Sister M. Nathaniel Eisel, OSF
July 21, 2020
Mother Adelaide’s Kindness
July 31, 2020
Sister M. Nathaniel Eisel, OSF
July 21, 2020
Mother Adelaide’s Kindness
July 31, 2020

By Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Among our precautions against the spread of Covid-19, in addition to distancing, hand washing, and hand sanitizing, is the use of wearing face masks in the presence of others.

I have two face masks.  One mask is from my sister-in-law shared in early April when she transformed her quilt-making studio into a face mask sewing operation.  The other face mask is from an orchestra friend who purchased masks in bulk and shared one with me.

I appreciate having both and I use both.  The commercially-made mask is all black but the mask from my sister-in-law is colorful material and reversible.  I don’t mind wearing these masks at all since it’s a sign of respect for others to wear a face mask.  I might not have the Covid-19 germs to spread, but how do I know for sure?  Symptoms don’t show up for two weeks after exposure.

Eyeglass wearers like me struggle with just one thing:  home-made and commercially-made face masks that don’t have a nose-hugging clip have the same problem:  eyeglasses fog up just by wearing the mask and breathing.  I say to myself, “Breathe only when necessary,” but those necessary breaths under a face mask make it impossible to see out of fogged-up glasses.

I was sitting in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel before mass recently, faithfully under a mask and enduring foggy glasses.  But then I made a discovery.  Wearing a face mask, when you exhale, your glasses fog up.  But when you inhale, the fogginess goes away, just like a car defroster.  Exhale and fog up.  Inhale and fog down.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Hmmm, how do I inhale more than I exhale?  Maybe the significance of inhaling is being filled with the spirit.  What is the passage…”He must increase, while I must decrease.”  (Jn. 3:30)

Several years ago one of the celebrity narrators for a patriotic concert presented by the Medical Musical Group based in Washington DC, a choir and orchestra in which I’ve played for 25 years, was the actor Michael York.  Because he was doing part of the concert narration and I was giving the audience welcome on behalf of the group, he and I had the opportunity to chat back stage.  Mostly he wanted to know how to pronounce my name in order to introduce me.  That gave me the opportunity to tell him that of all the actors I’ve ever seen portray John the Baptist, he was my very favorite from the JESUS OF NAZARETH movie.  You, Michael York, were the perfect John the Baptist in my mind.

Mr. York was very gracious, thanked me for the comment, and went on to say that portraying John the Baptist was the most difficult of any role he’s ever played.  “It’s all about that decreasing business.  Actors don’t like to decrease themselves but instead try to fill the stage with their presence.  In portraying John the Baptist, I struggled with decreasing enough so that Christ could increase and be the larger character.  I truly tried to do that.”

You did, Michael.  You definitely did.  You were very Franciscan whether you knew that or not.

And so under the face mask with foggy glasses if I can just inhale more than exhale, I’ll be able to see clearly.  I must decrease…

Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Franciscan in Administration

Sister Nancy Linenkugel is the current Congregational Minister for the Sylvania Franciscans.  She has served in healthcare administration, education and leadership for the congregation.  From 2011-2020 Sister Nancy served as the Chair of the Department of Health Services Administration and Director of the Graduate Program in Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, and was the first program alumna to serve in that position.  She was President of Chatfield College in Cincinnati, President and CEO of the Providence Health System and Providence Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio, and Vice President of St. John Medical Center in Steubenville, Ohio.  She is a life fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served on its national board.  Sister Nancy was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1999.  She is an accomplished cello player and a member of the Washington D.C.-based Medical Musical Group, made up of doctors, nurses and medical professionals from around the country, and also recently completed service as president of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra.  She is a Toledo, Ohio native and a liturgical musician.

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3 years ago

I have an additional problem. I have glasses and hearing aids. I just can’t risk loosing the hearing aids by using the masks that go behind the ears. I have tried other kinds, but then they slip down my nose. Any ideas?

Chuck Kundschier
3 years ago

Greetings from Minnesota! I pray during this Coronavirus Pandemic you’re staying safe as are your 120 Sisters within the Sylvania Community.
Your piano expertise during the opening segments of the Messages is inspirational — very relaxing! Thank You!
Have a good week — stay safe!

3 years ago

Inhale! Exhale! Doing that with asthma while wearing a face covering is even more daunting! Thanks for inviting me to enjoy the struggle!

Judy Miske
3 years ago

I appreciated your blog so much. As I get older…I mean celebrating birthdays…I pray for acceptance of gradual “diminishment”…less is better; it simplifies daily life.

Brigid O'Shea Merriman, OSF
3 years ago

Thank you for your reflection, dear Nancy. Much appreciated!

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