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Sister Editha Ben: the blessings of sheltering in place in the Philippines

Sister Editha with her mother in the Philippines during Easter

Providence works wonders.

Before I traveled to the Philippines at the end of February, I had always wanted to be able to stay longer with my 98-year-old mother (who is very well cared for by three full-time caregivers.) But because of other commitments, I could only stay for a 27-day visit. Now, because of COVID-19, flights have been canceled, airports are locked down and quarantine is imposed. And so, I have remained in the Philippines with my mother longer than planned.

At the beginning of this pandemic, I felt stress from the uncertainties and worried about the health of my mom. But I have observed all the necessary precautions and accepted the reality of sheltering in place. I surely miss my Sisters of Providence community, but social media has connected me with our sisters, my family in California and friends I had not heard from recently.

Sister Editha’s mother and her caretakers say the prayer of reunion with Sister Editha every day

These past days have been like an extended retreat — more time to reflect and pray, read and journal and listen to TED Talks.

Applying what I’ve learned

Most especially I enjoy being with my mother. And I am able to apply with her what I have learned at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods about how to care for the elderly. Our Sisters of Providence HOME team (Helping Ourselves Meaningfully Engage) has offered educational opportunities on how the brain changes, on exercising empathy and how to converse with those living with cognitive challenges, on music therapy and other ways to respond to their spiritual and physical needs.

It has been many years since my mother last played the harmonica, which she enjoyed in her younger years and used to entertain us, her children. Recently she was motivated to make some melodic sounds on the harmonica. And for the first time in many years, she joined me and the caregivers in singing two Ilocano (native language) songs. To my delight she could remember the songs.

What a special blessing to be with my Mom for 51 days and counting!

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Sister Editha Ben

Sister Editha Ben as a member of the new membership team, encouraging women to consider life as a Sister of Providence.

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9 Comments

  1. Jeanne Kenny on April 29, 2020 at 7:23 am

    Thanks Editha for your very personal sharing. God bless your lovely mom and her caregivers. Enjoy your bonus providential time with your mom. Stay safe.
    Love and prayers,
    Jeanne

  2. Dorothy Rasche, SP on April 29, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Editha
    WE miss you. I miss you! Stay well. Blessings. Dorothy R

  3. Maureen Abbott on April 29, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Love your photos! Thanks for the great update.

    • Denise on April 29, 2020 at 10:46 am

      What a gift for your mom and you, Editha. I love the harmonica and song story. Miss you!

    • Donna Butler on April 29, 2020 at 11:53 am

      Editha, thank you for this lovely sharing and beautiful photos. Grateful you could have thi sd time with your mother. We miss you!
      Donna

  4. Susan Paweski, SP on April 29, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Edith, I am happy for you that you are safe with your family. You are missed and we unite with you every day in thought and prayer.

  5. Marsha speth on April 29, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Thank you for sharing the lovely gifts you and your mother are appreciating during this time! Isn’t Providence amazing!

  6. Nell Trainor on April 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Such beautiful words and images, S. Editha! Thank you for sharing , and do keep enjoying these precious days with your Mom and loved ones.

  7. Jane Fischer on April 29, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    You shared your mother with us! How gracious and wonderful that is.
    Please give your mother a hug from all of us.
    Bless you and yours.

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