On Saturday, September 26, we were blest to gather with thousands of families, religious sisters, brothers, and priests from 150 countries around the world. It was a spectacular experience of encounter–truly God in our midst. We even saw our Haitian flag!
We were sitting on the curb, watching the big screen nearest us. Then we met our Sister Eliana. She shared with us that a young priest in her group was on the other side listening to confessions. We thought this was a great idea. We had just met a priest from Columbia and one from Kansas so we got on a mission of mercy. We asked them if they would listen to confessions on the street. We looked for chairs for them, asking people if we could borrow their chairs. Then the lines formed. It was unbelievable!
At about 4:00 p.m., we received a message from Mary, a woman we had met early that morning while standing on the street waiting for Pope Francis. She had two tickets for inside, with seats! We were in shock to hear this. And where was she standing? Under the Haitian flag! We went inside, filled with awe that the Lord had led us all day to this moment. Our tickets were in different sections. But you know us, we decided to walk around to see the stage and the people.
After we finished roaming, we sat down in the section where Sr. Inga was to be; and we prayed our Evening Prayer. As soon as we finished, a gentleman in a suit and a Liberty Bell pin sat down next to us. He asked us where we were from and, of course, we said Jacmel, Haiti. He then said I have something special for you. I have two tickets for you in the second row in front of the Pope!!! We were in awe and unbelief! We asked his name; it was John. He was one of the head committee members of The World Meeting of Families. This happened right before everything started.
We went to our seats, and they were right in front of the Holy Father’s chair! Then Sister Sledge came out and started to sing “We are Family.” We started to dance in our seats. We thought about all our Felician Sisters throughout the world, all families, friends, benefactors–everyone who accompanies us in the Haiti mission!
When the Holy Father arrived, there was a bolt of the Holy Spirit that filled the place. It felt like Pentecost. The families that gave witness were moving and inspiring.
Then Pope Francis came to the podium, right before us. We were literally sitting at his feet. He spoke from the depths of his heart, about the gift and blessing of the family and the call to love and forgive. We felt as though he was looking at us.
After he spoke, Andre Boccelli came out and sang the Our Father, the most moving experience of unity in the moment.
As Pope Francis gave us the final blessing, every one of you were in our hearts. May God continue to be known, loved and glorified!