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Pastoral Visit to Haiti

 

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Brothers Real and Bernard of Canada visit our Marist works in Haiti

03/05/2011: Haiti

Below is a short travel diary of a visit to Haiti made by Brothers Réal Sauvageau, member of the Provincial Council and Bernard Beaudin, Provincial of the Province of Canada. The visit took place in the middle of April. Until recently, our missionary work in Haiti depended on the Province of Canada, but presently it is part of the Province of Western Mexico.


Upon our arrival April 14, Br. Frisnel was there at the airport. After leaving our luggage in the small apartment that the community rents, we visited Port-au-Prince. What devastation! It was truly moving to see that there are still hundreds of thousands of people living in patched and frayed tents, with the suffocating heat and the unhealthiest of sanitary conditions, or to see what remains of Villa Manresa: just a pile of rubble. The rented apartment is simple, rather narrow, but pleasant. Br. Frisnel, in his hospitality gave us the two available bedrooms and he slept in the hallway as Father Champagnat did in the time of the first brothers.

On Monday, he took us to the airport where we took a light plane for Jérémie. There Brother Laurent awaited us and accompanied us to Latibolière. We found a lovely community, welcoming and united, where each one contributes his unique color to the overall mosaic: Br. Antonio close to the people and always available; Br. Laurent, tireless missionary, always on the road to visit a sick person or to find a new game to motivate the young people in the library; Toussaint, the young Haitian brother, with his youthful enthusiasm, is the soul of the REMAR movement; finally there’s Jean, the director, a true lay Marist, dynamic leader, close to the brothers and very much a part of the pastoral animation of the place.

The next day, we set out for Dame-Marie. How wonderful the scenery along the way! There were children everywhere who smiled at us as we passed! In Dame-Marie, we met Lucien, always active, and so sensitive to the needs of people and the youth; Sergio, for his part, little by little has found his place and we have discovered in him a teacher, a builder, a man with a thousand projects for the place. Unfortunately we were not able to meet Jean-Mance and Wilguins, two scholastics who had already departed for Port-au-Prince to get their visas to return to Mexico.

After the morning Palm Sunday procession through the streets of Dame-Marie we left for Jérémie to spend our last day with the formators and the 6 postulants. All the members of the community had the opportunity to express themselves on whatever was in their hearts in relation to the demanding service of formation. Thanks to the power of the brotherly dialogue, open and always renewing, they have committed themselves to build the community of the “new land”. We returned from this short visit with a new energy, because of the enthusiasm of each and all, despite the important challenges that the Haiti mission can present.

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