When violent demonstrations spread through Haiti and reached Jacmel, Felician Mission: Haiti received calls about a ransacking at Caritas International — a nearby partner organization. The U.S. Embassy urged the Felician Sisters to leave the country, not only for their own safety but for the safety of their brothers and sisters at the mission. Instead of packing immediately, Sisters Marilyn Marie Minter, Inga Borko, Julitta Kurek, and Izajasza Rojek decided to focus first on securing means to continue the operations of the mission. Through empowering staff and working with local partners, Felician Mission: Haiti continues to provide medications, food, and fuel, even after the sisters’ temporary departure.
Felician Mission: Haiti has, from its beginning, worked to empower the Haitians it serves, and this approach has helped to keep the mission running during the current political crisis. The Mother Angela kitchen has never stopped feeding people and continues to provide for all those who work in the mission. Additionally, those who come to the gate to beg for sustenance always receive something to eat — oil, rice, or beans. In contact with clinic workers at least 3 times per week, Sr. Marilyn continues to manage the Mother Angela mobile clinic from the U.S. The clinic continues to operate, making 60,000 visits each year.
Sr. Inga, in the meantime, continues to oversee school sponsorship. With local partner, Annette, Sr. Inga makes sure that school tuition and exam fees are paid. Felician Mission: Haiti currently sponsors 110 teenagers and children, who would not otherwise be able to attend school, providing varying levels of support that include tuition, school supplies, uniforms, and exam fees. “We work with people who could not go to school if we did not help them. So we never stopped even for a moment,” says Sr. Inga. “Schooling demands a lot of work, but it is the best way to empower people.”
The sewing school had to stop temporarily, but Srs. Julitta and Izajasza–in collaboration with Junior, a graduate of the sewing school–are finishing the last few classes to help the current cohort of students to complete their education. Even the computer lab, which couldn’t be used for 2 months because violent demonstrations interrupted internet service, recently has reopened. The sisters look forward to re-starting their online English tutoring program.
For now, Sr. Izzy has returned to her home province in Poland and is working to support Ukrainian families who have fled their country for safety. Sr. Julitta is studying English in New Jersey. Sr. Inga and Sr. Marilyn will relocate temporarily to Little Miami, to minister to the marginalized Haitian immigrant population.
Visit the Felician Mission: Haiti blog at feliciansistershaiti.com to follow new about the progress Haitians are making to keep hope and faith alive.