Some of you may know that, when we are in New Jersey, we are always busy anticipating another holiday feast. With that always in mind, we need to purchase things and send them in barrels to Haiti. Here we are preparing treat bags, filling them with chocolates and sweets for our kids for our Christmas Day celebration!
From December 10-13, the annual Advent Retreat–Connivance–for St. Michael’s Neocatechumenal community was held here at the Felician Mission. For all of these people, it is the only experience of taking time for their spiritual growth and health with the Lord. Centered in the Word, Eucharist and Community, our lives were able to be transformed, healed and forgiven.
On Tuesday, December 8, Dr. Jean Paul Bonnet and Hubert (his friend who was one of the first graduates of the Madonna University Program in Haiti) made their way here to the Felician Haiti Mission. This was the moment Dr. Bonnet and we have been waiting for–the beginning of the process of giving wells which will provide clean water to us, to the new catholic school that was built behind us, and to the bakery.
Meetings were scheduled with Bishop Touissaint, Father Bertrand (Director of Caritas), and representatives from the Water for Life well-diggers for Wednesday morning, December 9. God made a shift in the plan. Since there was a manifestation on the road to Jacmel the night before, no one could enter the city. This meant the Water for Life people could not be in Jacmel for the 9 a.m. meeting.
Again, we witnessed God’s lead in all this. We had a private meeting with the Bishop and Father Bertrand. We visited the site where the wells could go, and we saw the new piece of land for the bakery and cafe. Things began to unfold quickly.
On Friday, December 11, Jean Paul and Hubert, together with Fritz as their driver, went to Les Cayes, about a 3 1/2 hour ride from Jacmel, to see a bakery that was built by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Land was given by that diocese and, from funds collected, they are a well-running bakery. We are getting closer and closer to the fulfillment of a dream so needed to empower women and men for jobs and, most of all, sharing a Bread for Life through accompaniment, relationships, and empowerment. As Jean Paul would say: “All good!”
On Monday, December 7, our teens were invited for our annual Advent Penance Service that was led by Father Maurice. Each year, we have our Penance Service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It is always a beautiful experience for us as we share Praise and Worship, silence, and God’s mercy together. After, we celebrated with PIZZA for all!
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.
This past week, each of us has been busy slowly gathering our people in various activities, still being mindful and aware of a global pandemic.
Below, Sister Marilyn is having her weekly meeting with the Mother Angela Clinic team.
Guitar class is another activity that is growing.
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.