FCJ sisters preparing food parcels for those in need during COVID in Yogyakarta

The FCJs in Yogyakarta: Life During Lockdown

The FCJ sisters in Yogyakarta have been busy in various ways during the time of the lockdown.  In certain respects it was ‘business as usual’ in some ways. Agnes, Dewi and Inez, being teachers and lecturers, found themselves busier than ever preparing and delivering online classes and then marking all the work they were generating. Mei, as a student, found herself suddenly with more assignments than ever to complete. Merici had more than enough of her studies as a postulant to complete. Meita was busy checking on families she supports as a field worker for the FCJ Project Fund. She has also been busy sewing facemasks and working with the community to distribute them.

Parcels ready for distribution during COVID in Yogyakarta
Parcels ready for distribution. Top image: Srs Meita and Agnes preparing food parcels to give to those in need.

It quickly became clear that all of those in the city and surrounding areas who were living on daily wages no longer had any regular source of income. In some cases they no longer had any money with which to buy food. On several occasions the FCJs have worked with local parishes and governments to send food parcels to families and individuals in need. Meita, in coordination with several of our Companions in Mission, has taken supplies out to the families of children and young people with cerebral palsy. She received a warm welcome. In recent weeks the sisters have distributed packages of basic foods to poor families in their villages.

Aware of the urgent need to help people in distant parts of Indonesia the FCJs have also channelled substantial funds to three groups: Caritas Indonesia, Jesuit Refugee Services and the Diocese of Jakarta. Working in partnership with others has given the sisters a wider outreach.

FCJ neighbours receiving food parcels during COVID in Yogyakarta
Neighbours of the FCJ community receiving food parcels

There has been time for community building too. Thanks to social media the sisters have ‘attended Mass’ in various parts of Indonesia and even beyond. They have been able to watch films and live streamed musicals. By happy coincidence, sister Afra, the Area Leader of the FCJs in Asia, has also been in lockdown in Yogyakarta. This has provided the opportunity for extra gatherings as well as for music lessons for those who were interested. The sisters have certainly made good use of their time in lockdown.