Sanon's First Lent

Dear friends and family,

About two weeks ago, I received a phone call from two vintage friends, friends of 35 years, who called to ask me if I was dead.

They had heard a rumor, from a priest in Baltimore (my first assignment as a baby priest, back in 1979), that I had died in Haiti. 

Maybe that priest heard about the priest that was killed in Port au Prince in December, and thought it was me.

In any case, my friends were somewhat panicked.

When I saw the international number ringing on my phone, I did not want to answer it. Too often, long distance calls are bad news. I was panicked too.

Little did I know that the the bad news I would hear on the phone was about me and my demise.

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Voices of Haiti in Miami, with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation

They have collected standing ovations everywhere, they have been the soundtrack of the “Lincoln Center Global Exchange”, they have sung at The United Nations for the royal family of Sweden, at the Teatro del Silenzio and for the Pope.

Through their performances they have, once again, given evidence of how art can be a powerful instrument of cooperation, a tool for the development of one’s own potential and an instrument to show the strength, the colors, and the positivity of a land.

In the heart of Miami, in the prestigious Frost School at the Miami University, the kids of the choir “Voices of Haiti” have been the stars of an exciting meeting with the students, a musical meeting where the singers have reciprocally sung for one another.

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Tending Haiti's Dead

Dear Friends

Catherine Porter, of The New York Times (Toronto) came to Haiti to capture the tragic circumstances of death, for so many poor an marginalized people.

It led her to discover that we have been burying destitute dead for many years.

I think her article has a lot of depth and insight. It also highlights the person of Raphael Louigene, a greatly admired and loved member of our leadership team here in Haiti.

I hope this article will give deeper insight into the sufferings of the Haitian people, and more compassion for people around the world whose lives are heavily burdened, and of course, the desire to help lift their load.

Merry Christmas, soon to come.

Fr Rick Frechette CP DO

From Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving (and Isaiah to Isaiah)

Dear friends,

A little over a week ago, when I was driving across Port au Prince to help the Sisters in their clinic, I found a woman on the street in the grips of death.

She was entering a coma from eclampsia, in only her 8th month of pregnancy, and I had to act fast on her behalf, calling a friend at a private hospital to assure her a place. I paid a truck (tap-tap) to race her there, since I could not, in any way, fit her in my small off road "polaris", and there was no time to lose looking for an ambulance.

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St. Francis Reflection- from Fr. Enzo

Dear friends,

Last year on this very day, the Feast Day of St. Francis, Hurricane Matthew began to slam into the southwestern part of Haiti.  I remember the winds blowing fiercely that morning and before Mass I decided to put a statue that I bought in Assisi on the altar.

The statue is very unique, and depicts St. Francis taming the wolf of Gubbio ( a small town not far from Assisi). When I purchased it, I never could have imagined using the statue for a Hurricane.  I bought it on a visit to Assissi with Raphael, as a sign and reminder to us that evil will never prevail over good and that, as St. Francis himself said: "all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle".  My thoughts were focused on wishing for peace in Haiti.

The story of the saint and the wolf is that the wolf terrorized the inhabitants of the small Italian town.  The wolf not only killed and devoured livestock but it began to attack the people.  All attempts to kill the wolf failed and fear took over their hearts.  St. Francis heard of this and decided to confront the wolf.  The huge wolf rushed toward Francis to attack but he made the sign of the cross, called the wolf “brother” and commanded him in the name of God to stop terrorizing the town. 

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An update on Hurricane Matthew relief from Fr. Rick

Hello friends,

A brief note because of limits of time at the desk:

On Sunday evening our 4th barge load of materials left for Jeremie (Nan Roche).

We met the barge, which arrived Monday evening, and on Tuesday we unloaded all the materials, in just one day, onto small boats and to shore.

We were blessed by cloud cover without rain, which saved us from getting scorched as we usually do.

The materials include 3400 sacks of cement, 5000 cement block and 240 tons of rebar.

All of this is to build a school at St Victor, Jeremie province, which will be an additional school of the St Luke Programs.

We have also sent two caravans to the north of Haiti so far: to Anse a Foleur and Ounaminthe.

This is more challenging (very aggressive crowds), since we do not have a base there.

With each caravan we learn from the previous difficulties to find the best way to offset the challenges.

Some pictures are attached.

Thanks so much for your support!

God bless you!

Fr. Rick