Click here for reflections of 6 sisters from different religious congregations -
(Extract from Global Sisters Report article)
Monica D'silva is a sister of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd from the Province of South West India. She completed her degree in nursing from St. Martha's College of Nursing, affiliated with the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, in Bangalore, and also obtained a diploma in theology from Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, the Pontifical Athenaeum in Pune. She has been working in St. Martha's Hospital for about two years; currently, she is working in the COVID-19 ward of that hospital.
As a nurse working at St Martha's Hospital in Bangalore amid the pandemic in India, I am witnessing the cry and misery of our people every minute, every day, but hoping for a better tomorrow.
I love my profession and derive daily strength from my Lord, who called me to this healing ministry. I never expected a pandemic would challenge me personally as a young religious.
In March 2020, we began to see the COVID-19 cases in our hospital. Working in the COVID-19 ICU, I encountered the agony of my brothers and sisters on their deathbeds. Being a front-line warrior gives me mixed emotions: excitement at seeing critical patients recover, and grief over the deaths that take place before my eyes.
The health care team has worked around the clock to save every precious life. Six hours of regular duties and 12 long hours of night shift with high-level personal protective equipment left us drenched with sweat. Some of my colleagues were not able to see their beloved family members for months; even I stayed away from the community in consideration of the elderly sisters' well-being.
In October, I contracted COVID-19, enduring the trauma of the symptoms but never losing hope. I remained positive, casting all my fears and worries to my Shepherd God, and began living every day with an experience of healing and caring.
After 14 days of home quarantine and treatment, I sprang back again as a front-line warrior. I realized that the experience of being a COVID-19 patient myself gave me a better understanding of the suffering of thousands of other patients.
The second wave of COVID-19 began in full swing in March 2021. It is much worse than the first. Working at the emergency room's flu desk, I encountered people coming in tears to receive treatment — sometimes a number of them from the same household.
If no beds are available, we still receive the sick patients, stabilize them with primary care, including oxygen and medication, and release them, but the cry of the relatives not to send them out and begging us to lay them in any corner on the floor and treat them — that still echoes in my ear.
This pandemic made the rich richer, but the ordinary man became penniless. Every walk of life has been shaken and brought to an abrupt halt. The hospitals are filled with COVID-19 patients and have no more beds for new cases, and there is a dire shortage of oxygen all over the city and country. Thousands of the dead have left us with no place to even cremate or bury our dead.
Can you hear our cry?
My brothers and sisters, let us be united in one spirit, supporting each other as we go through these difficult moments. Even now, as broken as you may feel, you are still so strong. You hold yourself together and keep moving, even though you feel shattered. Don't stop. This is your healing. It doesn't have to be pretty or graceful.
You just have to keep going!
Good Shepherd Medical Response to COVID-19: Click here - https://www.goodshepherd-asiapacific.org.au/project/412
St Martha’s Hospital – Personal Journeys: Click here - https://www.goodshepherd-asiapacific.org.au/project/418
An Unforgettable Evening at St Martha’s Hospital: Click here - https://www.goodshepherd-asiapacific.org.au/project/425