APRIL 2020 / VOLUME 24 ISSUE 1
From the Director's Desk...
Dear Friends,

As I write this note to you, our society has expanded its efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus including tactics like social distancing, self-quarantine, and orders to stay at home. This is a moment of challenge for many of us because we are limited in our interactions with others. We struggle because we cannot be present to those in nursing homes, or the elderly, the sick, or those with compromised immune systems. In the middle of all of this, in the last weekend of March, we hear the Gospel story of Lazarus.  

This Gospel story reintroduces us to Martha, Lazarus’ sister. One of the themes that is evident in both Gospel stories involving Martha is the idea of presence. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus chastises Martha for being overburdened with work and for not “choosing the better part” of being present. In the Gospel of John, it is now Martha’s turn to chastise Jesus for the same reason. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Each time I hear the story, I am struck by this powerful phrase, spoken by Martha to Jesus before the raising of Lazarus. This phrase reveals Martha’s courage and conviction; she had no doubt that Jesus’ presence would have made a difference. How often in life might we find ourselves saying the same thing to God when misfortune or tragedy strikes? How often during this period of staying at home have we come to recognize those whose presence is missed, and those in our own lives who have made a difference? During these times, we can draw inspiration from Martha, who remained faithful and trusting, even when all seemed lost.

Author Marie Howe in her poem “Three Days” recounts the experience of waiting in a hospital’s intensive care unit for an update on her brother John, who was dying of AIDS-related complications in the late 1980s. The poem describes the uncertainty surrounding whether her brother was going to live or die. Her brother survived this particular hospital stay, and her poem concludes with this allusion to the Lazarus story: “I can’t help but think of that woman who said to him whom she considered her savior: If thou hadst been here my brother had not died, how she might have practiced her speech, and how she too might have stood trembling, unable to meet the eyes of the dear familiar figure that stumbled from the cave, when the compassionate fist of God opened and crushed her with gratitude and shame.”

Currently, our ministry has been working to develop innovative ways to continue to be present to those we serve, taking into account the health and safety of our staff members, volunteers, and those served by our ministry. This situation, although challenging, has also served as a reminder of the importance of maintaining presence, even if that presence is altered or adjusted. To our supporters and benefactors, we thank you for the many ways you have been present to our ministry over the years. We are grateful for the variety of ways in which you have been present, whether you have volunteered, donated, or prayed for us. Your presence with our ministry makes a difference and you have, without a doubt, “chosen the better part.” Our ministry will pray for your continued health and safety.

With Gratitude,
Virtual learning for our children
Casa Madre
There isn’t a challenge too daunting for our ministry! Even with the orders to remain at home, our Casa Madre staff, assisted by some wonderful “techsperts,” have been conducting tutoring sessions with the children using video conferencing apps. They have begun conducting these sessions to assist the children with their school work and to provide comfort during these stressful times. Our counselor Barb has also been available to check in with the children and offer additional support. Virtual tutoring can take some getting used to, but we have been fortunate to have dedicated staff and devoted parents who are committed to making it work.
The Comprehensive Care Center has reached ANOTHER milestone...
Comprehensive Care Center
If you recall from our last edition of the newsletter, we were excited to share the news that, for the first time, our clinic exceeded 90% for viral load suppression. This is the ultimate goal of HIV health care. We are even more excited to share that our viral load suppression rate has continued to improve! As of March 1st, our viral load suppression rate is at 92%! This has been made possible because of not only the hard work of the dedicated clinic staff, but also the additional supports that are provided by our ministry to ensure that people’s needs are being met. We thank all of our supporters for helping to make our work possible, and for assisting those in our community lead longer and healthier lives!
Get ready to run for a nun...
The Nun Run
It’s never too early to begin training for this year’s Nun Run! This year’s event will take place at the Ursuline Center on Saturday, October 3rd. There will be a Kids’ Run at 8:15 am, a 1 Mile Walk at 8:30 am, and a 5k Race at 9 am. Back by popular demand this year will be the opportunity for 5k participants to “Run for a Nun” and to run on behalf of an Ursuline Sister. Prizes are awarded to the top three overall male & female finishers, age group winners, as well as a prize for the largest team. Registration is $25 in advance, or $30 the day of the event. Online registration is available, just click the register now button below, or you can contact Dan at 330-793-0434 to have a paper registration form sent to you. Don’t miss this fun event!
Feeding people in need during a crisis... 
Cafe & Pantries  
Our ministry has continued to provide necessities to the individuals in our ministry. In addition to having a “drive thru” Café this past month where we distributed groceries and personal hygiene products (we never guessed how much rejoicing there would be over toilet paper!), our staff has been sending cards and making phone calls to check in with those in our ministry. We are planning a virtual Bingo game using video conferencing to see who is the Bingo King or Queen. All of these are ways that we continue to provide services to those most in need during these challenging times.
New date to CELEBRATE !
Wine Taste
Are you experiencing some cabin fever? Consider joining us for the 15th Annual Beer & Wine Tasting fundraiser! Our event, which is usually held in March, was moved to August 21, 2020 , from 6-9 pm at Stambaugh Auditorium. The Youngstown Area Grocers and the Ohio Grocers Association always provide delicious food and drinks. We also have some wonderful prizes for our basket raffle and Silent Auction. The proceeds from this event benefit Casa Madre.

To purchase tickets, just click on the link below, or contact Dan at 330-793-0434.
Please consider a tax deductible donation. Every dollar helps to
feed, clothe, and shelter our
families and children.
We are also always in need
of the following items:
soap, body wash, toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, gift cards to food delivery services, gift cards to grocery stores & restaurants

Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry
4280 Shields Road
Canfield, OH 44406
PH: 330-793-0434
info@ursulinesistersaids.org
www.ursulinesistersaids.org
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