Filipino Jesuits handmake alternative face shields

As scary as the COVID-19 pandemic is for everyone, it is especially scary for those who are most vulnerable, which includes the elderly community. With death rates for those above 70 years old reaching up to 20%, it’s inevitable for us to worry about our lolas and lolos

Despite that, the elderly themselves remind us that their age won’t stop them from helping the community out during these trying times. Such as 95-year-old Fr. Catalino G. Arévalo SJ, who is one amongst the handful of Jesuits from the Loyola School of Theology in Ateneo De Manila University making alternative face shields by hand to give out to frontliners of the pandemic.

Assembly line of Jesuits

men working on face shields on long tables
Image credit: Ateneo de Manila University

Just like most of us stuck at home, these Jesuits are quarantined in the Jesuit Residence in Ateneo de Manila University because of the citywide lockdown. Despite having to stay in, they found their own way to help without breaking their quarantine. 

They are making face shields by hand to address the lack of personal protective equipment being provided to our health workers.

red strips of tape with handwritten "You are our heroes"
Image credit: Carlo Lacang SJ

From young Jesuits to old, all of them have come together to assemble face shields made of foam, plastic, and garter to give out to frontliners. Fr. Arevalo even writes down short notes such as “You’re our heroes” on each shield, making each one personal.

Pagsensyahan na nila ang sulat (I hope they don’t mind my penmanship)”, Fr. Arevalo said. We think both his penmanship and message are beautiful, though!

Helping out in true Ignatian spirit

Ateneo's list of beneficiaries
Image credit: Ateneo de Manila University

With a lifestyle inspired by the Ignatian way of living for others, it’s no wonder why the Jesuits are doing their part. We can all take a page from their book. You can donate to charities from your local communities, or support the efforts of these Atenean Jesuits through the Ateneo website.

The proceeds help provide and distribute personal protective equipment, food, and hygiene items to 31 hospitals and 15 communities in need. As of 29th March, they were able to give out almost 2,000 grocery bags, 676 sacks of rice, 35,300 nitrile gloves, 195 hazmat suits, and 630 of their handmade face shields.

Do your part to help your family

Even while you are unable to leave the house, you can help your family out by making improvised face shields with plastic folders or sheets, some tape, and either metal wire or a hairband. Or do your bit to contribute to the communities around you with local fundraising activities. 

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Cover image adapted from: Carlo Lacang SJ

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