MQP Haiti Partnership in the News

Making a difference with A Night in Haiti

Find out more about our Haiti Partnership here.

 

 

A Night in Haiti

Prayers and help for Haiti

Help our friends in Haiti

Goats for Haiti

As Haiti and our friends at St. Benoit work to recover from Hurricane Matthew, the goat program becomes even more important.  Click here to find out how you can help.

Visiting our friends at St. Benoit

Video: Fr. Ronnie to St. Benoit

Hope in Haiti

Haiti faces daunting challenges, but there are many reasons for hope. Read the story here.

Banking on Goats in Haiti

Goats for Haiti

Thanks to the parishioners at Mary, Queen of Peace and other donors, the funds raised enabled the purchase of 80 goats.  Everyone in Dessource is very excited about the program.  They have all wanted to become part of the "registry" to manage this program thus empowering them to expand their opportunities outside of agriculture.  This is the first micro finance type project and the report below from Food For The Poor is very promising.

A final report from Food For The Poor 5/20/2015:

DISTRIBUTION OF GOATS FOR ST. BENOIT, HAITI MAY 2015

Mary, Queen of Peace recently received a report from Food for the Poor updating us on the distribution of 80 goats to St. Benoit Parish under the supervision of Msgr. Wildor.  To manage this project, a committee was formed.   The goats were given to the poorest families with the stipulation that each beneficiary gives one of the offspring back to the church. For this distribution, three areas were identified: Doriol, Labrousse and St Benoit parish.  Fifteen goats were distributed at Doriol, five goats at Labrousse and sixty others at St Benoit parish. The committee established a register to distribute the new offspring to more parishioners in need.  Each year the number of beneficiaries could double, making this a self sustainable project.  According to the report, Dessource is one of the localities well-adapted for animal husbandry.  The parishioners consider the goats to be a “savings account” because of the lack of banks.  The goats also represent a means to transform crop residue, the materials left over in a field after a crop has been harvested, into meat and milk.   The report indicates that the distribution of goats has been successful so far because families have shown their appreciation for this one time gift, and are happy to share their results.

 

The Haiti Solidarity Partnership Ministry and the parishioners of St. Benoit in Haiti appreciate your generosity!

 

Distribution of Goats at Dessources

 

Velia Miteau and the group of beneficiaries available

end.

CRS Education Report on Haiti

Read the comprehensive CRS report on Education in Haiti click here

Haiti Update April 2015

Members of the Haiti Solidarity Partnership will travel to St. Benoit April 8-14, 2015. Please keep them in your prayers. Below is an update from A Night in Haiti as well as a note from Msgr. Wildor:

Thank you to all sponsors and attendees of the recent "Night in Haiti".  It was a resounding success. Through your generosity we raised over $21,000.00

The funds will be used in the months of April, May & June for the following:
$9,000.00 for 14 teacher salaries
$4,500.00 for school lunch
$5,000.00 for tuition, which pays for some operating expenses.
$2,500.00 in reserve for emergencies
Please keep the Haiti Mission Travelers in your prayers during their trip April 8-14.  They are: Fr. Ian, Sr. Marina, MuguetBolotte, Tony Pastorello & Beth Baran.
A message from Monsignor Wildor:

"We thank God for the generosity of the parishioners of MQP for their participation in the Night in Haiti.  We will continue to pray that God bless them  and their hands. A special blessing for you and your family members and all ministry members who work hard to make this event happen. On behalf all the students, all parishioners of St Benoit Dessources I say to you all a big thank you with all my heart. Also thank you to Fr John and Fr Ian. Thank you to everyone who work in any way to make the Night in Haiti a reality."
- Msgr Wildor Pierre.

 

Haiti Mission Trip 2016 video and pictures

Haiti Mission Trip March 30 - April 5, 2016

View the 14 minute iMovie on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/QiypHJdGBN8

Temporary Dropbox link for 2016 pictures:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nu1fkjkkkg8gy9g/AAAs7xNtfASXuWQTYaCMdI3Sa?dl=0

Haiti Mission Trip 2015

Bishop Dumas, Msgr. Wildor, Fr. Ian celebrate mass with mission travelers, Beth Warwick Baran, Pat Veters, Sr. Marina, Muguet Bolotte, Tony Pastorello, Mark Ripple.

