By Blake Sitter, Director, Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS)
(Reprinted from the June 2020 edition of the CHAS Communique)
On Ash Wednesday, millions of Catholics entered into the season of Lent; 40 days that prepare them for the Easter Season. At the liturgy of the day, individuals are reminded that they are dust “and unto dust you shall return”.
Little did they know that with their 40 days of Lent, reminiscent of both of Moses’ 40 years in the wilderness and Jesus’40 days in the desert, that we all would be entering into another kind of Lent — the COVID-19 quarantine.
Quarantine comes from the Italian word that means “40 days”. Quarantines have existed for millennia to isolate people to keep from passing on diseases to each other. This current quarantine is the largest in human history.
This pandemic has highlighted the heroics of many people. Healthcare workers obviously have been on the frontline. The act of getting out of bed to put on scrubs has become the contemporary version of Clark Kent stepping into a phone booth to take off his glasses and pull open his dress shirt to reveal that he is Superman.
Other everyday heroes have been revealed by this storm. The wind has blown off the dust of mundanity and revealed the faces of personal care aids, postal workers, grocery store clerks, pharmacists, delivery drivers and so many others. By simply staying the course in the face of infection, they are showing us what courage looks like.
For many of us, seeing our family members having to enter long-term care or even the hospital for a few days can lead to much consternation. We want to offer our loved ones care but in most situations it is nearly impossible.
Many people have their minds put at ease when they meet some of the caring and professional staff of these institutions of care. I traveled around the province last summer to visit all of the members of CHAS, including five hospitals in
Esterhazy, Estevan, Gravelbourg, Melville and Saskatoon as well as long term care homes and health centres in Macklin, Moose Jaw, Ponteix, Radville, Regina, Prince Albert, North Battleford and Saskatoon.
After those visits, I realized that “hero” is not a big enough word. Heroes are important but they appear in a flash; they jump out sometimes only for a moment.
The people who are getting up everyday to go out and serve in the Catholic healthcare system don’t just pop in for a brief, glorious moment. They are dedicated and disciplined. They are disciples—and their discipline is to come in everyday to care to our family members.
Thank you to all of you for your dedication especially in this stressful time. We are grateful for your dedication and service.
If you are interested in learning about the work of CHAS or would like to become a member, please contact Blake Sittler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (306) 270-5452.