Catholic Charity Work in Haiti
Catholic Charity Work in Haiti
On January 30, 2010 Haiti suffered a severe economic setback when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of the capital city and surrounding areas. The earthquake left an already third world country’s capital city in ruin. In response to the earthquake tent cities popped up to serve the homeless, but now six years later those tents are still being used as functional homes in Port au Prince. 150 miles north in Cap-Haïtien families live on less than $3 per day. Unlike the United States people do not hold permanent jobs, the work they do get is infrequent. These circumstances force families to live on what they can in tiny shacks without water, electricity, or sanitation. It is no wonder 80% of the population lives below the poverty line: parents just cannot afford to send their children to school.
Children Feeding and Nutrition Outreach
Children Feeding and Nutrition Outreach
The Missionary Work of CFSOP
The Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, who are inspired by their Patron St. Francis of Assisi, humbly and freely offer all their works of mercy to the brothers and sisters who need it the most – all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
This religious community of dedicated missionary Sisters have headed up an extensive nutrition feeding program for more than 300 destitute children in the remote Viloux region of Haiti. For most of the boys and girls, it’s their only real meal of the day, along with their only chance at receiving vital healthcare. Viloux, an impoverished farming community, and the remote Maniche mountain areas have been impacted by natural disasters, food scarcity, violence and civil unrest, including the assassination of the president. All this on top of the recent earthquake and COVID-19 pandemic.
Sister Rita Bandola, the Administrative Director of the program, cites Mother Teresa who would often say, “If you cannot feed one hundred children, then feed one.” She adds, “This is the goal of the work that we Sisters try to achieve every day with what we have been given.”
Sister Merly in Queen of Mercy Home for the Children in Haiti.
A 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rocked Haiti
On August 14th 2021 at 8:39 in the morning, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti. The death toll has quickly rose to more than 2,000 people which includes tens of thousands of children and families on the poor island nation that have been left homeless and suffering.
Sister Rita Bandola informed Catholic World Mission that their building collapsed. The generator we purchased for them was one of the things damaged by the earthquake. They are also in the middle of a hurricane at the same time.
Tragically, one of the children they have cared for on a daily basis died and another one was injured. The Sisters and children have no place to stay now and are putting up a temporary shed for shelter.
Nutritious Meals, Clinics, and Christmas with CFSOP!
The Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor are endlessly thankful for your continuous support toward uplifting their community in Haiti! Your generosity helps the Sisters run a feeding program three times a week for 100 children who do not have an adequate source of food and potable water. They also run a mobile clinic three times a month to aid the sick residing in their community including patients affected by a cholera outbreak in the area.
The Sisters were also able to host a joyous Christmas party which included food, games, gifts, and entertainment. The children and their families had a jolly time and felt their spirits rise as they celebrated the Birth of Christ. We continue to pray they feel His love and experience the hope and light He brings.
The Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor thank YOU for showing mercy to God’s poor in Haiti. Unfortunately, the recent earthquake was followed by hurricanes and the flooding of the Mission Center. In the midst of natural disasters, violence escalated throughout Haiti, resulting in dozens of schools, medical centers, and businesses to remain closed. Many people have been struggling to find basic necessities such as food and medicine.
Despite these relentless challenges, the Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor are trusting in God’s merciful love and care to press on and be a safe haven for the poorest of the poor. The sisters have faithfully continued their Children Feeding and Nutrition Outreach Program to feed hundreds of children, a Mobile Clinic Service for essential healthcare, and an Emergency Outreach Program to care for the most devastated families.
Your generosity has shed light in some of the darkest times in Haiti, allowing the poor to be fed, find safety and security, and to be treated with dignity. Soon, the sisters plan on rebuilding the Mission Center with your continued prayers and support.
“Thank you ever so much, our beloved CWM Family and Friends, for your kind support of our ministries and works. You are God’s Light shining upon us. May the good Lord reward you a hundredfold and fill you with His heavenly blessings and peace always!”
