A view from her room at the Casa Maria Immacolata Convent in Rome. Sr. Ethel Puno arrived in Rome on Jan. 24th 2020 to begin a UISG Program for the Preparation of Formators a week before Italy reported its first case of cornovirus. The country was the first to issue a nationwide lockdown on March 9th.


Rome – Learning how to be a formator in Rome was to have offered an exciting opportunity to see and explore the Eternal City. But the pandemic turned this would-be adventure into a time of confinement for me in a small convent. There has been an upside, though. This has been a time to be more reflective and appreciative of the positive side effects of the pandemic. For one, it has brought families closer because people call and talk to one another more than before. It has also given the earth a big break from pollution caused by factories, cars, etc. A friend of mine sent me a video that has given me things to ponder. Here are some lines from that video that resonated with me these last many weeks.

“If this time has taught me anything, it is that it is more important now than ever before to see the world through your own eyes. Begin by looking at yourself. Look honestly and look gently. Look inward with compassion and kindness, and look outward with humility and appreciation . . . Seeing the beauty in the world around you is the first step of purifying and clearing the mind, and if this time has taught me anything it is that nature, unlike us, never apologizes for her beauty.” -Kevin McCormack

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