2015 Front of St. Benoit de Dessources.  Rectory entry to the left with metal gate. New bell tower complete.

 

 

4th grade enjoying the cards written in French and sent from Mary, Queen of Peace schoolchildren.

Morning Assembly

2nd story of rectory to left, with assembly hall in the background.

2nd story of church, assembly hall.  Roof of middle school to the right.

Updates from the 2015 mission trip

 

  • The 4th Haiti mission trip was very successful and we are pleased to report the significant progress at St. Benoit.  The cafeteria is now complete with plaster, paint, wall paintings of the saints of the 6 chapels.
  • The elementary and middle school classrooms are completely plastered, painted and furnished with desks and chairs.  The school kitchen, pantry and pre-K classrooms are complete.
  • The propane stove is in regular use and they are conserving propane by cooking the beans on the open fire and saving the rice for the stove.  The school lunch continues to be well received and very needed.
  • The rectory has added 3 rooms, one downstairs, plastered and painted and two upstairs in raw cinderblock form.  These rooms will be used by the many seminarians that visit and stay at St. Benoit.  During our visit there were three seminarians.  The seminarians work as teachers during their time at St. Benoit as they work towards their ordinations.
  • The 2nd story of the church is in raw cinderblock form and has a metal roof.  This will become the assembly hall.  Plastering of the floor, walls, electrical and painting will complete the space.
  • The finishing work continues on the exterior the the school, a beautiful plaster seals the cinderblock and painting will be the last step.
  • There is a nursing station off of the rectory and a full time nurse.  The room is partitioned by a curtain with a bed in the rear for those that need it.  We will continue to bring more medication for the children and vitamins during each trip.  She is administering the albendazole, vitamins and vitamin A.
  • The water system is working well and is connected to a septic tank 30 feet under the rectory.  A large cistern is part of the school structure and acts as a two story wall.  The cistern is drained and cleaned with bleach monthly.
  • The people of St. Benoit continue to say "THANK YOU MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE" they are most grateful for all of the blessings they have received.

 

Read more about the trip from Fr. Ian's May Peace Times "Hearts that beat as one"

Hearts That Beat as One

Fr. Ian M. Bozant

It is hard to fathom that our sister parish of St. Benoit in Haiti, when we first began our partnership with them, lay in ruins after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake, the most severe one to strike the country in over 200 years, completely devastated the country.  This single event left at least 250,000 people dead and over a million people homeless.  Our parish of St. Benoit was no exception to heartache and disaster.  The main campus of the parish was hit hard, crippling the church building.  The chapels that belong to St. Benoit (6 in total) suffered severe damage, some having only their altar left standing.  After the earthquake, St. Benoit’s parishioners swelled as refugees from the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince sought a new life away from the ruins of the capital city.  In the face of this, the parish’s new priest, Msgr. Wildor Pierre struggled to provide for his flock, but ever confident that God would provide.

All of this, however, is not immediately known when one steps into the confines of the new compound that is St. Benoit Parish.  The beautiful rectory and church has tiled floor and fresh coats of paint and a style that immediately calls to mind the Franciscan mission churches of the Southwest United States.  The multilevel compound houses not only Msgr. Wildor, but also three seminarians, classrooms for 450 school children, a parish meeting hall, the church, and sacristy.  The parish has access to running water, a vital and precious resource, as well as solar power and a generator that is used sparingly.  In a country whose capital still houses the ruins of the presidential palace, St. Benoit stands as a beacon of hope and new life.  The physical parish itself only hints at the devastation wreaked upon the area just five years earlier.

