Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Salesian Connection to Haiti

Update from the Salesian Sisters in Haiti by way of Fr. Mike Mendl in New Rochelle.

Port-au-Prince (Haiti). Sadly, direct communication with the FMAs in Haiti has been impossible until now. We have received some news from the provincial of the FMA Antilles Province, Sr. Carmen Figueroa, who is in contact with Mother General Sister Yvonne Reungoat, FMA. Sr. Carmen writes that they, too, have not been able to communicate directly with the sisters in Haiti. “The two sisters from the community of Descubierta who left yesterday morning for Port-au-Prince have not returned, nor have they been able to communicate with us. They left their car and had to take public transportation. If we do not hear anything form them by this morning, another two sisters from the community of Barahona will try to get to Haiti to assess the situation. Our brother Salesians are trying obtain a helicopter. I will go with them, taking along a satellite phone (the only type that will allow for communication), and to update Mother Yvonne and the Rector Major. We are organizing a group of sisters for Friday, among whom will be Sr. Maria Esther Rosado of Puerto Rico, who has lived in Haiti and knows French, Creole, and English, and who will remain in Haiti to help the sisters. Another two sisters from the Dominican Republic, Sr. Christie and a Haitian sister presently living as a student in Santo Domingo and has family in Port-au-Prince, will also go.”

The message continues telling us that the sisters of the province are organizing collections of medicine, water, and necessary items to send a first container. They are also organizing the sending of other sisters and more help. All in Santo Domingo are mobilizing to assist the victims of this great tragedy.

Just a short time ago a volunteer from the Bread Shared organization succeeded in contacting his son who lives in Haiti close to the sisters in Cité Militaire, Port-au-Prince. The young man was able to speak with Sr. Anna D’Angela, who assured him that the five FMA sisters of the community are all right. Then the communication was interrupted, and we still do not know anything about the house or the children who lived there.

Latest News from Haiti
Rome (Italy). Mother Yvonne Reungoat is personally following the development of events from Haiti, especially for what regards the sisters and the communities. Despite the difficulty of a direct connection, a short time ago we had news of a telephone contact of Sr. Judith Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian sister student at the Auxilium in Rome, with her family living at Port-au-Prince and with the novice directress, Sr. Monise Rodney. We learn from the communication that sisters of our communities there have not suffered personal harm. The only sister who was initially taken to the hospital has been released. Furthermore, they tell us that the families of our sisters seem to be in good condition.

From the telephone contact we have come to know that presently all the Haitian sisters are working full-time without interruption at the service of the people who have been most affected. They live under “open skies,” given the practical insecurity of our houses. We can further verify the logistical situation, but especially that of those who are sheltered in our houses: students, residents, teachers, and collaborators. As an Institute we have received many signs of solidarity at the various levels and we are mobilizing to coordinate help and to intervene directly with aid at the place.