THE JOY OF ST. FRANCIS ALL AROUND US

Five Sisters who went to Gypsum
The Strength of Humanity
March 23, 2020
Potato Soup for the Soul
April 3, 2020

By Sister Nancy Linenkugel, OSF

There’s no denying it:  this worldwide Covid-19 situation is serious.  We, like our local, regional, state, country, and global neighbors, are all affected in ways we may never have thought possible.  One microscopic germ is shutting down the world.

St. Francis of Assisi was a person of joy.  You’d have to be joyful if you willingly chose to be poor, to beg for meals, to gladly accept whatever you were given, and to wander around preaching the Gospel just by the way you lived, don’t you think?

How would St. Francis react to this Covid-19 situation?  I think he’d be happily out there helping others however he could while heeding the stay-at-home order as much as he and his friars had a place called home.  Francis would make sure that Clare and the San Damiano sisters had what they needed and were safe.  He would preach from empty streets to separated persons listening from building windows.  He would weep for the conditions in his beloved Italy visible today but resolve even more to do what he and his followers could do to stop the spread of Covid-19, even if that was a seemingly invisible action of praying.

Amid all that seriousness, St. Francis would find joy.  He knew that humor keeps a situation from boiling over into despair and gloom.  Fear and anxiety are real emotions, but so is funny.  Nobody’s immune from Covid-19.  As comic Erica Rhodes says, “We need humor as much as toilet paper.”

We’ve all read through THE READER’S DIGEST for decades and enjoyed the humor interwoven among the stories.  One column, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” comes to mind right now because laughter IS a great help we can use to get through tough situations.  Humor connects us to each other and takes the edge off the seriousness we all feel.  Humor will make it easier for us to get through this Covid-19 situation, too.

Here are a few St.-Francis-approved funnies I hope you’ll enjoy:

“This is your pilot speaking.  I’m working from home today.”

“We’ve got to start thinking about the world we’ll leave for Betty White when we’re all gone.”

“Prediction:  there will be a minor baby boom in nine months and then, in 2033, we shall witness the rise of THE QUARANTEENS.”

“Every disaster movie starts with the government ignoring a scientist.”

“My 30th birthday is today, but I just want everyone to know that I’ll be postponing it indefinitely due to Covid-19.  I’ll be turning 30 at a later date.  Thank you.”

“Quarantine Diary Day 1:  I’ve stocked up on enough non-perishable food and supplies to last me for months, maybe years, so that I can remain in isolation for as long as it takes to get through this pandemic.”

“Quarantine Diary Day 1, 45 minutes later:  I’m in a supermarket because I wanted a Snickers bar.”

“This is my Covid-19 stay-cation wardrobe:  robe, pajamas, slippers, old sweatpants.  Don’t be jealous.”

“I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerta Backyarda.  I’m getting tired of Los Living Room.”

(Store clerk passing by with a cartful of toilet paper)  “Do you need some?”

(Shopper)  “No thanks.”  (Do I look like I need some toilet paper right now?)

“Dear Extroverts:  You will survive this.

Dear Introverts:  Quit laughing.  They’re new to this social distancing.”

“The virus doesn’t move—people move it.  If we stop moving, the virus stops moving.  Then the virus dies.  It’s that simple.  Stop moving so that the only thing dying is the virus.”

“Our grandparents were once called to war.  We’re being called to stay home and sit on the couch.  We can do this.  American ends in I-can.”

“We’re not stuck at home.  We’re safe at home.

Here’s a final inspiring thought taken directly from St. Francis of Assisi’s playbook:

“When the dust settles, we will realize how very little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.  Empty streets, restaurants, stadiums, theaters, stores, etc. isn’t the end of the world.  It’s the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.”

Blessings, everyone, stay safe, and may there be something funny to enjoy.

Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Franciscan in the Marketplace

Sister Nancy Linenkugel has served in healthcare administration, education and leadership for the Sylvania Franciscans.  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 has served on the Sylvania Franciscan Leadership Team, 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.

4
Make a Comment

4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Mary A Szydlowski

Thanks Nancy, I had a good laugh. You know just how to lift one’s spirit. Hope you are staying well!

Sr. Brigid O'Shea Merriman

What a joy to read your post, dear Nancy. I will re-read it at least once a day. Your message is uplifting and funny–I am still grinning from ear to ear. Thanks so much! Sent with my loving thoughts and prayers, as always, Brigid

Sister Irie

Nancy, thanks for lifting the heart and putting a smile on our frowning faces. You are right, there is good in everything that happens. Covid-19 has brought families together, spending time off electronics and talking to one another. Families are coming up with all kinds of ways to put happiness into this trying time–helping others, checking on neighbors, family members, stepping up to the plate and showing compassion for others. they are rediscovering what it means to be a family. And, prayer has come awake among us all. Nancy, you always know how to spread joy with your humor. You… Read more »

Shannon

Great reflections and humor, Nancy. Well done. Stay home and stay safe.