When Haiti was devastated by the infamous earthquake of 2010, the world had not seen a comparable disaster since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. It was also one of the first disasters in the age of the cell phone and instant messaging. The size of the disaster, and the ease of instant communication worldwide, sparked immediate and universal awareness, concern and mobilization to help the suffering.Read More
As Christians approach the revered celebration of the birth of Jesus, these words from a singer-poet illumine the meaning of Christmas, in a world and in a Church that are darkly and dangerously troubled:
Ring the bell that still can ring,
sing the song that still can sing,
There's a crack in everything-
that's how the light gets in.
(Leonard Cohen, "Anthem")
Sr. Judy Dohner, Sister of the Humility of Mary, arrived at NPFS Haiti in 2002.
Poor Judy. None of us knew we were about to face the worst political and social violence we would ever know in our 30 years of work here.
As you've probably seen, the last few weeks in Port-au-Prince have been turbulent and trying. As usual, Father Rick and the team have been fighting through impossible obstacles and stretching to help as many possible.
In this trying and stressful moment, some birthday wishes and support sure would help!
Two baby girls were born. Alleluia!
The gift of life.
They are 9 days old today. Each of a different family and circumstance.
In one family, this baby is so very precious. All kinds of tiny baby wardrobe already fill the drawers, the bassinet is ready, the family glows with the light of new life. The name is carefully chosen, a christening is carefully planned. The life of this new bundle of joy is offered to God.
For the second baby, the circumstances of the mother changed during her pregnancy. Her husband has left her, she has no work, she is afraid. Where she lives is riddled with violent crime, even rape. Her baby is also very precious to her, but her life is full of desperate worries.Read More
Dear Family and Friends,
I remember when I was a child, I often heard my grandmother say, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
After 39 years of priesthood, and 30 of these years as a priest and physician in Haiti, I am afraid I have seen plenty of people considerably and permanently wrecked by “what didn’t kill them.”Read More
Dear family and friends,
I know the stories I share, from my experiences with poverty, are never easy to read, but they do give important lessons about life and faith.
This story has a difficult beginning but a wonderful ending, and has a good Christmas message.Read More
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
Dear friends and family,
Just the other day, as we started the morning Advent mass, an unfamiliar and very young woman was standing in front of the St Damien Hospital chapel.
She seemed uncertain.
Go in the chapel, or not?
Speak to me, or not?
Stay, or not?Read More
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.