Even more important than the physical building itself is the testimony of the living church present at St. Benoit: her parishioners, children, and Msgr. Wildor himself.  It would be difficult not to notice the gratitude and joy on the faces of the people of St. Benoit—a joy and gratitude that paradoxically radiates amidst the staggering poverty that surrounds them.  The people of Dessources do not have much, but what they do have, they are grateful for and they acknowledge it all as a gift from God.  Rarely does Msgr. Wildor have a conversation in which he does not boisterously proclaim, “Praise God!  Praise God!”  And just as his leadership helps the construction process at St. Benoit reach ever new heights, so does his spiritual leadership foster the life of the parish.  His gratitude and joy sets the example for those in his care and is perhaps best reflected in the children of the school at St. Benoit.  Eagerly they come to school and intently do they absorb their lessons.  All of the children at St. Benoit pass their exams—all of them.  And this is because education is more than a formality; it represents hope for them: hope that they can make a difference and change the situation that surrounds them.  For the children at St. Benoit, simple pleasures still amaze them and fill them with wonder and awe.  Evidence of this came from their amazement and tangible excitement when our merry group of seven helped them to make paper butterflies out of colored tissue and clothespins.  Simplicity marks their life, but it is a blessed simplicity.

As I come away from my first visit to St. Benoit, I come away with several important points.  First, as I told Msgr. Wildor and the parishioners of St. Benoit on the eve of our departure, what we have between Mary Queen of Peace and St. Benoit is something far greater than any monetary partnership.  It is an opportunity for us to engage the universal mission of the Church, recognizing that the Body of Christ as spoken of by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 truly does not have boundaries—it goes beyond our local parish, state, or nation: these are our brothers and sisters.  Secondly, it has been an opportunity for us to experience a growth in our own faith as we encounter Christ in these new friendships that have flowered through our 4 years of partnership.  Additionally, I myself have a far deeper appreciation for the incredible generosity of our parishioners here at Mary Queen of Peace.  Coming into this project, without having been a part of its origin, it was difficult for me to truly appreciate how instrumental the people of Mary Queen of Peace have been in helping Msgr. Wildor and his parish.  Through the support of parishioners at Mary Queen of Peace, construction on the church has been completed; construction on the school has made significant progress and continues; teachers and staff have salaries; the water well was completed in 2014 for $16,000; a goat program (another valuable lifeline for Haitians) has been established through Food for the Poor; etc.  All of this enables them to work harder and harder to create their beautiful community.  Truly, I am humbled by the generosity of our parishioners and I cannot fully convey in words the gratitude of the people of St. Benoit.  They never ceased thanking our small delegation during our visit!  I, in turn, cannot thank Msgr. Wildor enough for his great leadership and stewardship of his parish.  His diligent care and charismatic leadership are invaluable aids in moving forward in our goals.

As I close this small reflection, I encourage renewed support for the Haiti Solidarity Partnership here at Mary Queen of Peace as we move forward in our relationship.  It was clear to me during my short time in Haiti that the hearts of the people of Dessources beat in unison with the hearts of us here at Mary Queen of Peace.  Without ever meeting me, they hugged me and told me they loved me because I represented this wonderful parish that has done so much to help them in their hour of need.  Give in whatever ways you can: money, donation, time, prayer, etc.  As our Holy Fathers have repeatedly reminded us, it is in a life of self-gift and service to those around us that we discover who we truly are and that we encounter the face of Christ: “Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est [God is Love], 15).

 

More pictures to come...slideshow date TBD.

CRS Twinning Partnership Manual

CRS Twinning Partnership Manual click here

2 Oct 2013 Haiti Meeting Minutes

Haiti Solidarity Ministry Meeting minutes 2 Oct 2013

 

Thank you for an excellent turnout of 17 members.

