottrisha Carter spoke with Sr Roberta O’Flaherty CHF and Sr Sarah Waterman O Carm on what they’re doing during the pandemic.
Sr Roberta O’Flaherty is a Holy Faith Sister and oversees Credo Centre for socially displaced boys, Sophia House for girls, and Credo Foundation Drop-In Centre. These homes/centres all fall under the Credo Foundation for Justice which is an outreach ministry of the Holy Faith Sisters.
The coronavirus pandemic has not really changed a lot in her life. Being present for her children is the most important aspect of the relationship that she shares with them.
However, she recognises the fact that the children seem to be more available for her to spend quality time with them since they have been placed in online school.
The pandemic has given her the opportunity to see and learn more about the children since during the day, pre-pandemic times, they would have been at school.
Sr Roberta hosts reflective sessions on an ongoing basis with the children, which have given her a better opportunity to form healthy relationships with them. During these sessions, she exposes the children to a more reflective view towards life with an emphasis on an attitude of gratitude. She teaches them: “God is in me and you. God is present to everyone.”
Although there are only a few children who are Catholic at these homes, they are given the opportunity to attend Masses in person out of the period of lockdown and virtually during lockdown. These children all have access to receiving their sacraments whenever they have reached the ages for First Communion or Confirmation.
Now that the children are on vacation from online school, Sr Roberta and her staff have put in place vacation camps for them to participate in virtually.
The children at these homes have access to exciting activities such as literacy, art, recreational and other creative games. They continue to have access to their counsellors through online counselling sessions during the pandemic. Sister and her staff are attempting to provide everything that the children need to continue their journeys.
Sr Roberta is proud of her staff members who have come out to work very diligently throughout the pandemic. They have been following all the necessary health protocols regarding wearing their masks, sanitising, and exercising social distancing.
Sister and her staff have been trying their best to provide hampers to families who come to them at the drop-in centre for assistance. It is sad and difficult, she said, to see how many people are struggling and how many families are suffering emotionally and financially.
Sr Roberta’s advice to anyone who has lost a relative due to the coronavirus or suicide: “Your loved ones are in the arms of God. After death, God’s arms are opened wide, they are never far from us, they are in our lives.”