By Sister Francisca Margate, RN

“We must strive to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

These words of our Mother Foundress, Catherine McAuley, are chirping in my heart in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as I am one of the frontliners in Mercy Community Hospital. Her words gave me strength while experiencing enhanced community quarantine and lockdown.

Holy Hour at Mercy Community Hospital Chapel (Philippines) is a time of respite from hospital work for Sister Elizabeth Ballero, left, and Sister Francisca Margate.

Sisters Aura Rudelsol Matalines, Elizabeth Ballero and I went to the hospital every day and spent most of our time there. At the start, there was a feeling of panic—fear that one or all of us would be afflicted with the virus and even fear of death. Our co-workers were scared to continue working. The doctors stopped their outpatient consultations. Everyone was afraid and giving up. In spite all of these uncertainties, we did our very best to be their inspiration, to put on happy faces and be a hope to them.

Sister Francisca Margate finds consolation in the sewing of face masks for use by her colleagues in the hospital where she works.

I experienced deeply how to be poor and fearful of the unknown and of the very potent virus, which stopped everyone’s movement and plans. Through all of this, I held on to God very closely, as we continued to pray unceasingly, holy hour and rosary to Blessed Mother of Mercy in the hospital with our co-workers. In the midst of this, God graced us with creativity and initiative as our way of survival. We made face masks and face shields. Kindhearted individuals, families and institutions gave their support and provided us with PPE (personal protective equipment) and food.

My deep realization with this pandemic was that no one is exempted, all are equal. It does not matter your ethnicity, race or color, poor or rich, young or old, leader or subordinate.

COVID-19 makes all people equal. This virus taught me to slow down, appreciate what we have and how quickly it can be gone. My faith was tested by fire. How strong I am in my conviction that the One I believe and trust is Jesus, who was crucified and died for me and for everyone. Our greatest hope is the resurrected Jesus the Christ.