Thanks to your abundant support, we were able to help the Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor conduct a feeding for more than 300 children! The CFSOP’s Children Feeding and Nutrition Outreach Program is on its way to resuming its mission of providing daily nutritious meals to the local children after being halted. Being able to feed these children a nourishing meal during this difficult time has been an incredible blessing, and the Sisters are endlessly grateful for your generosity.
Many of the children and families in the 68 mountain villages surrounding our Queen of Mercy Community Center and Convent in Viloux, Haiti have suffered greatly – without food. The kind sisters of CFSOP have answered their call. Their Children Feeding and Nutrition Outreach Program helps the poorest children who are in urgent need of regular meals and vital health care.
Through the generosity of donors like you, Catholic World Mission helped feed the village children 3 times a week for five months. “We implore God’s merciful care and CWM’s kindness that this work of mercy may continue through God’s goodness and support.”
COVID-19 reached Haiti in March. Its impact has reached the Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, a women’s religious order with whom the Missionaries of the Poor work closely. The pandemic has forced them to temporarily close their clinic, pause their program to feed local children, and layoff some staff. Many of the CFSOP Sisters have had to move to Jamaica to serve in a community there. Just one CFSOP, Sr. Devina, has stayed in Haiti to help the children the best she can. She asked to stay behind in Haiti because she couldn’t abandon the children. This courageous Sister needs our support!
Join us in praying for the MOP and CFSOP, and for their continued good work for the poor in Haiti and Jamaica.
“We are doing our very best to serve the community, especially at this time. Through God’s grace and friends like you, the CWM family of donors is giving us strength and hope in the midst of difficulties. You help us to continue our works of mercy among God’s poor and continue to build His kingdom. Please pray for us, especially our Haiti Mission.” – Sr. Rita Bandola, CFSOP
Serving the Poor With Dignity
Serving the Poor With Dignity
The Missionaries of the Poor
The Missionaries of the Poor were founded by Fr. Richard Ho Lung, MOP in 1981 in effort to build family and community among the poor and disadvantaged. Today the Missionaries of the Poor have over 500 vocations and serve in nine countries.
The mission in Haiti began in 1994 when a plea came from Sister Madeleine, who was the last sister serving at the Asile Communal, a home for the homeless and disabled elderly. Within four years the community transitioned into the hands of the Missionaries of the Poor. The brothers worked diligently to not only meet the needs of the elderly, but saw other needs in the community that needed to be addressed and went into action.
In Cap-Haïtien, the Missionaries of the Poor have 10 brothers, and three pro-novices discerning the vocation to religious life. They have opened three more homes for the community and serve over 200 people among them, many of whom are ill or disabled. Your support of the Missionaries of the Poor in Cap-Haïtien today will allow the brothers to continue serving the poor with dignity.
The Apostolate Communities
The Missionaries of the Poor run four communities on the property in Cap-Haïtien that serve 200 people:
- Asile Communal serves 120 elderly and homeless residents who have been abandoned by their families.
- St. Joseph Home serves 45 special needs children who rely on the brothers for everything.
- Nazareth Home currently serves 15 boys.
- Bethlehem Home, which opened in 2010 to serve HIV/AIDS patients. The 20 residents here are adults and children who have become too frail to care for themselves.
Most of the people that live in the MOP homes have been abandoned by their families because they could not afford to care for them due to their conditions and special needs. Many of the children are physically and mentally disabled while many of the adults in the elderly home suffer from Alzheimer’s, and other psychological conditions. There is no hospital in the surrounding region that serves people with mental disabilities so the brothers do their best to serve them.
The fate of the elderly and the children can seem so grim, but the Missionaries of the Poor serve with such love – they only wish they can serve them even more faithfully.
Feeding the Hungry
With 200 residents there are many hungry mouths to feed. The cost per meal is 25 cents. At three meals a day for over 200 residents and staff including the brothers, and volunteers it costs the brothers $225. With so many mouths to feed each day there is little room in their budget for much else. With your generous support of $50 the brothers can feed the residents one healthy meal. For $150 you provide 600 meals for our brothers and sisters in Christ!
