Eye On KELOLAND: Divine distancing


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Social distancing has been one of the most challenging adjustments for people in this age of pandemic. But for one small group of women in Sioux Falls, social distancing isn’t an intrusion into their lives — it is their life. Self-isolation is a religious calling for the Perpetual Adoration Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who live separated from the outside world in their monastery near St. Joseph Cathedral.

COVID-19 has taken a spiritual toll on the faithful of Sioux Falls. The Perpetual Adoration Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament have had to close their chapel to the public.

“The chapel is empty, this is sad, also yes,” Sister Maria said.

The Adoration Sisters still pray continually in shifts inside the chapel. They’ve received many more prayer requests from the community during the pandemic.

“We are praying for strength in our faith, to be strong in all this challenging time, we are praying for those who are suffering, we are praying for those who have the responsibility for helping the other people,” Sister Rosalba said.

Last summer, Eye On KELOLAND gave you this rare look at the daily life of the sisters inside their Sioux Falls monastery. They still cook their own meals inside the kitchen, only now, they wear face masks while preparing the food. They still sew garments for Catholic clergy, but now they also sew masks for people who need the protection.

“Our life doesn’t change because our routine continues every day. We wake up at the same time, we pray, we work, everything is inside,” Sister Maria said.

The sisters were social distancing long before it became the first line of defense against COVID-19. They answered a spiritual calling of closing themselves off from the outside world so they can be open to the needs of others.

“For us, this is our life in isolation most of the time here in the monastery,” Sister Maria said.

People in the community are dropping off donations of fresh produce so the sisters don’t have to leave their monastery to go grocery shopping.

“Many people call about what we need: groceries, vegetables, fresh fruits. They want to help us to stay home,” Sister Maria said.

The sisters also keep six feet apart from one another, a task that’s much easier since only nine of them are now living inside the spacious monastery. But always, their thoughts are with the people who struggle with the medical and financial challenges of the pandemic.

“Each human being is in our heart so we are suffering with all the people who are suffering now,” Sister Rosalba said.

The sisters, experienced at spiritual social distancing, say families should strive to grow closer together during their time of self-isolation.

“The parents to know more about the children. The children to know more about their parents because before the parents need to go to work, the children to school. This is an opportunity to share with them, their lives,” Sister Maria said.

The pandemic can be a test of faith for people of all religious beliefs. But the sisters say prayer can be a powerful antidote to the anxiety and anguish created by COVID-19.

“My advice to the whole is ask God for his help. We are in his hands. And also, ask for increase in our faith, because it is something we really need,” Sister Rosalba said.

Two of the Adoration sisters were visiting Mexico when the pandemic hit the U.S. and they haven’t been able to return yet to Sioux Falls.

If you have a prayer request you’d like to email to the sisters, click here

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