Today, April 30, the Diocese of Jacmel celebrates with great joy as they blessed and broke ground for the new Cathedral. The USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) is providing the funds to assist in this building project. Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Miami; his Chancellor, Sr. Elizabeth Ann Worley, SSJ; and representatives from the USCCB were present. Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Papal Nuncio for Haiti, and Bishop Joseph Lafontant were also present. The building project is hoped to be completed in eight months. Today we realized that the new cathedral will be right around the corner from where our new convent will be built. As we walked home, a police car stopped and offered us a ride. This was a first for us–to be in a police car in Haiti.
Monthly Archives: April 2013
Preparation for our English classes can be challenging at times. For example, yesterday we needed to sharpen pencils for our students, and we realized we needed a pencil sharpener. We are used to electric sharpeners or to mechanical pencils that do not need to be sharpened. We borrowed a small sharpener from the pre-school, but it stopped working so we had to use a knife to sharpen the pencils. We tried to buy a sharpener at one of the shops in town, but they had none. As always, God was good to us because later that afternoon we found a few sharpeners in box of school supplies. We even found some mechanical pencils which had been packed in the container. The things we take for granted…
Everyday we pray for direction about what to do and what not to do. This is not easy to discern. We try to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd in every circumstance and through the people around us. There are many needs here in our midst. One very important need is to a have mobile medical clinic, especially for the people in the mountains where they have no medical help. Please keep this in your prayers that, if it is God’s Will, it will become a reality.
We see that young people need to have certain basic skills in order to get a job, and one way that helps is knowing English and having computer skills. For this reason, we started our English class, which has over 20 students who come faithfully everyday for class. We had to refuse a group of young adult men who came last week because we have no more room. We see the need for volunteers so we can have another session beginning in June and July. Our students come to us hungry; and we all know that when you are hungry it is difficult to learn, so we are discerning what can we do. Right now we share with whoever comes to our door hungry, asking us for something to eat. This happens everyday. We are giving thought to serving rice and beans just for our students. Please pray that we know what is ours to do.
We have two sewing machines and a lot of brown, beige, white and black material in our container, so we are considering having sewing lessons. Today we had a man who fixes sewing machines take a look at our two machines. It cost us a small fortune, but now they work very well. We know that we will need a few more sewing machines. We already spoke with someone who can help give the classes. Please pray that we know what is ours to do.
A few days ago, we had the opportunity to visit the Nursing Program at Notre Dame University here in Jacmel. Knowing how excellent, professional and efficient the Nursing programs are at Madonna University and Felician College, for Notre Dame University, there is just one word that comes to mind–simplicity. The school was destroyed because of the earthquake and still has not been rebuilt. They relocated to an open-spaced area, having classrooms with tin roofs; but last Fall Hurricane Sandy destroyed some of their classrooms, and they are still being reconstructed. This did not stop the Nursing Program; the professors and students are committed and dedicated to working together for the health and dignity of all Haitian people.
The nursing lab is very simple; it has one “dummy” for all the students to use for practice. On the shelves, we saw a few medications and practice machines. The program is working very hard to educate their students. The library has French, English and Spanish medical textbooks, but there are few shelves. The students who cannot afford books learn there, as well as those students who have no electricity in their homes.
On Saturday evening, we went for Mass that celebrated the first year Nursing students who received their “habit” (uniform) to continue for clinical practice in the hospital here in Jacmel. There were about 80 female students in the class. The Mass was beautiful, and the singing by the students was glorious. Bishop Launay Saturne reminded the students that they have been given a mission as Christians to be healers of both the body and the soul.
How we wish that someday Madonna University and Felician College could walk in relationship with Notre Dame University here in Jacmel!
Today we joined Felician Sisters and Associates throughout the world in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska’s beatification through special prayers and a special Mass in our chapel offered for all Felician Sisters. We baked cookies for the children and youth that come to us for English class so that we could celebrate this special day with them.
After reading SM Colette’s reflection printed in our Update, on this vigil of the 20th Anniversary of the Beatification of Blessed Mary Angela, we cannot help but think about the poor children Blessed Mary Angela met on the streets of Warsaw. We truly feel her presence here in Jacmel. Many of our kids who come to us do not have shoes, or there is hardly any sole left on the ones they have. They do not know any prayers…not even how to make the sign of the cross.
Today we had to move our class to a bigger room because we are growing. We are using one of the classrooms in the pre-school on the first floor. It is not easy to lead a class with students between the ages of 10-19. Our students love to come and be involved in all the activities we plan for them. They are truly eager to learn. We cannot wait until we will have more computers. The few minutes that each of our students can use the computer to learn from the Rosetta Stone Program is a great reward for them. They are also learning how to use the computer. We, in turn, are benefitting from our students and learning more and more Creole.
This is our fourth day of English classes, and we keep growing. We never announced this anywhere. Now we have nine students: Gabrielle, Alberto, Jean-Philip, Jerry, Stevenson, Stanley, Sangado, Rosemary and Meeka.
During our evening Mass, we celebrated the birthday of our little friend, Kassandra. At the end of Mass, Fr. Kontan gave Kassandra his blessing. After the Celebration of the Eucharist, we had a little party for Kassandra; Clara and Gael joined us.
Today for dinner, we had two guests from the Polish-Haitian Foundation. Peter and Christopher are representatives of the foundation, and they are here from Poland to meet with engineers and building contractors about the new school which will be built for the Diocese of Jacmel. They will be building on the property next to what will be our future convent.
We began our day with prayer and time with the Word of God. Then it was the usual Saturday morning cleaning, spraying the rooms with bug spray, clearing the spider webs, and cleaning the dirt that accumulates. Normally on Saturday we do our laundry, but we have learned that there is not enough water on Saturdays. At 10 a.m. we got a ride to the Pastoral Center where our container is located. Our friends Klara and Gael joined us, along with Fritz, our driver. Fritz brought along his young little friend, Paschal, who has no parents and is very poor.
Today we worked in the container, going through all the boxes with medications and medical supplies. We organized these items in order to deliver them to clinics that we will be visiting when we get our car. We also found many other treasures stowed away in boxes–school supplies, games, more new sneakers, and liturgical items. We spent about 3 1/2 hours in the container, which was really hot. We were soaked. Our helpers received some nice gifts, especially Paschal, who needed new shoes and some new clothes.
When we finished, we went to the Bishop’s garden. Daniel, his groundskeeper who knows us, gathered a box of mangos for us. Tomorrow, our friends, Yvon and Gracias, may come to visit us; and Yvon loves mangos.
Finally, we went to the outdoor open machè (market) to get some fruits and vegetables that we need for the next few days. Klara and Gael went with us to help us to bargain. They convinced us to buy a bunch of leaves, which they said you cook like spinach with beregen (egg plant). We bought, as always, oranges and grapefruits to make our juice; and to make our juice you need a lot of them. We know more and more people at the outdoor market.
We got home and cooked a quick dinner of leftovers and then began to do some cooking for Sunday. We don’t worry when we cook for ourselves, but cooking for guests is a big challenge. We decided to make stuffed cabbage. We had a lot of rice leftover, so we made our first attempt at homemade rice pudding. Then we called Klara to ask her how to cook the leaves. She told us to just boil them. That is what we did, and tomorrow we will use them when we cook our beregen. After all this, we were tired but grateful to God for his many blessings of the day.