Updates since last meeting – action item assigned, lead listed first

  • Welcome Haiti Mission Trip 2014 travelers. Sr. Marina, Nancy Waguespack, Karen Sheehy, Sheila Stroup, Muguet Bolotte

Finance Update

  • $14,700. sent for opening of school year to cover tuition and salaries.
  • $5,300. sent for phase one of well, we owe $7,400.00
  • Ministry balance is zero at MQP.
  • $500 from Knights of Columbus meeting Sept 17
  • MQP Christmas concert Dec 20 profits to Haiti as per Lindsey Piattoly, -Sarah Artscape in TP
  • Tithing committee next meeting date Oct 23 7:15am-Muguet

Educational Committee Update

  • Ideas for items to bring in 2014 – prayer cards – Nancy Waguespack
  • Spirit Day raise funds for educational tools – Nancy
  • Educational tools – math and French – Nancy
  • Reach out to Superintendent Dr. Jan Lancaster – Muguet

Outreach Committee Update

  • Final brochure complete, stored in MQP library – Thank you Therese Kwiecen.
  • Food For The Poor (FFP) champion page for water well balance of $7,400.00 - Muguet
  • Facebook page needed for Monsignor link to FFP site – Need volunteer
  • Fleur de Fall (FdF) auction item: Sarah Bonnette/Suzanne Myers
  • Note in bulletin of prior weekend Oct 11 of funds low and Monsignors visit, repeat Oct 18. – Muguet/Sarah
  • Jean Bernard Orival student census database complete-Muguet, Monsignor
  • Ophthalmologist and Optometrist appointments confirmed - Sarah lead/Bridgid America’s Best.
  • Vitamin Angels packages for Monsignor – info, backpacks, scrubs, blankets - Thank you Paul Miguez for donating the logo creation and dozens of backpacks.  Thank you Toni for getting 20 scrubs donated from Bayou Uniforms.  – Muguet/Toni to sort and pack
  • Keyboard with case for Monsignor driven to Miami? – Sr. Marina

 

Planning committee for Night in Haiti, March 15, 2014

Headcount at 2013 event was 158.  Plan on 200 attendees. $25 tickets

  • Purpose - To benefit the families of St. Benoit
  • The goal of the event is middle school student scholarships
  • Determine the budget for the event – TBD - $25.00 ticket price
  • The target audience for the event – Adult, evening 6:30-9:30pm
  • Fundraising for food - Yvonne Bourgeois, lead
  • Set-up, Decorating and flow of eventSarah,Nancy, Trisha
  • Marketing – Therese, Michelle, Trishia, submit list of outlets and    deadlines
  • Sales & check inMuguet, Sr. Marina, Suzanne Myers
  • Planning - oversight of event – Muguet, Sr. Marina
  • Art work, craft sales - Jane Brown, lead
  • Music – Jean Marie, Jane (DJ)
  • Tres Leches Cakes – Sheila, Nancy, Trisha, Suzanne, Elizabeth Bauer
  • Thank you follow up team – Elizabeth, Toni, Sheila, Muguet
  • Beer/rum – Michael St. Germain to investigate
  • Wine, ice tea – Trisha
  • Donation cans 50/50 – Sarah, Nick
  • Haiti Solidarity Partnership Banner – Suzanne, Sarah

Each subcommittee should meet or communicate independently and the subcommittee lead should publish the deadlines for each activity.  Subcommittees and lead in bold above.

October 18-23  tentative agenda for Monsignor Wildor sent for review to participants.

Mark your calendars for dinner at Muguet & Wade’s on Monday, Oct 21 at 6pm  Please bring a dish, anticipated headcount 35.  We will need extra folding tables (4) and chairs about 30 does anyone have any leads?

Mark your calendars for a ministry meeting with Monsignor, Tuesday, Oct 22 at 1:30-2:30 parish center room 2.

March 14: Don't Miss A Night in Haiti

"A Night in Haiti", the third annual celebration of our partnership with St.Benoit Parish in Dessources, Haiti,  will take place from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, in the Mary, Queen of Peace School cafeteria and includes a Haitian themed dinner, wine, beer and drinks, a DJ with lively music and the sale of Haitian crafts.  Come and see what the parishioners of Mary, Queen of Peace and St. Benoit have accomplished together.

Proceeds will help fund the education expenses of students at the elementary school and new middle school at St. Benoit.
Event sponsorships are also available, please see the information under "Documents" on this page.
Thank you!

