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A Brief Culture Immersion

By Sr. Margaret Perron, RJM

Experiencing Haiti – its geography, culture, customs, and especially its people!

From November 17 – 24, I had the opportunity to accompany Monica Joseph, RJM, superior general, and Alejandra Diaz, RJM, councilor for the Americas, on their very short visit to Haiti. We visited Gros Morne, Jean Rabel; visiting the atelier to see the women at work; and visiting the first pre-school established in the area at Colette. Not only has the school grown to include grades one to six, there are at least 6 more pre-schools in small rural villages and towns. We visited Jesus Mary School in Fon Ibo where we had a wonderful presentation of the history of the school from Met Lenny and his staff, a visit to several grades, and time to watch and work with children in the computer lab. Next we visited Bon Samaritan, the home for the poor and elderly, and Alma Mater Hospital where construction of a new wing is underway. Friday we were on our way back to Port-au-Prince to visit St. Joseph workshop where prostheses and orthodics are made for and fitted to clients and to tour the grounds of Sacred Heart parish. The next day we visited the city to see the new government buildings being constructed and other parts of the city and ended the morning with a visit to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart where we enjoyed vistas of Port-au-Prince. In the afternoon we attended a meeting of the Family of Jesus and Mary, learned about their origin, and their mission in La Gonave. We welcomed each of the 14 members with an FJM pin and a prayer of Pope Francis and then enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal, with plenty of conversation and laughter.

Sunday all the RJMs met to have conversations about how and why each sister came to Haiti and why each stays; three “learnings’ from her life and ministry in Haiti; and what each sees as the three greatest needs of Haiti. And Monday, we were on our way: two to Rome via Guadaloupe and Paris, one to the US, two to Jean Rabel, two to Gros Morne! Although the trip was too short for the timeframe and a bit of a whirlwind, it was a delight to be with our sisters and to hear them share our mission and ministries with Monica and Alejandra!

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