Joy flourishes in the heart of sorrow
Joy flourishes in the heart of sorrow
Port-au-Prince ( Haiti ). “On March 13, 2010 the province of ‘Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours' welcomed the visit of Mother General, M. Yvonne Reungoat”. The Sisters from Haiti write telling us of their experience of the arrival of Mother Yvonne.
“After 2 p. m., the FMA from around Port au Prince gathered in the provincial house to welcome Mother. Shortly afterwards the Salesian Provincial, Fr. Ducange Sylvain, arrived to add to the joy of the celebration. At 6 p.m. Mother had not yet arrived and we were still waiting. We knew that she was already in Haiti , but was delayed by a traffic jam near the airport. Thank God, the blockage eased round 6:30 and you can imagine our joy when Mother arrived among us. Our joy burst into song, dance, smiles and moments of animation.
Our country is suffering and we all suffer, but now our joy is greater than our pain. Knowing that we have the Institute within our walls, we cannot hide the happiness of this moment.
After the greetings and songs of welcome, the Provincial, Sr. Marie Claire Jean, addressed a few words to our Mother, to express the sentiments of our hearts on this occasion.
‘I have seen the misery of my people who are in Egypt , says Yahweh, I have heard their cry. Yes I know their anguish and I have come down to free them!' (Ex 3, 7-8). «Dear Mother, these words of the Sacred Scripture have been fulfilled for us», Sr. Marie Claire began. She continued speaking of their sense of joy and gratitude for the gift of a presence that was balm to the still open wounds caused by the earthquake of January 12 last. Sr. Vilma Tallone, who was sent by Mother Yvonne had already brought comfort. Now, the presence of Mother General brought a happiness that could not be contained! Only love could suggest such gestures, and this love touched the heart of every Sister very deeply.
Sr. Marie Claire then recalled that the Province is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the presence of the FMA in Haiti this year and everyone had wanted to have Mother Yvonne present to thank the missionaries (some of whom were French) who planted the Salesian charism in this country. The tragedy of the earthquake had put an end to all plans, but it did not cancel Mother's visit. In fact, it caused her to anticipate it. “Our gratitude” she continued, “will strengthen us in our commitment to serve the young and the not so young and to tell them that God is present, even in the heart of this situation, to urge us on to continue proclaiming His name with optimism”.
At the end of her greeting, Mother Yvonne, thanked everyone for the welcome and expressed how she felt during the long wait to be able to see her sisters who had been very much in her heart since the tragedy. She noted how the catastrophe had awakened immense solidarity in our religious Family. Her presence also carried this meaning: it represented the whole Institute that is close and shares in the sense of loss and in the hopes of the Sisters of Haiti. She then greeted our Salesian brothers, the young people and all those present and thanked them all in advance for the possibility of living moments of sharing and of family life.
«It was getting late – the report continues – and the Sisters of the other communities had to go to their own houses. Those of the provincial house accompanied Mother to the chapel and then to the dining room to share a simple meal”. In the Haitian tradition, guests are offered the most precious things. But in order to have a safe night this meant a tent, because not all the rooms are liveable and the fear of further tremors is still great. So “our tents were increased by one, because Mother has planted her tent among us!”