Haiti: Five Years Later

Five years have passed since Haiti suffered one of the most devastating earthquakes ever to hit the Western Hemisphere.  On January 12, 2010 a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake decimated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.  It is estimated that over 300,000 people were killed and 1.5 million were left homeless.  By December of 2010, more than 8,500 more lives had been claimed by a cholera outbreak.  UNICEF estimates that 430,000 children were either orphaned or abandoned.

Today, due to Haitians working with numerous international partnerships, the country is continuing to recover.  In Port-au-Prince, there is new housing, an enhanced police presence, improved roads and better access to health care.

Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church is proud to be a small part of this recovery.  Our Haiti Solidarity Partnership with St. Benoit Parish in Dessources has made many strides since 2010.  We have helped rebuild their church, helped build a new elementary school (including a school cafeteria) and helped drill a water well for the community.  We received a grant to provide multivitamins to expectant mothers and young children, and we have sent funds for school lunches, teacher salaries and scholarships for elementary and middle school students.

We have accomplished great things and yet there is so much more to be done!  We hope to continue our partnership with St. Benoit and help to improve the lives of the approximately 5,000 families of the parish. Our committee would also like to extend a huge thank you to the parishioners of Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church for giving the people of St. Benoit hope when they were in despair.

Haiti Mission Trip 2014

Parishioners from Mary Queen of Peace seek to make a difference in Haiti

Sheila Stroup, The Times-PicayuneBy Sheila Stroup, The Times-Picayune
Follow on Twitter
on May 09, 2014 at 12:46 PM, updated May 09, 2014 at 6:54 PM

My favorite time of day at St. Benoit is early morning. I wake to the sounds of doves cooing in the courtyard outside the rectory and roosters crowing. I hear villagers calling to each other as they pass on the road, on their way to the fields where they eke out a living harvesting corn and beans.

I get dressed by the light that filters in through the high open windows of the bedroom. We have electricity only when the generator is on or the solar panels give us power. We are 60 miles and 5 1/2 hours up the mountain from Port-au-Prince in southwest Haiti, and it feels like we are in another world.

I walk up the stairs to what is now the roof of the rectory but will one day be the floor of a second story. From this vantage point, the scenery is spectacular. Crop- and tree-covered hills spill down the mountainside in all directions, and there are gravestones planted among the beans and corn. Scattered paths lead to the tiny huts the villagers call home.

One morning when I am on the roof, I see Monsignor Wildor Pierre, the pastor, by himself across the way. He has lifted his hands above his head, and I can tell that he is praying. Up here, so close to the sky, you feel like you can talk directly to God.

I can’t make out his words, but I imagine he is saying, “Thank you for this lovely morning and for sending us our visitors from Mary Queen of Peace.”

Six of us from the Mandeville church’s Haiti Partnership Ministry have come to spend nearly a week in St. Benoit, our sister parish. It is the third visit for ministry leaders Muguet Bolotte and Teresan Sister Marina Aranzabal. For Clay Drewes, Tony Pastorello, Nancy Waguespack and me, it is our first, and we marvel at the sights and sounds. Tony and Clay can’t seem to stop shooting videos and taking pictures.

The children have such big smiles and beautiful faces, and they are always singing. They love school, and the day we give 200 elementary-school students new backpacks — a gift from Mary Queen of Peace parishioners — they are beaming. They hug them to their chests and rewrap them in the plastic bags they came in. When they leave school, they wear them proudly as they march out the door.

Sheila Stroup HaitiMonsignor Wildor Pierre speaks to his parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, one of six chapels in far-flung areas of the parish. (Photo by Clay Drewes)

This year, Monsignor Wildor has added middle school in the afternoon. When the elementary schoolchildren head home, 50 seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders file into the classrooms. He has hired new teachers who teach them French and English, math and geography. The native language here is Haitian Creole, a mixture of French and West African languages. French is the language of the educated classes in Haiti.

Monsignor Wildor’s plan is to add 10th, 11th and 12th grades for the next school year. When a member of the mission team suggests it might be better to add just 10th and build from there, he listens closely, but something in his eyes tells me he is determined to add all three grades. This year, students in the village of Dessources must walk two hours to get to the closest high school or else stop going.

