The Gardens of Haiti: Immersion Trip Reflection
|Matt and students in rural Haiti|
There was a strong spiritual dimension to our time in Haiti. On three mornings we celebrated Mass at the convent of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa. We also joined the Sisters at their clinic. Inside the clinic is a room that contains 44 cribs and in each crib is a malnourished infant. The infants’ mothers bring their babies to the clinic because they have no food for them and their tiny bodies show signs of starvation. I spent two hours holding and feeding these babies. My experience with the Missionaries of Charities was Eucharist, pure and simple: We gathered for Mass and then were sent to the clinic to somehow be Christ to others. As Catholics, we gather to be sent. This is who we are and what we do whether we live in Pleasanton or in Haiti.
|Fr. Frank (center) discusses parish twinning|
Port au Prince is a city that is home to one-third of the country’s 11 million people. The population density is overwhelming -- so much traffic and so many people in such a small space. In addition to experiencing Port au Prince, we spent two days with three nuns who live and minister to families in rural villages. These nuns showed us a school where tuition is less than $10 a year. We also saw two orphanages: one which houses and schools 53 girls; the other, an orphanage that focuses on orphans with mental illnesses and special needs. To say that we saw some heartbreaking stuff would be an understatement.
|Sr. Dianne (left) with the group at a school|