“Dear Provincial, I hope you have been able to make your way back home. You can imagine how concerned we are about the situation …”, begins Bro Muller. He then goes on to indicate several of the most well-known and basic hygienic actions for one’s personal protection and the containment of infections, before suggesting a number of specific preventive measures for the Salesian religious communities themselves.
“Our models are Don Bosco and his boys at the time of a cholera epidemic. More recently, we’ve had our brave confreres in Sierra Leone and Liberia at the time of Ebola.”
For this reason, the Economer General invites everyone to take special care of the people most exposed to the risk of contagion, such as “the elderly” or “people with chronic diseases such as diabetes”, without, however “presuming that children are safe.”
Calling for caution, without panic, Bro. Muller recalls the importance of “respect scrupulously the order or guidelines given by your civil authorities” and letting “students, parishioners and beneficiaries see that we respect them”, these guidelines, “educate and lead by example” and encourage the widespread adoption of good practices.
The Economer General also recalls the commitment to solidarity, proposing specific options for this time of pandemic: “Can we produce masks in our institutes and also supply them to the public, too? … Ensure that soap is freely and abundantly available to all who are with us … Do we have rooms or spaces where confreres or students can remain isolated if they show any symptoms? … Can we be ready to welcome the sick if the hospitals in your area collapse?”
Finally, Bro. Muller also calls for a moral to be drawn from all that this pandemic is causing in the world. After the importance of solidarity as an architrave of every human relationship, he underscores the importance of personal and environmental hygiene, a healthy diet, healthy lifestyles, as well as the possibilities for didactic innovation and evangelization through the means of social communication, and to a more authentic relationship with God, in the awareness of one’s means and limits.