Monsignor Wildor is passionate about educating the children. On the blackboard in the kindergarten classroom, someone has written: “Sans l’education on ira nul part.” When I ask him to translate, he says, “Without an education, you aren’t going anywhere.” And the school motto is: “Hard work, intelligence and discipline lead to success.”

His dreams seem lofty in this poverty-stricken country, but when we see all that he has done since the local bishop sent him to St. Benoit in 2009, we realize he not only has dreams, he finds a way to carry them out.

Monsignor Wildor went to seminary in Miami, but he always said that when he became a priest he would come home to Haiti to help his people. When he arrived here, there was a tiny chapel with a leaky tin roof. The villagers walked an hour down the mountain to get water. There was no school for the children, no rectory. But he said, “I will sleep in the sacristy of the church.”

He began to work on the church with the help of the villagers, and they had been making progress when the earthquake hit on Jan. 12, 2010. One night at dinner he tells us, “I lost everything I owned. The earthquake came and took it. The whole roof went down.”

I ask him if that made him lose heart, and his answer surprises me.

“It is OK when I lose everything because I see people with nothing living in the street, and it helps me understand how they feel,” he says.

He prayed to God to help him and bring others to help him. The ministry at Mary Queen of Peace was the answer to his prayer.

After the earthquake, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond invited parishes in the Archdiocese of New Orleans to partner with a parish in Haiti. Through Catholic Relief Services, Mary Queen of Peace was put in touch with Monsignor Wildor. Working together, the two parishes have done wonders.

St. Benoit now has a pretty little church with a roof that doesn’t leak, and a school that educates more than 300 children. A lunch program feeds them, and the Mary Queen of Peace ministry raised the money for a water well, so the villagers can fill their 5-gallon containers at a distribution area just down the hill from the church instead of walking an hour down the mountain.

Ministry funds help pay teacher salaries and provide scholarships for the most promising students to attend middle school. In a country where the government provides no schools in rural areas and half the children don’t go to school, an education means everything.

Our days in the village are jam-packed. There is a play day for the children complete with a wild group dance led by Monsignor Wildor, a scholastic contest, races, and musical chairs. And there are three-hour Masses filled with music, singing and dancing.

The people welcome us warmly and seem filled with joy and hope. During the Offertory of the Mass, women bring up huge baskets of bananas they carry on their heads. There are bowls of oranges, cherries, mangos and mirlitons. There is corn, cabbage, a sprouting coconut, a little hen. By the end of the collection, the altar is heaped with gifts the rectory staff will turn into meals for us.

We visit the children in their classrooms and have lunch with their teachers. Nancy, who teaches religion to sixth- and seventh-graders at Mary Queen of Peace School, has brought flashcards, books about Haiti, and laminated maps for the school. When the teachers see maps of Haiti written in French, their eyes light up, and they say “Ahhh” in unison. They can’t wait to share them with their students.

One day we travel many miles to Our Lady of Fatima, one of six chapels for parishioners in outlying areas. It is merely a collection of wooden posts with mismatched tarps for a roof, a dirt floor, and walls made out of palm fronds. But the posts are decorated with flowers, and there is a nice breeze. More than 80 people sit on benches in the humble open-air chapel, waiting for Monsignor Wildor, and I think of Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.”

We also visit Mount Carmel, a parish that has no sister parish in New Orleans. The pastor tells us he had to close the high school because he couldn’t pay the teachers, and the elementary teachers often work without getting paid. It is much like St. Benoit was the first year mission members visited, and Sister Marina wants desperately to find a parish in the New Orleans area willing to form a partnership with Mount Carmel.

“There is so much need here,” she says.

On Saturday, we go to the market where the villagers of Dessources gather to buy, sell and exchange fruits and vegetables, bread and beans, goats, chickens and pigs. On a hillside just before we reach the makeshift booths is a parking lot for the dozens of donkeys who serve as local taxis and pickups.

