Monthly Archives: September 2012
This weekend Yvon has a house guest, Monica Watkins, from New York.. She is a successful Ford model/artist/philanthropist. She nutures young, disadvantaged artists, allowing them to reach their potential and enhance the world around them by setting an example of giving hope and acheivement. Today Monica invited us to go with her to a group home for young girls in Delmas called Restavek Freedom. She spoke to the girls about her modeling career. Restavek Freedom is a Christian based orgnaization that works to end child slavery in Haiti. In Haiti everyone knows the word restavek, it is a modern type of child slavery. This organization helps young girls to get out of these abusive situations by creating a home, sending them to school, and building their self-esteem. They believe that love and education can uproot this cultural practice and create new futures.
We invite you to visit their website where the girls wrote to President Martelly to end Restavek in Haiti.
Makenson Nosthe, is a young Haitian adult man in whom Yvon recognizes a God given talent for painting. He spends his days in Yvon’s yard creating and painting one picture after another. He loves to paint and Yvon is having him show his paintings next month in an exposition during a fund raiser for Haiti in New York. Yvon is encouraging and empowering this young man who would never have a chance to share his gift publically.
Makenson has a sad story, His mother who was pregnant with him was not accepted by her family and had to run away and live on the streets. He learned about his father on the day of his funeral. Makenson lived in extreme poverty, at the age of 17 his mother kicked him out of the house. After the earthquake, Mackenson lost everything but as God would have it, he was led to Yvon who showed him kindness, trust and encouragement to use his talent. Yvon provided the means for Mackenson to paint. When someone is recognized, loved, and respected the door of the heart is opened and the gifts and talents begin to flow like a river. Below take a look at Mackenson’s art work. We have asked Mackenson to paint for us a picture of St. Felix of Cantalice. If you or someone you know would be interested in purchasing one of Mackenson’s paintings please let us know.See below some of his work.
“…they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News…” Luke 9:6
On September 24 Yvon needed to go back to the hospital to speak with the Administrator; we went along to keep learning our way around Port au Prince. Yoland, the household cook went with us and we dropped her off at the market. After our visit to the hospital we did some shopping with Yvon to one of the famous street market’s where they sell everything. There we picked up Yolande. This took most of the afternoon. Yolande is known for her cooking, everything is fresh and cooked from scratch. So this day she did not start cooking until 4:30 p.m. we did not eat until 8:30 p.m
Today September 25 begins our novena to St. Francis of Assisi. Following his example we decided to walk everyday through the streets and use our few Creole words when necessary! : )
We are continuing and taking serious our “inculturation” in Haiti. In the afternoon Yvon wanted to take us to Mirebalais. This is north of Port au Prince and it takes about two hours to get there. On the way Yvon showed us a housing project that is underway to accommodate those who were affected by the earthquake and lived in tents since 2010.
It is another beautiful ride up and through the mountains. In Mirebalais they have a sanctuary at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Tradition has it that Mary appeared on a large leaf of a palm tree and left her image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The people have great devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and on July 16 they have an annual feast that hundreds of people come.
This year, President Michel Martelly, who is from this area, participated in the celebration and feast. We met the Pastor and asked him to give us Holy Communion, he was not too willing at first. He explained to us that he only gives communion during the Mass and to those who are sick in their homes.Then he realized that we did not have Eucharist today due to our living circumstances, and reconsidered our request after showing us all his achievements on the grounds of the parish. They include a gathering place for people, an outside altar with stone tables that have etched in the stone all the dioceses in Haiti, their cathedral churches, Government Palace, and other national events that make up the history of Haiti. Many of these cathedrals were destroyed during the earthquake. The parish has begun a fresh water fish hatchery. This is in the beginning stages, but a great idea to feed the people in the town. After our little tour he brought us back to the Church and gave us Holy Communion. When we finished our prayer he invited us to have the Felician community minister in his parish. We smiled and said we will pray over this. : )
After this we went to the waterfalls, what a beautiful natural site. We were greeted by some young boys who escorted us to the falls. They surprised us by knowing some English. Of course they wanted some money for their kindness. You can’t imagine how cool and refreshing the water is.
On the way back we watched people returning from the market, some walking and others riding on donkeys and sometime horses. We praised the Lord watching another beautiful Haitian sunset.
” I lift up my eyes to the mountains from where from shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2
On Saturday, September 22 we journeyed to Jacmel to have our meeting with the Bishop of the Diocese of Jacmel.. We left the house at 7:30 a.m. to pick up a spare tire. This was very interesting, the purchase of the tire was done on the street from a man that Yvon knew. We waited in the car as the tire was prepared, but this was not wasted time on our part, we watched the people busy about their business. Close to us was a boy who shined shoes. He had many customers. He took his shoe shining very seriously. People left small change for his work.
