Nuns overcome COVID-19 to hold virtual fun run with a purpose

Salesian Sisters see Saturday event as proof ‘we’re not done’

SAN ANTONIO – In less than a month last year, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco lost three of its sisters to COVID-19, and 17 of the 34 sisters at their convent also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“The sisters who were healthy really made efforts to help those who were sick,” said Sister Bernadette Mota, director of Mission Advancement for Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco.

The sisters who were taken by the disease will be “forever missed,” she said. “They prayed for young people, for families, for those most in need.”

Sister Monica Wheeler, a Salesian educator, said even if they hadn’t undergone the ordeal, “We’re always thinking about how can we reach out to the young people? What can we do to make their burden lighter? What can we do to bring something good to them?”

Wheeler said the pandemic, in a sense, was a blessing that helped broaden the Salesian Sisters’ outreach into the digital world.

Wheeler said the organization’s youth programs help bring young people “that moment of joy, that moment of connection to express the love of God” that could help them realize their true potential.

The Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco will have a virtual fun run on Saturday to benefit its youth ministry. A portion of the proceeds will also go toward the order’s national youth ministries.

“People can run, they can walk, they can skip, they can hop, they can roll -- whatever they’re going to do,” Sister Bernadette said.

She said they even plan to have an indoor “walker race” for its older nuns.

“We just really encourage people to donate, sponsor the sisters or also to sign up and participate,” Mota said.

Wheeler said Saturday’s virtual fun run also is a milestone after the year they’ve had to endure.

“We’re not done,” she said. “This mission is alive and well and active in all different circumstances.”

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Pictured is Sister Sara Garcia.

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