The Cap-Haïtien Community
Your support to help provide meals does not just stay within the walls of the community though, it travels to over 1000 locals from Cap-Haïtien who on average eat one meal a day. Sometimes the brothers go weeks without helping feed the community because there is only enough for the residents. They do not often have leftovers to provide for the hungry children that come begging every Wednesday for one more meal. It breaks the missionary brothers’ hearts to deny so many people food, but there are some weeks there is just not enough food for everyone they wish to serve.
See more photos of the Missionaries of the Poor’s community outreach below:
A Day with the Missionaries of the Poor
The Missionaries of the Poor rise at 5:30 every morning, to serve the vast needs of the residents in the community. Mass is celebrated early in the morning and then the brothers prepare breakfast. The brothers then feed the members of the community bound to wheelchairs who cannot feed themselves. After sending children to school in the morning, the missionaries focus on the elderly residents and take them on adventures like jumping in the ocean during the day. After lunch, the brothers and volunteers bathe members of the community and clean off their mattresses that may have been soiled in the night. Many members in the community cannot care for themselves and the Missionaries of the Poor are such a gift to the elderly and the disabled children.
You can see the joy the Missionaries of the Poor bring the community.
You, too, can be part of this joy today by supporting our mission to serve the poor Haiti!
A volunteer of the Missionaries of the Poor Community
Oscar serves as a tour guide, electrician, plumber and all around handy-man for the Missionaries of the Poor. Every morning Oscar comes out to the Asile Communal to begin his day helping around the mission, beginning with mopping all the buildings. Since he started serving as a lay person alongside the Missionaries of the Poor at Cap-Haïtien the brothers have seen Oscar grow in his Catholic faith. Thus, Missionaries of the Poor have impacted Oscar so positively he has brought up his three daughters to be faithful Catholics as well.
A Bethlehem Home resident served by the Missionaries of the Poor
When Bonne was just eight years old he was brought to the Missionaries of the Poor by the police. They had found him roaming the streets and quickly realized he was mentally disabled. Instead of turning him back over to the streets where he could be easily preyed on by gangs and criminals, the police knew he would be safest with the Missionaries of the Poor. The brothers found out that Bonne’s mother had abandoned him. His mental condition was too much for her to handle and his medical care had become too expensive. With nowhere to turn, she made the heartbreaking decision to leave him to the streets to care for himself. In the beginning Bonne was restless and unhappy with the Missionaries of the Poor, crying day and night. Once he realized the missionary brothers were helping him he improved. Now the brothers take him to therapy at the psychiatric hospital three hours away to receive treatments twice a month where he has been able to relax his tense mental state. The brothers teach Bonne the Catholic faith, and he is beginning to thrive in such a loving community.
Fr. John Engay Funtanares, MOP
Missionary of the Poor
Missionary of the Poor Fr. John joined the religious order on March 25, 1995. Originally from the Philippines, Fr. John was ordained in 2011 in Haiti. He has been serving alongside the poor in Cap-Haïtien since 2000. We asked Fr. John what the biggest impact he has seen the mission have on the community in Haiti and he replied, “(This) mission gives hope to the people seeing and knowing that someone is there for them and suffers with them in their pains.” Fr. John shared that the volunteers who come to the community have so many different backgrounds and work and live among them day in and day out and it has helped them learn what family truly means.
CWM board members Nick Donnelly and Oscar Tanaka led a men’s mission trip to Haiti in Fall 2018 for a week of service and prayer. Their main focus was repairing the roof of one of the buildings, but they also got to spend lots of quality time with the residents. Check out the photos below!
Stephanie Lange joins FSU’s Catholic Students on Spring Break trip to Haiti
CWM’s Operations Manager recently got to visit the MOP compound in Cap-Haïtien with a group of FSU students who generously used their spring break to go on a mission trip. Stephanie and the FSU students spent their week in Cap-Haïtien joining the brothers in prayer and work. They got to help care for the 200 residents and play with the children.