We finally got on the road to Jacmel at 9: 00 a.m. The trip to Jacmel should take a little more than an hour, but due to traffic in Port au Prince it can take as long as 4 hours, but we made it in about 2 1/2 hours. The ride to Jacmel is up and through the mountains. It is absolutely beautiful. This part of Haiti is the greenest. Jacamel is located by the Caribbean Sea, and it is a bit cooler than Port au Prince. In this area hurricanes are not gentle with Jacmel. They never avoid Jacmel. : ( On the way there are many markets on the side of the road. The fruits and vegetables are fresh and much cheaper than in Port au Prince. The city of Jacmel is quiet and peaceful, and safe. On the way back we recieved two siigns the first was the rainbow in the mountains right after we left Jacmel and our meeting with the Bishop, and then on one of the buildings as we were driiving back we saw the following scripture quote from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know what my plans for you are, plans to save you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and to give you hope.”
Below, enjoy our journey to Jacmel… : )
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:37
During this time in the market we watched Yvon negotiate and learned how do our shopping on the streets. When you hear the first price you propose half the price, then usually it ends up that you pay somehwere in between the first price given. It is a great way to meet and get to know the people. Our role at this time was to greet the people in Creole with “Bondye beni ou.”
What a marvel it is…our unity in God’s service as well as Christian friendship that is lasting and deep are gifts of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts, “Love and be united so that the world may believe.”
Getting to know one another and appreciating our differences is our way of building peace today.
Felician Sisters Haiti Mission SM Inga Borko and S Marilyn Minter
On September 13, 2012 we left from Newark International Airport for Port au Prince, Haiti. We were met at the airport by Yvon Kernizan, a friend of the Felician Sisters, whose house of hospitality we will be staying our first few weeks.
September 14, the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, we went with Yvon to Croix de Bouquet to celebrate his aunt’s 100th birthday, the celebration began with Mass which made us very happy our first full day in Haiti.
After Mass there was a celebration with family and friends. All were welcome to the celebration. People from the streets stopped by food and fun. From there we went to Bon Repos to Fr. Gio’s orphanage and volunteer house to pick up some of the things we left in March. On the way back to Delmas we stopped we went to Digicel for our Haitian sim cards. Young people who work in Digicel know english.However, the challenge here and almost everywhere we go is the pace of work and life is much slower than what we are use to. We are learning there is no reason to be in such a hurry.
We called Fr Ron Joseph, who runs the Ministry of Presence with the Sisters of Charity, in Duval Roche, the place where we will live and study the language, plans were made to visit him on Saturday.
September 15, feast of the Sorrowful Mother, we made a few contacts through the internet to Bishops in Port au Prince, Jacmel, and Jeremie, the CLUNY Sisters, and Sr Mary Finnick at Matthew 25 . We are learning much from these contatcs, especially from the CLUNY Sisters who have been in Haiti over 200 years.
In the evening we went to Duval Roche to the Ministry of Presence where we will have our language program and be living for few months. We met with Fr. Ron who showed us the house that includes a chapel. He is in the process of building an orphanage for 50 children. We spent the night.when we arrived it was close to evening and praised God for the beautiful sunset. This was the hottest night of all, even the fan did not help.
September 16, we went to the 7 a.m. community Mass at St Louis the King parish. It was the second Mass of the day, the first begins at 5:30 a.m. The youth choir sounded beautiful. Fr. Ron introduced us to the Pastor. We returned home and shared chicken soup for breakfast as we met with Fr. Ron. He is a Haitian priest and is very helpful as we make our new beginnings for the mission in Haiti.
In the afternoon we returned to Delmas with Yvon and shared a scrumptious Haitian dinner. We have not expereinced hunger in Haiti. Everyday we pray for those who do not have what we have, for those who still live in tents. During our daily storms and rains we are thinking of those in tents and how they are surviving the night. Especially the tent city by the river on of Croix the way to Croix de Bouquet.
September 17, the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis early in the morning we received a call from Bishop Launay Saturne, from the Diocese of Jacmel to confirm our appointment for Saturday, September 22. In this country you can call someone as early as 6:00 a.m. but no later than 8:00 p.m.
September 18 Today we were blest to go to the travel agent to pick up our plane tickets to Jeremie. Then we made a visit to the CLUNY SISTERS. Sister Yannick helped us to get in contact with the Office of the Archbishop to make an appointment to see him. Our appointment will be on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
September 19 We met with Archbishop Poulard. We shared with him that we no longer will be in Bon Repos. We told him we will begin our language program at the end of October. The Archbishop welcomed us. We mentioned to him that we will be meeting with the Bishops in Jacmel and Jeremie. The meeting was very good and he encouraged us to go to Jacmel since there is not much religious presence. Jacmel is the diocese he founded and knows the great needs that are there. After our meeting he arranged for us to meet with Msgr Patrick Aris, Chancellor and Vicar for Religious. We gave him all the documents he requested from the Congregation. We were very pleased with these meetings. After our meetings we stopped by the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, as you see it remains the same as it was from the day of the earthquake. In the afternoon we spent two hours learning Creole. We hope to commit to this daily during these days of preparation. Bondye beni ou! (God bless you!)