Praise the Lord! We have been in Jacmel, Haiti since 2012 and so many good things have happened that we wanted to share a few stories with you! Join us on our journey and please keep us in your prayers as we keep you in our prayers.
For everyone around the world, 2020 has been to challenge. People around the world are in need of HOPE and looking for something to BELIEVE in. Thus, even more so this year, we wanted to light up the world.
We have a tradition here at the Felician Haiti mission–at the beginning of Advent, we put up our Advent calendar tree; and the teens help us prepare the way for Jesus’ birth by setting up decorations. Everyone here knows that “JESUS is the Reason for the Season.” And so, on Friday afternoon, December 4, the 2020 tradition began.
Faith is the gift of God by which we recognize Jesus for who He really is and call to Him. Thus, the blind men beg in faith: “Son of David, have pity on us!” When we do the same, Jesus invites us to approach, for in Him the lowly find joy, the poor rejoice, the arrogant go away, the deaf hear, and “out of the gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” We cry out in reverent, endless awe, certain that He will hear and answer our prayer. This is the message we heard on Friday, December 4, when Bishop Toussaint, Bishop of the Diocese of Jacmel, celebrated Mass for the Mother Angela Clinic team. Afterwards, there was shared conversation during brunch. It was like a retreat day for us all.
On Monday, November 23, Sr. Izzy had her first sewing class, marking the beginning of the Felician Sewing School. She had been preparing for this moment since last March. It was decided that she would begin with a small group of young adults that she knows and who already work with us in the Felician Mission. This is a sort of trial run to see what works; what is needed; and what is necessary. For now, Sr. Inga is helping to translate from Polish to Creole. Sr. Izzy is speaking more and more in Creole and continues to take classes twice a week.
On Tuesday, November 24, we welcomed back our children who had been baptized on October 9. These are the same children who are preparing for their first confession. At the end of class, we showed them the video of their Baptism, which had been created by Sr. Izzy.
On Saturday, November 21, Felician Sisters and Associates throughout the world celebrate the 165th anniversary of the founding of the Felician Sisters. Thank you all for accompanying us in making God known, loved and glorified throughout the world.
Mother Angela wrote in her Memoirs: “Whether devoting their time to prayer in the convent chapel, as Mary did in the temple, whether among the peasants, teaching their children and the nursing the sick…all these experiences should fill the sisters with great confidence…Jesus wanted to teach the sisters that, just as the Most Blessed Virgin dedicated herself without reserve to His service and totally resigned herself to His Holy Will, so too, they, by dedicating themselves to His Holy service, should be ready for everything.”
This morning we were blessed to offer our sacred space to the Cathedral choir for their day of recollection conducted by Father Emmanuel.
Today we would like to introduce to you Davi (short for Davinsky), who lives in the same household as Kasi. You may be thinking this sounds like a Polish name. Well, it is; there was a time when some Poles left the French army to help fight with Haitians for their freedom. People call Davinsky and Kasi brother and sister; but, in reality, they are cousins.
When we first met Davi, we heard people calling him Tata. This is the name those who gave him life called him. Tata is not a very nice word here in Haiti. It means “poop.” It certainly does not speak well of those who gave him life. Davi’s mother died soon after he was born.
Davi does not do well in school. He has difficulties with reading, writing, math, critical thinking skills. His only life experience is life on the streets. But Davinsky loves to come to the Felician Mission and participate in all our activities. He knows that he must behave in a certain way to be a part of our community, and he tries his best to do so. The day of his Baptism and First Holy Communion, by the smile on his face and the look in his eyes, it seemed to us it was first time he really felt like he belonged to something greater than himself, to God’s family.
Davi is 8 years old and is about 4 feet tall. Nobody ever knows where he is. He hangs around on the streets and is a very fast runner. When he plays sports with the boys, he plays with all his might. He never lets his height get in the way of what he can do. We are wondering if he will grow any taller than he is now.
In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: “The celebration of World Mission Day is also an occasion for reaffirming how prayer, reflection and the material help of your offerings are so many opportunities to participate actively in the mission of Jesus in his Church.” We thank you for accompanying us in the Felician Haiti Mission. We all say here mesi…thank you!
Saturday, October 10, feast of Blessed Mary Angela was a glorious celebration with our First Holy Communion children. God indeed was known, loved and glorified in every moment of the day as the scriptures were fulfilled in our hearing, as we were invited to come to the feast.
We would like to let you know some personal stories of our children who recently received the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
Kasi is 13 years old and was accepted into a house of a relative. Her mother, after giving her birth, disappeared; and her father, living in Jacmel, did not want to take care of her. She is being raised by her grandmother. Kasi may be known as a girl of the streets.
For over 5 years, she has been coming to us; but, in the beginning, it was not a strong affiliation. It has not been easy for Kasi to keep any commitment. There was no one at home to prepare her or tell her it is time to go anywhere, for example, to school. She is always late for the after-school homework time and other activities, especially when we started preparation for the sacraments. But the desire in her grew while she saw others receiving the sacraments.
Two years ago, we started to focus on her in a special way. She received new feminine-looking clothes, and her hair was washed and done by one of our teen girls; she felt pretty. Kasi found she has a beautiful singing voice, and she was prepared to sing a psalm for one of our celebrations. Kasi’s attitude at times is still not the best as she looks for ways to gain our attention. She is a born leader and many times draws other girls to follow her, not always in the best direction. For the third time, Kasi is going to be in the same grade–Grade 3.
Working with God, we still have a lot of work before us with Kasi. But we know God is not giving up, and we will try to be faithful, too. The days of her Baptism and First Holy Communion have been days of awakening and new life for her. She realized that she can dance and sing and that she is beautiful and loved, most of all by God.