Stephanie also got to talk to the brothers about what their current needs are, and how Catholic World Mission can help them as they serve Haiti’s poor and forgotten.
A big thank you to our donors for all the ways you’ve blessed and supported the Missionaries of the Poor in Haiti over the years. Please continue to pray for them. Pray also for the FSU students who got to visit Haiti, that they would always carry a missionary zeal in their hearts and continue to grow deeper in their faith for their whole lives.
Donors Fund New Beds for 200 Residents
Thanks to your amazing support, the Missionaries of the Poor in Haiti were able to buy all needed materials and build new beds for their residents!
You may recall that the need for new beds and mattresses was extreme–old frames were rusted and falling apart, and the 20-year-old mattresses were stained and soaked in bodily fluids. But thanks to you, the residents have new beds and mattresses.
Thank you for upholding the dignity of the Cap-Haïtien residents with the gift of new beds!
The Gift of a Eucharistic Monstrance
Missionaries of the Poor in Haiti have been longing for the intimate worship of Jesus present in the Eucharist. Their request to Catholic World Mission became known in 2014, around the same time that requests came from Ghana for Eucharistic Monstrances. The Eucharistic Monstrance is a golden adorned vessel used for the public display of the consecrated Eucharist for worship in the form of prayer. The gift of the Eucharistic Monstrance will foster opportunities for the community to strengthen their relationship with God through Eucharistic Adoration – a deep rooted and profound Catholic tradition, that brings worshipers into the true presence of Jesus through the exposed Blessed Sacrament.
This gift to the Missionaries of the Poor couldn’t have come at a better time. The brothers are deeply thankful for the blessings to their community, and for the generosity of the Catholic World Mission family.
Click through the photos below to see more about each update!
Supplied Food and Other Essentials for People
Supplied Food and Other Essentials for People
Haiti is a perfect example of how disaster perpetuates poverty. The devastation resulting from the 2010 earthquake has permanently affected Haiti. Tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes still live in Tent Cities throughout the country. Regnum Christi Missionaries plan to address the plague of perpetual poverty through providing opportunities for education and employment.
Tent Cities in the Port Au Prince area started out as temporary living quarters for victims of disaster, but have become permanent homes. They are homes without an official address and with little or no government support. 25,000 men, women, and children reside in the cramped village of Tent City, Acra, where unemployment is 90% and children have no access to school.
The combination of poverty, lack of employment and education, inadequate living quarters and little access to healthcare is the perfect storm for generational poverty.
Regnum Christi’s Mission
Mission Youth is an apostolate of the Regnum Christi Movement which was started by the Legionaries of Christ. Mission Youth is dedicated to the welfare of the people of Tent City, Acra. Searching outside the box for solutions to complicated problems, the missionaries have sought out teachers who are residents of Tent City to serve as educators for the children of the village. Refurbishing an old make-shift temporary structure, the missionaries have fabricated a school house, built furniture and provided supplies for the children and teachers. Catholic World Mission is pleased to support the work of Mission Youth in Haiti.
Missionaries hope that a structured school program will provide opportunities for children who have spent their time in aimless activities while their parents roam the streets looking for work.
Thanks to Catholic World Mission donors, missionaries have been able to pay teachers directly for their work in the Tent City school house. CWM donations also allowed for purchases of supplies for missionaries to build school desks and benches, as well as beds for the residential areas. The dual benefit of providing both employment opportunities for some Tent City residents, as well as education for the children residing there, is an offering of hope for these victims of natural disaster.
The work in Tent City, Acra, has just begun for these missionaries, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the tens of thousands of people living there.
Haiti Missionaries supplied food and other essentials for people in Tent City. Missionaries from Mission Youth, a Regnum Christi apostolate, and Legionaries of Christ priests made the trip possible. Read the report on their Holy Week trip.