Sylvania Franciscans celebrate their Haiti Mission and its Transfer
The 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.
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.”