The market is a wild place, with people shouting, music playing, goats bleating and young men cruising along the unpaved street on motorcycles they use to transport people up and down the mountain. The sun beats down, and the smell of gasoline mingles with the smells of charcoal and food cooking.

Sunday, after Mass, with help from some of the village women, we hand out vitamins to young mothers and give worm medicine to children ages 1 to 5. Sister Marina and Muguet, both fluent in French, explain that the medicine will help the children stay healthy and that they should take only one vitamin pill each day.

I, not being fluent in French, admire babies and hand out blankets and dresses sewn by women in St. Tammany Parish.

Later, we meet with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to give them the first-aid kits assembled by Max Tepper, a young parishioner at Mary Queen of Peace who is working on becoming an Eagle Scout. Muguet and Sister Marina explain what each item is before handing them out. Chances are the children have never seen a Band-Aid.

Throughout the days, I keep noticing one young woman who is a leader. I hear her singing and playing the bongo drum in church and also in the church courtyard where the children gather to play. I see her making signs that say, “Welcome Mary Queen of Peace,” and watch her lift up little children in her arms.

I learn that Nerlyne Charlotin is 19 and in the eighth grade. She is first in her class, and the students at St. Scholastic Academy in Covington are paying her middle-school tuition.

When Sister Marina and I sit down to talk to her, Nerlyne tells us she loves school and she likes learning French and English. She sings for us — “Love Doesn’t Think Twice,” a Celine Dion song. When I ask how she learned it, she says her English teacher wrote the words on the blackboard and then the students listened to the music on his cell phone.

She tells us she wants to finish high school and go to college in Port-au-Prince. She has an aunt there she can live with. She wants to be a nurse and come home to Dessources to help the people.

“Maybe when I get through nursing school, there will be a hospital here,” she says, smiling. “That would be my dream job.”

Now, the nearest hospital is a bumpy 2 1/2 hour drive down the mountain on an unpaved road, and one of Monsignor Wildor’s dreams is to build a medical clinic in Dessources. It will be eight years before Nerlyne can finish nursing school. I think that gives him time to build a clinic.

Maybe when I get through nursing school, there will be a hospital here. That would be my dream job." -- Nerlyne Charlotin, eighth-grader

During our visit, Monsignor Wildor tells us, “All we can give you is our prayers and our love.” But that is so much, and the people of St. Benoit have given us so much more. When they thank us for our “sacrifice,” we tell them, “All we have done is open our hearts.”

On our last night, Monsignor Wildor throws a party for us and his 32 staff members. There is a dinner and music, laughing and dancing. At one point Mertyl Fritznel, the young seminarian who is principal of the middle school, stands up and thanks us one more time.

“This is one of the best miracles in Haiti,” he says.

We feel blessed to be a part of it.

Haitian Crafts For Sale

These items are available for sale to benefit the parishioners of St. Benoit, Dessources, Haiti.  All items are located in the parish center, room 2 in the glass case.  There are envelopes provided for you, please make all checks payable to "Mary, Queen of Peace" and note "Haiti Crafts" on the memo line.  Jane Brown manages the crafts and can be reached at 985.373.2305 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Original Haitian Art priced as marked $50-125

 

 

Photograph by Robert Dutruch $200 minimum donation

 

Horn Cuff Bracelets, Earrings and Necklace priced as marked

Shell Bracelets $10

Handmade Wooden Bowls from famous Haitian artist Einstein Albert ($75) , sells at Macy's NYC for $90.00

Hand Painted Metal Key Ring Holders $15

Hand carved Wooden Crosses with Lamb $15

Blank Note Cards of Children of St. Benoit set of 12 for $10

Leather Key Chain of Haitian face with headpiece $3

Hand carved Soapstone Sculptures approx 6-8" $24

Haitian Raw Cocoa with instructions for delicious hot chocolate $5

Miscellaneous items

Video: A look at St. Benoit

Pictures from St. Benoit 2014

Here are some pictures from our visit to St. Benoit in Haiti. More to come!

 

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