Coronavirus has caused most of the Sisters of St. Francis at Neumann University to maintain a healthy social distance from the students there. Despite this hurdle, Sr. Marguerite O’Beirne, OSF, Neumann’s vice president for mission and ministry, and Sr. Linda DeCero, OSF, director of pastoral ministry, aren’t letting the virus interfere with their roles on campus.
Every day, the two sisters spend hours on the screened-in porch of the campus Ministry House, offering students on their way to class a creative version of PPE — prayer, presence and encouragement.
The Ministry House is perfectly positioned for both women to engage students from their self-described “perch on the porch.” The home is located between the residence halls and the athletic center and is directly across the street from academic buildings and the dining hall. The foot traffic is steady.
“It’s too dangerous for us at this stage in our lives to be mingling with the students,” Sr. Marguerite said, referring to the virus. “However, we can speak to them from the porch as they go back and forth to the gym.”
“The students look for us and it’s so nice,” she said. “We’ve met a lot of new freshmen and transfer students.”
The porch visits started in the beginning of the semester and, as long as the sisters are isolating themselves, they vow that the prayers and conversations will continue.
Even COVID-19 can’t keep the sisters from doing what they love the most – helping Neumann students and fulfilling their mission.