Saint Vincent in Haiti
On October 18-25 we celebrated another Missionary Week. We surround those who left their homeland for the Mission Ad Gentes with prayers and fond memories!
Sr. Weronika, a Polish Sister who belongs to the Caribbean Province and serves the poor people of Haiti, shares with us how her Community honored St. Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Company of the Daughters of the Charity, on his feast day this year.
Haiti is a small, western part of the second island in the Greater Antilles archipelago (Central America) bordering the Dominican Republic, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. In 2008, there was a huge flood in the city of Gonaïves. Families lost their homes and for three months the children from these families lived with the Sisters until their parents arranged for a flat, built a house or made some makeshift quarters. Their parents also stayed with the Sisters for over a week. About 200 children however continued to come to the Sisters every week; the Sisters try to meet their spiritual and material needs.
This year, before the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the Sisters and the children prepared a Prayer Triduum where the rosary was prayed in common at 3pm; songs were also sung. In addition, the Sisters presented Saint Vincent: his life and charitable works were shared on the first day; the Companies that St. Vincent founded were then introduced and on the third day, the focus was on his spirituality. The Sisters also tried to spiritually prepare those who collaborate with the Sisters and are with them on a daily basis.
On September 27, feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the Sisters prepared a para-liturgical celebration since the priest could not be present. Nevertheless, the ceremony was very solemn. Sr. Weronika shares: “I am sure that Jesus was present because He Himself said “where two or three gather in my name, I am there with them” (Mt 18,20). Four hundred children and over 30 staff members joined us.
For the celebration, the children wore specially-made costumes, a tradition carried out every year when children wear different clothes on special occasions. They buy these with their own money so that they may beautifully present themselves before God and the people.
Every Sunday, the children gather in the Sisters’ home to pray, sing and dance; Sr. Natasza is responsible for their formation. They get to know St. Vincent, his life and his charitable works. We are glad that we can, like St. Vincent, serve the children.
St. Vincent, pray for us!
Sr Weronika, Caribbean Province
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This year, for the first time and because of health concerns and travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the Daughters of