Haiti

Empowering Haitians through leadership development plus assisting with health and economic development.

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“In imitation of Jesus and Francis, we have an intrinsic desire to help the poor.  We choose to build a mutual relationship with the people of Haiti.  We wish to accompany them, empower them, and witness with them the love of Christ.” –Vision Statement

Our Haiti Mission

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew took direct aim at Pestel, the mountainous region 90 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where our Sisters have ministered since 2001 causing significant damage.  Sister Fidelis joined a medical team ten days later and went to treat the survivors.  Read the December issue of our Haiti Happenings newsletter to learn what they found when they got there.

Sylvania Franciscans celebrate their Haiti Mission and its Transfer

transfer2The Sisters of St. Francis transferred their Haiti Mission to Thriving Villages International on January 27, 2017. The celebration included a prayer service of thanks and a telling of the mission’s 15 year history through the introduction of persons who have participated and assisted in the mission.

Those who were recognized included community leadership, Sisters who had visited Haiti, the Stateside Haiti Committee, parish partners (Little Flower, Toledo, St. Rose of Perrysburg, and Transfiguration), the medical teams of Dr. Richard Paat, the Aston Franciscans, and the Monroe Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation. Patt

Thriving Villages International was introduced, and members of their board, John Eby and Doug Stauffer, accepted an open-weave Haitian cross from Sr. Mary Jon as a sign of our shared ministry in Haiti.

Although Dr. Ben Fredrick was unable to attend on January 27, he wrote, ” Now that the Sisters have concluded their permanent presence in Pestel, they are pushing the Haitians out of the nest to use their own wings. It is not likely to be comfortable or easy, but it is an essential step in their development.

“We believe the work in Pestel has entered a new phase of growth. The rural Haitians are farmers and they know how to work the soil, when to plant, and how to cultivate seeds. The Sisters too have always been about the work of cultivation – of taking what is given to them and working it to help it to grow and flourish. To Thrive. That is our expectation for KPA, the Haitian development group in Pestel formed by Sister Fidelis, and encouraged and supported further by Sister Jo.

“Through careful discernment and prayer, and with Sister Fidelis’ experience on our Board, we are delighted as an organization to walk alongside KPA. We view our participation as mutually beneficial. We look forward to learning a great deal from them, and in helping to support their initiatives and priorities. We believe strongly that the Haitians are capable, with some guidance and extra resources, to accomplish important and life-changing activities in Pestel, and that they know best what their villages need. We have been incredibly impressed with their leadership, which is sensitive, strong, principled, faithful, hardworking, and generous. This Haitian development group reflects well the Sisters’ values, out of which they were formed.”

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Photo 1 of Sisters who served in Haiti (back row): Sister Faith Cosky, Sister Joy Barker, Sr. Magdala Davlin, Sister Julitta Campbell, (front row) Sister Jeanine Sokolowski, Sister Josephine Dybza, Sister Marie Andre Chorzempa, Sister Fidelis Rubbo.

Sisters who served on the Haiti Committee (back row): Sister Faith Cosky, Sister Joy Barker, Sr. Magdala Davlin, Sister Julitta Campbell, (front row) Sister Jeanine Sokolowski, Sister Josephine Dybza, Sister Marie Andre Chorzempa, Sister Fidelis Rubbo.

 

 

Resources/Links

Please see Dr. Ben’s blog at http://www.thrivingvillages.com for videos, pictures, human interest stories and more information about ministry in the Pestel area.

Franciscan Mission Reflection Guide

Haiti Mission Gifts of Hope

Sisters' Stories

Sister Brenda Hawley

Sister Brenda Hawley

Sister Brenda is convinced of the connection between green space and mental health. She’s become a champion of mini-gardens, maintaining two very small gardens. At her apartment, you’ll find green pepper and broccoli growing among the roses, lilies and mums. Her second mini garden, where she works in The Sophia Counseling Center at the Canticle Center, offers peace and solace to the clients who visit.
Sister Rosine Sobczak

Sister Rosine Sobczak

My love for Earth began early on with my grandparents and parents who loved to get us outside every time they could. Walks in the woods with my maternal grandfather were a special treat and I learned a lot from him. Those early days probably laid the foundation for a call which I heard in a dream during my Silver Jubilee retreat in 1990 after reflecting on a Scripture quote from Luke 12:49 – “I have come to light a fire on the earth. How I wish the blaze were enkindled already.” The stirred something deep inside of me and I interpreted this as a call to start a vortex of energy to work to protect our planet, and I began a nature program for children and founded an environmental organization called the Science Alliance for Valuing the Environment (S.A.V.E.) Inc. I did what an educator does – teach about it as my parents and grandparents taught me. That’s exactly what I have been doing for the past 25 years and plan to continue doing for as long as the call remains alive in me!

Care for Creation

Sylvania Franciscans care for creation by:

  • Washing clothes in cold water
  • Using white vinegar in lieu of fabric softener
  • Using environmentally friendly/home-made cleaning products
  • Shopping less, focusing on our needs, not our wants
  • Renewing our efforts to reduce, re-use, and recycle
  • Making conscious effort to conserve water
  • Not running water at length (brushing teeth or washing dishes)
  • Supporting efforts of area legislators to clean up Lake Erie
  • Conserving energy by unplugging small appliances to curb phantom loads
  • Turning off lights when the room is not being used

 Sylvania Franciscans are conscious of their food choices by:

  • Supporting local growers and grocers
  • Buying fruit and vegetables at local farmers market
  • Buying organic food, when possible
  • Eating less meat, especially beef
  • Eating a meatless meal one day a week
  • Eating more fruit, vegetables, grains, and raw foods
  • Eating at locally-owned restaurants
  • Contributing to Food Pantry collections

Sylvania Franciscans help conserve water by:

  • Celebrating World Water Day (prayer and education for action)
  • Washing full loads when washing clothes, using cold water if possible
  • Keeping a container of drinking water in the fridge
  • Taking short showers or baths
  • Shutting water off when brushing teeth, cleaning vegetables
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