How Sisters of Calvary in Botswana are Coping amid COVID-19 Lockdown

Logo Sister of Calvary.

With Botswana under a five-week COVID-19 lockdown, various activities in the landlocked Southern Africa nation have been affected, including those of the Sisters of Calvary, Bishops in the region have shared in a publication shared with ACI Africa, providing a highlight of how the members of the indigenous Religious Order are coping.

“Despite the situation, the sisters use the moment to intensify prayer (Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), community life and have more time for silence and solitude,” the members of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) have written.

In their Monday, May 18 statement shared with ACI Africa, the Bishops indicate that the Gaborone-based nuns were forced to cancel all the planned programs during the month of April and May including their annual retreats and meetings.

The lockdown also forced the members of the 57-year-old Congregation to suspend their ministry to the prisons and to close down schools in order to adhere to the directives put in place by the government in a bid to curb the possible spread of COVID-19, the two-page report indicates.

Despite COVID-19-related restrictions, the nuns in the two-diocese nation are contributing positively to society in dealing with the cultural change and challenges posed by the disease through responses “diversified according to the giftedness and apostolic mandate of the sister.”


“The sisters in their local communities ensure that the vulnerable are offered the basic needs,” the members of IMBISA note and added, “Sisters who work as social workers are involved in the distribution of food baskets to the community.”

In a bid to help the Botswana society adhere to health regulations, the sisters are “busy and tirelessly” making masks.

For their mental well-being, psychosocial therapy is offered through the media to ensure mental stability and motivation despite the social restrictions they have to respect and adhere to for their safety and protection, the Bishops have noted in the collective statement.

The nuns also engage in taking care of the environment, an activity the IMBISA report says depicts how God is appreciated in nature.

“Compassion for creation and hands on activity creates peacefulness and eliminates worry and anxiety posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” they report.

More in Africa

Based in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, IMBISA is made up of Bishops in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland (Eswatini), and Zimbabwe.

“Amidst the crisis, most parishes have adjusted to the cultural change. The people of God have now come to understand the concept of the Family as the Domestic Church, the initial place where the young, baptized Christians learn their faith,” the leadership of IMBISA writes.

The members add, “God is honored, prayer is a normal event, and virtue is transmitted during this time of trial. They have slowly come to understand the possibility of spiritual communion when circumstances don’t permit the communal celebration of the liturgy.”

The Sisters of Calvary Congregation was founded in 1963 by Bishop Urban Murphy, a Passionist Missionary from Ireland. He was the first Local Ordinary of Gaborone. Members of the congregation are expected to fulfill the inspiration of their founder through the apostolates of education, health care, pastoral ministries and social welfare.