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Saint Mary‘s OCSE and alumnae invite community to write letters of encouragement to sisters

| Tuesday, April 21, 2020

After the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross announced seven confirmed coronavirus cases within the convent, the Saint Mary’s Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) and alumnae wanted to give students a way to show the sisters their support. In an email to the student body, the office invited students to “show some love to the Convent“ and create handmade cards or posters with words of encouragement for the sisters.

Kris Choinacky, assistant director of the OCSE, said this goal was central to the office‘s initiative of writing cards to the sisters.

When we heard that the Sisters of the Holy Cross have several confirmed cases of COVID-19, we wanted to find a way for students to be able to share their encouragement, she said.

Choinacky noted that Belles should use their imagination in writing their messages.

Students can be creative in their messaging to Sisters from homemade cards to electronic messages,” she said. “These cards will be compiled into a video that will be shared with the Sisters.

Several students and alumnae have already sent in cards. Choinacky said she hopes the OCSE can collect messages from as much of the Saint Mary’s community as possible.

In order to make the video, cards should be emailed to [email protected] by Thursday at midnight.

Saint Mary‘s alumnae Tori Veen and Siobhan Gilligan have also started a movement to send words of hope to the sisters.

Veen posted her original request for cards to members in the Saint Mary‘s Buying and Selling Facebook page Friday, reminding students that the sisters are going through a difficult time without any support from visitors.

There are no family or other visitors allowed inside the convent at this time in an effort to help stop the potential spread of the virus and mitigate damages the virus may cause,” she said on the page. “I imagine this situation is extremely stressful, and maybe even a little scary, for the sisters, novices, and the convent staff. We want the sisters to know that we are there for them during this time of uncertainty. Therefore, I am inviting you to take a few moments of your day to write a letter or note to one of the sisters at the Holy Cross convent.

Veen said she and Gilligan wanted to start the letter-writing project because of their bond with the sisters during their time at the College.

We heard about the virus hitting the convent, and we wanted to do something to help because we both have been impacted by the sisters during our time at Saint Mary‘s,” she said. “We started bouncing ideas off of one another, and she came up with the idea of the letters, which we loved instantly.

Students can fill out a Google Form before April 24 to let Veen and Gilligan know that they want to write a letter. They will be provided with the name of the sister they are assigned at that point.

Veen has asked that students send their letters to Gilligan by April 30.

We will then ship all the letters to the convent in one box, so they have the ability to let the box and the letters sit for 24 hours before passing them out to the sisters, she said.

Veen emphasized the importance of the sisters to the Saint Mary’s community and encouraged students to share messages of love with them.

The sisters have been and will always continue to be there for all past and present Saint Mary‘s students and it would be amazing to show the sisters that the love is not only received but also shared, she said.

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About Genevieve Coleman

Genevieve Coleman is a junior at Saint Mary's majoring in English literature and secondary education with minors in theatre and creative writing. She currently serves as Saint Mary's News Editor.

Contact Genevieve