Haiti: the 16th FMA Community Opens
Haiti: the 16th FMA Community Opens
Anses-ã–Pitres (Haiti). In her letter of September 2015 on the migrants, Mother Yvonne Reungoat had said, “The poor cannot wait”. These words echoed strongly in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Haiti, when the new Provincial, Sr. Aline Nicolas, took the initiative of responding to the invitation to turn our attention to the migrant situation. She interested herself with Anses-à-Pitres, a town at the confines of the Dominican Republic where the deported/migrants had set up camp. Less than a year later, Mother General answered ‘yes’, giving her permission to open a new community under the protection of St. John Paul II.
On August 30, 2016 a delegation of 21 sisters, mostly community animators, 4 Novices, 3 members of the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Alphonsus of Liguri, the titular Judge of Jacmel City, Madam Adline Dougé, and other friends of the Province accompanied Sr. Aline Nicolas to Anses-à-Pitres to celebrate the inauguration.
On August 31, commemoration of our Founder St. John Bosco, the ceremony began with the procession of the members of the new community: Sr. Marie Lucia Joseph, Animator, Sr. Altina Altiné, Sr. Antoinette Guillaume and Sr. Phénise Lauture, accompanied by the Provincial of Haiti, two Council members, and Sr. Basilia Ramirez, Provincial of the Antilles Province. They were followed by the priests of the South East Haiti Diocese: Msgr. Sauveur Content, Vicar General of the Diocese; Fr. André Léveillé, Vice Chancellor and Diocesan Director of Pastoral; Fr. Bertrand Dieuveille, Director of Caritas and Diocesan Economer; Fr. Armand Chéry, Pastor of Mussac Parish; Fr. Marc Stanley Rousseau, of the Pastoral Center of Jacmel; Fr. Edvard Jeudy, of Anses-à-Pitres City; Fr. Jean Baptiste Withney, Salesian of Don Bosco, Delegate of the SDB Provincial; Fr. Jean-Paul Mésidor; and Fr. Luc Léandre, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The celebration was animated by the youth choir of the Parish.
Sr. Adline Clergé, Provincial Councilor and Director of Novices, guided the various moments of the ceremony. It began with the reading of the decree of erection of the new community sent by Mother General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat; then the pastoral letter of Msgr. Launay was read through the words of Fr. André Léveilléin, who manifested the joy for the gift of the Salesian Sisters at Anses-à-Pitres. He presented the commitment of each one and their responsibility for the full success of each reality of this mission and the good of all those who live in this area and in the surrounding areas of Belle Anse, natives, young and less young migrants.
In his homily, Msgr. Content explained the charismatic motivation of the Sisters’ arrival at Anses-à-Pitres, which is the “arrival of a young boy born in 1815, named John Bosco, and of a dream; and thanks to the generosity of a girl named Mary Domenica Mazzarello”. Msg. clarified the deep meaning of the educational work of the Sisters according to the Salesian charism, inviting the young, the children, the adults to approach the community without fear and to participate in the activities of the school, of the Patronage, of the professional centers, of the groups, of the pastoral, and of all the initiatives that respond to the Salesian charism.
At the end of the ceremony, Sr. Aline Nicolas officially presented the new community to the People of God, explaining the meaning of their work. She thanked everyone for their presence. She presented the sisters of the Antilles Province (Santo Domingo, Cuba, and Puerto Rico), who expressed their joy at participating in the inauguration of this nearby community that augurs an open, serene, and fruitful collaboration.
The Vice Chancellor of the Diocese, Fr. André Léveillé, explained the juridical meaning of having a house in the diocese and the statute of the community in a territory according to Canon Law and the concordat of 1860 signed by the Church of Haiti and the State. After this, Fr. Léandre Luc, Pastor, shared his joy and emotion inviting the choir to sing the Canticle of Simeon, “Now let your servant go…your people are rejoicing…to bring your marvels…” He invited the people to let themselves be helped; the children to let themselves be loved; and the young to let themselves be conquered by the joy, welcome, dynamism, charity, and solidarity that he himself had experienced from the sisters, and let themselves be formed in everything.
After the ceremony, the priests and sisters; friends and benefactors went to the new house of the sisters for the official blessing. Fr. Content blessed and incensed all the rooms of the house, the objects for worship and service. After this, lunch was served for everyone in the Parish house. In the afternoon, some sisters were able to visit the City of Anses-à-Pitres and of Pedernales in the Dominican Republic.
In the evening, Sr. Aline Nicolas pronounced the prayer of installation of the Animator of the work, Sr. Maria Lucia Joseph, imploring the power of the Holy Spirit on her and on the sisters who will collaborate with her in this new community for the coming of God’s Kingdom in this portion of the Church that needs to bring God to everyone, especially to the migrants and the displaced who have so much need of understanding God’s love for them notwithstanding the difficult situation in which they find themselves now.
On September 1, during the Mass, the 81 years since the arrival of the first Salesian missionaries in Haiti was remembered. Fr. Luc Léandre thanked Mother Yvonne and her Council and the sisters of the Province. Fr. Edvard, son of the land of Anses-à-Pitres, retraced a bit of history and the numerous steps taken to have religious in his native city. Today, three congregations are present: the Brothers of St. Alphonsus, the Dominicans of Fatima, and the Salesians. Fr. Jean Baptise highlighted that with the FMA, the whole Salesian Family is present: the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB); the Salesian Cooperators (SS CC); the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA); the Past Pupils (AA.EE). The Provincial said: “Behold the Sisters”, and I add, behold the Salesian Family. We are all one family. The presence of one member shows that of all the others. When you see the young people arrive in our parish, you will understand better”.