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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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 

28Sep2017

"Gaining ground after Hurricane Matthew and changing math"- From Fr. Rick

Dear Friends and Family,

Not quite a week ago, after a full day’s work, a small group of us left Port au Prince and headed for Jeremie Province (Lagombri), in the rain.

We reached the muddy river crossings past Jeremie City almost eight hours later (at 2am), and slept, sitting and crunched up in the truck until sunrise, since it is not wise to negotiate the mud rivers when you can't see.

We reached St Victor almost two hours after that, and abandoning the truck for lack or roads, continued on an off road "polaris," for another hour and a half of a hair-raising ride, on mule paths that severely tested all the mechanics of the jeepish buggy, and of our bodies. 

After two flat tires, and reaching where even mules had to give up, we continued another hour on foot. 

As we walked, the rains came again. The red mud made everything slippery, and we spent as much of our time keeping our balance as walking, and we were wet and cold and mud-stained. 

Read More

Happy Birthday Fr. Rick!

You have a limited number of heartbeats in your life; it is a finite number. And you have a limited number of steps you’re going to take in your life; it’s a finite number and it can be calculated. The question is, what is your heart beating for and where are your steps taking you?
— Fr. Rick Frechette

On August 14th, our beloved friend Father Rick Frechette will turn 64 years old.  

Anyone who has been lucky enough to meet Father Rick is inspired by him. This is a man with an extraordinary commitment to peace, justice, and service – and we believe he deserves to be celebrated.  

In honor of Father Rick, his team, and all the St. Luke Foundation has built to serve the poorest of the poor in Haiti, please join us in celebrating 64 remarkable years. 

The best part? Your generosity will be put to good use. All donations will benefit the amazing work of Father Rick and the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, whose programs include 32 schools with 12,500+ students enrolled, high-quality healthcare for 60,000 patients each year, and community outreach programs that deliver 19,500 gallons of clean water every day.  

Let’s use this opportunity to show our solidarity and give Father Rick and his team the gift of our continued love, appreciation, and much-needed financial support! Happy Birthday Father Rick! 

The Resurrection and Survivor's Guilt

Dear friends and family,

No matter how beautiful and wondrous nature around us is, no matter how glad we are to see our family, especially the newest members (the sheer joy of being with the children), no matter how many friends we have gained over the years, with whom we can let down our hair, rant and rave, cry and laugh, no matter how full is our storehouse of good memories, we are never far from tragedy and its ability to turn upside down all the good things of our lives.

When we read about Lazarus, called back to life from his tomb, we put the period on the last gospel sentence, and assume the rest is glorious.

Yet we know from the scriptures themselves that Lazarus, survivor of death and burial, was stalked by the curious (and even more so by the morbidly curious), and there were even plans to kill him, because his resurrected life gave too much credit to the claim that Jesus was Messiah. 

I remember reading a book years ago called The Last Temptation of Christ. In it, Lazarus was asked by cynics, 

"You have known both life and death. Which do you prefer?" 

He replied, "it's six of one, and half dozen of another."

Read More

Singers who lost their songs

Dear Friends,

The story of the last days of Jesus on earth tell of the very worst forms of agony any person can endure.

The story also shows, in a very painful way, the most noble way to suffer.

Later, the story happily reveals the glory that awaits those who have been baptized in the fires of life, and have not been found wanting.

Those of you who who are still grieving a childwhose life ended at the hand of another

Those of you still grieving someone you loved dearly whose life ended by their own hand,

Those of you still grieving for someone torn from your life, swiftly or slowly, in such an unbelievable awful and unfair way,

for sure you understand, with your heart, the first five, of the seven high holy days.

Maybe you also (hopefully) grieve deeply for the stranger, for the children who were just killed by sarin gas in the Bombing of the Innocents, in Syria. 

About six months ago, a popular young Haitian singer, on leaving the stage after midnight, and getting into his car on Delmas road, was hit, and run over, by a wreckless driver, who then fled the scene.

That Evans is a completely broken young man, in every conceivable sense, is the understatement of the year.

Read More