By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press
Two students and the parents of two other students from the Worcester Diocese’s education program in Haiti were killed during Hurricane Matthew, Sister Marie-Judith Dupuy reported this week.
The Sister of St. Anne who directs the Haitian Apostolate that runs the program said she was still trying to get information about other students and their families. Various agencies in Haiti are reporting that more than 1,000 people there have died as a result of the hurricane.
Sister Marie-Judith, who is in Worcester, spoke of the destruction, how people can help and how she appreciates benefactors’ concern.
Other local Catholics involved with missions in Haiti also talked about responses to the devastation.
Hurricane Matthew caused severe damage in Haiti Oct. 4, especially in the Les Cayes Diocese, with which the Worcester Diocese has a twinning relationship.
In response to a request from the bishop of Les Cayes, Cardinal Chibly Langlois, Bishop McManus last week asked for prayers and a special collection in parishes.
That collection is being held over the next few weeks, and numbers are not yet in, said Raymond L. Delisle, chancellor and director of the Office of Communications.
Sister Marie-Judith said the hurricane killed Christa Senat and Memose Ado, and the parents of Julner and Etienne Sipridieu.
The Sisters of St. Anne sponsored Ms. Senat, who graduated from vocational school last June, she said.
Sister Elaine Potvin, SSA, director of religious education at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in West Boylston, sponsored Ms. Ado. A 22-year-old in grade 11, she leaves her younger sister and their father, who raised them after their mother died young, Sister Marie-Judith said.
“Memose was the whole hope of the family,” she said. “She used to give me so much help at the Christmas party (for sponsored students). She was so mature.” Now that’s all lost, she said.
Sister Pauline Laurence, a co-leader of the Sisters of St. Anne, sponsors Etienne, a 15-year-old in grade 5, Sister Marie-Judith said. She said “Leaders of Tomorrow” from Shrewsbury had sponsored Julner, a 12th-grader who needs a new sponsor.
Sister Marie-Judith said she has her co-workers in Haiti trying to find out about all the students and their families.
Many benefactors called her to ask about the students they sponsor, she said.
“My dream was always to create a loving connection” between people in the two dioceses, she said. “This concern confirms the meaning I wanted to give to the education program.…
“I want to apologize for taking so long to send them a report,” she said; communication in Haiti is lacking and she wants to be sure reports are accurate.
Backpacks that sponsors and others packed for the students this summer arrived in Les Cayes Tuesday and are being stored, Sister Marie-Judith said. Schools were destroyed, so students aren’t in school now, she said.
Twinning parishes also suffered. Roofs were stripped from the church, school and convent at St. Michel Parish in Roche-a-Bateau, which twins with St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury, Sister Marie-Judith said. The church hall was destroyed, the dispensary looks OK but probably sustained damage, and the mission chapel, which had two classrooms, was destroyed, she said.
St. Mary’s November trip to help there was cancelled, she said. When they do go, Father Serge Denis, St. Michel’s pastor, wants them to do construction for St. Joseph’s School, the mission’s school.
She said that this week she learned there is much water damage in Kay Sen Pol, the Worcester Diocesan mission house.
Contaminated water has led to an increase in cholera and people are starving because crops were destroyed, Sister Marie-Judith said. She said monetary donations would enable her to buy water purifiers and help people get food, which the sisters and her other helpers can get to the intended destinations.
For more information contact Sister Marie-Judith Dupuy or Marie Pascale Duplan Montfort at 508-929-4310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Like Brit
Since Hurricane Matthew, Be Like Brit has received about $35,000 from around the country, said Cherylann Gengel, who built an orphanage with her husband, Len, in memory of their daughter Brittany, a victim of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Hundreds of people dropped off donations at their center in Worcester Saturday and Monday, she said.
Be Like Brit will continue accepting donations at belikebrit.org for hurricane victims or whoever needs them. She said these donations are not for the orphanage in Grand Goave, which sustained little damage in the hurricane. Neighbors’ homes were damaged and they lost belongings, she said.
Pwoje Espwa Sud
Since the hurricane, Pwoje Espwa Sud (Project Hope South), an orphanage near Les Cayes, has received about $160,000, more than the usual amount of donations, said Kenneth Graff, of St. Joseph Parish in Charlton. He is a member of the board of directors of Free the Kids, which raises money for Espwa.
He takes a group from St. Joseph’s to help Espwa annually.
Deacon Peter and Linda Faford, also of St. Joseph’s, who have worked extensively at the orphanage, were headed back there this week, Deacon Peter announced at Mass Sunday.
Espwa has estimated that it needs $1-1.5 million for rebuilding according to code standards, redigging wells and redoing wiring and plumbing, Mr. Graff said.
“I would absolutely love to speak to anyone who is a corporate donor,” Mr. Graff said. Individuals can donate online at freethekids.org.
He said the girls’ homes withstood the hurricane, but 60 percent of the homes in the boy’s village are uninhabitable, and the other 40 percent also lost their roofs.
Goals include building new, sturdier children’s homes, and helping neighbors rebuild their homes, he said. Because of the destruction, 300 neighbors are living at the orphanage, he said.
The orphanage’s schools are unusable, and school supplies were destroyed, so students cannot attend school for the foreseeable future, Mr. Graff said.
There are also plumbing problems and concerns about contamination of water.
Medical clinic up and running again
By William T. Clew | The Catholic Free Press
The Forward in Health medical clinic in Haiti, which sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Matthew, is back up and running and giving free care to those who need it, according to Dr. John Mulqueen of Gardner.
Dr. Mulqueen and his wife, Paula, a registered nurse, founded the nonprofit Forward in Health in 2006.
Dr. Mulqueen said the clinic, outside of Les Cayes, is preparing to care for more people. He said the hospital in Les Cayes lost its roof, was flooded and is not in operation. The hurricane did heavy damage to homes in surrounding villages. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 people in those villages may move into Les Cayes.
Mr. Mulqueen said the clinic, Klinic Fonfred, in Fonfred, will offer free care for the foreseeable future.
He said doctors, nurses and staff from the clinic have been clearing downed trees from roads in the area to make access to the clinic easier.
Dr. Mulqueen said two water tanks that supplied water to the clinic were destroyed but a back-up system is operating so the clinic has clean water. Medical supplies were lost to water damage when the roof was blown off the room where they were stored. Other rooms also suffered water damage.
Sections of a 10-foot-high security wall around the clinic fell during the storm and are being repaired, he said. Hurricane winds also took down the clinic’s antenna and its internet access has been lost.
He said the homes of many of the staff were damaged and the Forward in Health board of directors has given money, in addition to their paychecks, to make repairs.
A security guard at the clinic and a staff member’s family of five have lost their homes and are living in the clinic guest house.
He said a team of doctors and nurses from local hospitals will go to Haiti when needed.
Dr. Mulqueen estimated that the clinic will need $50,000 to $80,000 to pay for treatment of patients and repairs. He said Forward in Health will be responsible for half of that amount. It shares responsibility for the clinic with Gafkov Clerge Foundation, a Haitian-American organization.
He said the Gardner Rotary Club is planning a fund-raiser. People also may access the clinic’s website – forwardinhealth.org – to make donations.