I am praying for all of you in this time of darkness. We are not alone. God is at our side, loving us in these uncertain times.

Like many around the world, we are sheltering in place as I write to you from Long Beach, CA. In his extraordinary blessing, Pope Francis expressed, “We have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time…all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”

Today, I want to offer a few stories of hope.

When we were still allowed to go to go outside (which now has changed), sidewalk chalk literally stopped me in my tracks! Under the big rainbow was an outline of two footprints with invitations that read, “Stop Here” and “Appreciate Life” 🙂 Sometimes the most simple reminders are the ones we most need to hear. How can we, in the context of where we are, stop and appreciate life? How can we find ways to cultivate gratitude for and within our families? I later learned that a little girl and her mom created that inspirational art together. The chalk has now faded, which gives my heart even more joy that many passed by and perhaps were drawn into gratitude.

Seeking beauty can also nourish our spirits. As I sat in our patio last week, an angry hummingbird kept circling me, despite my insistence that I was not a flower. Then, I saw her fly to her nest to feed her two babies! It was truly a blessing for my community to witness their process of growth. My heart was overcome with joy the day one of the babies spread its wings and flew! It was amazing to see such a fragile, new creature learning how to fly. It reminded me of the Beatle’s “Blackbird” song- “blackbird singing in the dead of night…take these broken wings and learn to fly.” I reflect on how we, as a society, can arise. I must continue believing that we can learn to fly again as a people. Through the grace of God, I believe it is possible and, perhaps in a more just and inclusive way.

Yesterday, I discovered the nest was now empty. The other baby learned to fly too! I was thrilled, but also a bit sad- our babies grew up so fast! I’m certain parents understand this feeling in a more profound way. God, however, continues to surprise me; instead of us going to the nest to quietly observe our little friends, we now have two noisy, little hummingbirds that fly over to check us out!

This little family of hummingbirds is a simple reminder that in the midst of this difficult moment, there is new life. And for that, I can be grateful.

Finally, after three years of monthly payments, my student loans have been paid off in full by The Labouré Society!

Again, thank you for your generous support in helping me to respond to my missionary call to religious life. As well, my friend Nick Martell was able to finally overcome his student loan barrier and enter the seminary in the Diocese of San Bernardino on August 22, 2019! Like every aspirant who “graduates,” the Labouré Society will make monthly payments for three years, as a safe-guard to all who generously donated, before his loans are paid off in full.

I believe we can all be story-tellers of hope. When we share what gives us hope, we build the kingdom of God.
What story of hope can you share with someone this week?

Peace and many blessings,
Sister Laryn Kovalik, VDMF
Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity



The Verbum Dei Missionaries and I want to support you in this time. 

Below is more information about:

  1.  Daily prayer podcasts 
  2.  An online prayer group
  3.  Online Holy Week & Easter Retreat, April 3- April 12. 

What? This year’s preparation for Easter is like none before and we would like to journey with you as a community through Holy Week into the great celebration of Easter.


  • Starting on Friday April 3 in the afternoon, we will upload and send out two prayer reflections daily. The reflections will be available on our Facebook Page, SoundCloud, or via email if you sign up (see below).
  • We invite you each day to set aside a time of silence and prayer after listening / watching the prayer reflections.
  • You may want to journal or draw as a way to express your prayer experience.
  • There are different ways you can participate:
    • Listening or watching the reflections at your own pace and whenever you want to.
    • Participating in a group sharing 2-3 times during the week (sign up required).
    • Individual conversations with a missionary during the week (sign up required).
  • The reflections will be available in English and Spanish.

To sign up for the English Retreat, click here
Para confirmar tu participación en Español, haz click

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