Friday, November 28, 2008


Last Saturday, Sisters Julian, Miriam, and Elizabeth of the Community of St. Mary, Sewanee, and a group of dedicated workers from Church of the Brethren in West Virginia returned from their mercy trip to the Faith/Hope/Love Infant Rescue Home in Port au Prince, Haiti. The headliner for the report of their trip was: “WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM INSTALLED AND WORKS!”

Sister Elizabeth, for whom this was the first journey to Haiti, reported that veteran workers, Sisters Miriam and Julian, felt that the atmosphere in this ravaged country had improved – people were not as fearful and were out in the parks in Port au Prince. “There is still the poverty, but there is movement in a positive direction, and the UN presence is a plus, according to Haitians to whom we spoke,” Sister Elizabeth said. Sister Elizabeth, always a cheerful presence at the Convent at Sewanee, must have been part of this positive atmosphere in which 18 people ministered. She said that her group could have been on Prime Time TV for Home Improvement!

Frank, a technician from Monteagle who is also a veteran in foreign outreach, especially LEAMIS in Africa, flew down with the Sisters to install the Water Purification Project and trained workers to maintain it. The rescue crew tackled home repairs, from fixing electrical problems to plumbing. Sister Dorothy Pearce, who runs the orphanage, had been operating sans car, and a group of men repaired it so that she now has transportation for the infants. Rooms were cleaned, painted and decorated, yard work done, shelves built, and cribs painted in red, blue, and yellow colors to brighten the disposition of all the infants. Twenty-two infants were rocked and cared for by “nannies” during the visit of the Sisters and Church of the Brethren members.

Sisters Miriam and Julian shopped in Haiti for baby food, rice, diapers, flour, juices, fans, etc. “However, after we left Haiti and even before,” Sister Miriam wrote, “I kept finding money in my suitcase, in my pockets, in my backpack, and when I began counting, $1,099 turned up as we returned home. Also two checks for $320 for the water project came in.” I teased Sister Miriam about having another calling as a banker – she is a magnet for money when it comes to fund-raising for outreach. The remaining funds will be used as seed money for next year’s trip to Haiti.

The good Sisters took many photographs, and Sister Julian, an expert on Power Point, is creating a presentation, using all the photos of the infants and completed work projects. This group of 18 workers accomplished all of the above in one week. The Sisters of St. Mary, beloved to all at Sewanee, have touched so many lives with their spiritual work at the Convent, and these three Religious who ventured to Haiti are exemplary servants who blessed this orphanage and 22 infants with their love and care. They send messages of thanksgiving in this Thanksgiving season to all who donated to the Haiti project.

The photograph is of Poutchino, one of the children at the orphanage, after he suffered a seizure and received medication. Taken from
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