While preparing for a weeklong immersion trip to Haiti, Sister Lynn Miller packed a stack of drawing paper and dozens of newly sharpened colored pencils into her suitcase.
She returned home with a collection of colorful flowers that were hand-drawn by the girls who are sponsored by the Canadian and U.S. Federations of the Sisters of St. Joseph through the program, Rebuilding Haiti through the Empowerment of Girls.
Anticipating the language barrier in Haiti, Sister Lynn said “I felt that art would transcend the anticipated language barrier, and it would be
a way that the girls could share something of themselves with the Federations.”
Sister Lynn was part of a seven person delegation from the U.S. Federation who had an opportunity to not only meet the sponsored girls, but to also see firsthand how the commitment of Mission Haiti, Inc., is making a positive difference in the lives of the people.
In contrast to the exuberance of the sponsored girls at Annunciation School who danced and sang for the visitors, two haunting encounters have lingered withSister Lynn. While visiting St. Rose de Lima School, she met Restavek teen-agers whose families are so poor that they are given or sold to strangers who “promise” to provide them with a better life. Instead, the children enter a life of “modern-day slavery.”
“I felt like they were clothed in such a deep vulnerability,” Sister Lynn says. “Yet there they were, teen-agers possessing nothing but a desire to learn.”
Another transformative experience for Sister Lynn occurred when she visited the babies at the Missionaries of Charity Health/Wellness Center.
“We held and fed the little ones who had been brought there because of the severity of their malnutrition. There were 25 cribs lined up next to each other in each room. We encountered sweet, helpless little children who were crying or lethargically laying there with their distended weakened bodies,” she recalls.
Sister Lynn was drawn to one “precious beyond words” little boy, whom she cradled and fed. Recognizing that he was still hungry, she observed how the frail child exerted himself from the crib, leaned next to the adjoining crib, and eventually
was fed the food that the other child was not able to consume.
“As I left, my prayer was that the problem-solving skills that I had just witnessed with my new friend would continue to develop throughout his life,” Sister Lynn says. “My dream for him is simply to live in a world that enables him to follow his heart’s desires that are grounded in justice, generosity, and love.”
Sister Lynn’s natural inclination to meet the needs of vulnerable children is characteristic of her long-time ministry. For more than 20 years, she and Sister Sandy Kiefer have co-directed the Congregation’s foster care program for 85 children.
In her gut and heart, Sister Lynn has always felt a longing to visit Haiti, and attributes this desire as one of God’s many gifts to her.
“The encounters of the week continue to churn in my mind and grateful heart. It can be a challenge to be optimistic in the face of such oppression and injustice,” Sister Lynn says.
“On the other hand, I know that what the Canadian and U.S. Federations of Sisters of St. Joseph
have committed to, through Mission Haiti, is a clear sign of hope and the embodiment of the gratuitous and extravagant love of God.”
Help educate our girls with the purchase of notecards
By purchasing a pack of notecards, you are helping us reach our goal of $25,000 and you are helping to rebuild Haiti.
Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the U.S. and Canadian Federations of Sisters of St. Joseph made a commitment to help rebuild the country by educating girls, who are considered the most vulnerable of Haiti’s citizens.
The Federations have pledged $325,000 by the year 2022. So far, a total of $169,743.91 has been raised. We have pledged to raise $25,000 to help educate 10 girls, certify six teachers and rebuild one school. Through the generosity of friends who have contributed to our annual “Lenten Journey to Haiti,” we have raised $23,412.86.