The Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great might be handling the COVID-19 quarantine better than most–they are monastics after all. Yet even their timeless regime of prayer and ministry was altered by the pandemic. Most of the Motherhouse at Fox Chase is much quieter than usual save for one room full of activity. There the Sisters engage in what has quickly become an essential craft: producing masks for healthcare workers. Sr. Teodora sits at a sewing machine where she turns rolls of fabric and lace into today’s hottest commodity. Beautiful abstract and floral prints take shape and in turn are neatly ironed and stacked by Sr. Olha. Now they are ready to ship, but rather than Amazon Prime customers these masks will be received by nearby Holy Redeemer Hospital. The project was a spontaneous initiative conceived during Holy Week but involves two much older elements of the Sisters’ identity. First, for the task of making masks, the Sisters draw from the rich tradition of sewing and embroidery handed down for generations in Ukraine and later throughout the diaspora. Second, their involvement in healthcare dates back to Basil of Caesarea himself, whose monastic foundation in fourth-century Asia Minor helped address the medical needs of the poor. Thus, it is fitting that today the Sisters of Saint Basil have combined the penchant for textile handiwork of Ukrainian culture with their Order’s dedication to the sick. The mission of the Sisters of Saint Basil is to bring about the praying, healing, and life-giving presence of Christ. Once social distancing made this difficult to do in person, they found another way, one responding directly to the needs of our time.
Manor College Offers Manny’s To-Go Service for Food Pantry Pick Up To Students In Need The Manor College community has been playing its part to assist in providing help during the COVID-19 pandemic. The College’s campus is physically closed, but the spirit and devotion to the community is still very much present. The Bird Feed, an on-campus food pantry that is utilized by students who face food insecurity, is still collecting donations and packing up food bags for students and families in need. While Manor’s buildings are physically closed, the Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, Allison Mootz, realized there was something that needed to be done to help those in the Manor community battling food insecurities. Manny’s-To-Go Service was quickly created, where students can safely pick up a bag of food on campus without risking being physically close together. Members of Security, who are considered essential personnel and are still on campus, are gathering the food for the students, making up the food bags from the Bird Feed and leaving it in the gazebo on campus for students to pick up, creating a no-contact delivery. “The Bird Feed has helped a number of students and their families during this time. Students in need of food may contact the Bird Feed and request a bag. Public Safety Officer, Fran Stevenson, has generously offered to pack the bags and leave them at the designated pick up point. Additionally, we are offered Easter Dinner Baskets to students who requested one. These bags included items for an Easter Dinner plus an Acme gift card,” says Dean Mootz. During these turbulent times, it has been amazing to see the Manor College community come together and provide resources to keep the Bird Feed stocked and running. An Amazon Wish List has been created so that members who want to show their support can and during this time of campus being online, the Bird Feed has received over $10,000 in donations from our generous community of donors. The Dental Health Center and the Dental Hygiene Program recently donated masks, gloves and other supplies to Chestnut Hill Hospital and Einstein Medical Center, in response to the serious shortage that many hospitals and medical facilities are facing. In addition, the Manor College community is currently working to create homemade masks for Holy Redeemer Hospital. Ginny Saunders, Dean of Allied Health and Director of the Dental Hygiene program added, “We are very fortunate to be in a position to lend a helping hand to our community medical personnel. These brave men and women risk their own health and lives every day while serving the needs of those who have been stricken with COVID-19. Please keep them and all victims of this pandemic in your prayers.” Manor College has always been an advocate of helping the community and will continue to do so in safe ways, during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about COVID-19 and Manor College, please visit manor.edu/coronavirusinformation.