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I Thirst – A Painting During COVID-19

By Sister Betty Lou Knox

Respecting no boundaries, the Coronavirus arrived in Canada! Upon returning to Toronto from California on March 13, I went into self-isolation at Invermara near Orillia.

Patches of snow still covered the ground and Lake Simcoe was frozen. I began to sketch some leafless trees by the lake.

On Day Two, I strolled by the birch trees near the statue of St. Joseph. Since then, I have been haunted by the image which is expressed in my painting. In the tree trunk, I saw a First Nations woman standing tall, with arms stretched skyward and her sad eyes cast down to the earth.

We lamented the suffering and rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the world and spoke of the interconnectedness of all creation. Here I was, happy to be in the presence of a First Nations Water Carrier.

As we talked about climate change and the urgency of protecting water, the words of Prime Minister Trudeau, medical and scientific experts echoed in my ears: “Wash your hands frequently, keep two meters apart, and stay at home.”

I thought of the lack of the basic human right to water experienced by so many people worldwide. And how is it that there are still areas in Canada where First Nations people lack clean water or live with boiled water alerts? It was good for us to share our concerns and hopes regarding water as well as questioning, “What is ‘the more’ we might be called to as a CSJ Blue Community?”

We wondered if this pandemic with its loss of life, job closures, safe distances, and creative new inventions might result in a change of attitude towards Climate Change which is linked to the health and sustainability of our planet.

I Thirst is my prayer for peace and unity as more countries dream and act together with our committed youth in discovering new ways to preserve and protect our Common Home.

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