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Westborough, MA 01581
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Mission Outreach
Our Little Brothers and Sisters Orphanage in Haiti

If you wish to read more news about Haiti from Fr. Rick
go to his website: www.compassionweavers.com.
The Westborough News, July 31, 2009

Investing in Hope in Haiti

Westhborough Youth Minister keeps link with Haitian orphanage alive


By Scott O’Connell
NEWS STAFF WRITER


For 10 years now, and most recently this month, Gloria Josephs has been making the trek to Haiti to visit the children of the “Our Little Brothers and Sisters” orphanage.

During her trips, the Youth Ministry Director at St. Luke’s Parish Center in Westborough has seen the Caribbean nation change under political and economic pressures. Through it all Haiti remains a dangerous country, she said, as well as impoverished, cut off from the tourism trade that benefits nearby islands like Jamaica and even its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

In the remote mountain town of Kenscoff, however, Our Little Brothers and Sisters offers hope that the next generation of Haitians’ poorest may be able to find a better life in the country. Founded by Father Rick Frechette of the U.S. 22 years ago, the orphanage has received thousands of dollars as well as supplies during the last 10 from St. Luke’s. The partnership was established through Josephs, who went to college with Frechette.

Josephs has since traveled to the orphanage annually to help out — “I do as much as I possibly can,” she said. ‘1f they need something painted, I paint.” She also hopes to relay information back to Westborough to show donators how their contributions are helping. At minimum. St. Luke’s usually donates around $5,000 per year, Josephs said, “but typically we send several more thousand, because people are generous.,’

First and foremost the money helps the orphanage’s children eat. Even though they get simple rice and bean meals-”A treat is occasionally chicken,” Josephs said - the opportunity to receive regular nourishment is one they might not have had on the outside.

The approximately 500 orphans who populate Our Little Brothers and Sisters are ‘literally abandoned children,” Josephs said, “found on the road or left at the hospital.” Handicapped children are especially likely to be cast away, since parents rarely have the knowledge or resources to raise them.

Manned by volunteers and locals, the orphanage attempts to give the children another chance at life, providing them an education and life skills. The orphans wake up at 5 in the morning every day, Josephs said, to clean their cloths, sweep their living quarters and perform other tasks.

‘The kids are very respectful,” she said. “Sometimes you wish the kids here (in America) were that respectful. They know what the expectations are.”

Even in the relative comfort of the orphanage, life is not easy, however. Electricity and naming water are rationed as they are available. And the harsh realities of life outside can be delayed only so long. “A handful at best” of the orphans go on to study at universities, Josephs said; the rest attend trade schools or enter the workforce, but “there is little opportunity for jobs.”

What really needs to happen to improve Haitians’ fortunes, Josephs said, is a drastic change in Haiti’s leadership.

“They need a real government presence,” she said. “Basically there’s no infrastructure” in the country, she added, a reality that often has been exploited by recent regimes. U.S. involvement could aid this transformation, she believes — she hoped President Barack Obama would follow former President Bill Clinton’s lead and visit the country to see what could be done.

In the meantime, Josephs said St Luke’s would continue to provide support to Our Little Brothers and Sisters.

“St. Luke’s is very onboard with this,” she said.
For over ten years now, St Luke’s has supported financially and spiritually the orphanage in Haiti. This orphanage was founded in 1987 and cares for over five hundred children. In addition, a new children’s hospital has been built to serve the poorest children in the Western Hemisphere.

Each Christmas and Easter St Luke’s sends $2500. In addition, the parish has had fundraisers to add to our donations. If you wish to make a donation, please make a check payable to St Luke’s with a memo marked "Haiti". Thank you for your support over the years.

2014 Christmas Letter from Fr. Rick

Only two weeks ago, on a cold and wet night,
at this time of the year when the darkness of solstice heralds the birth of the Savior,
a mother with nowhere to go, hovered timidly near our gate.

The night was pregnant with both danger and destiny, as was the night when Jesus was born. We ourselves were as unaware of what was happening, as was the world of 2000 years ago.

In the darkness and quiet of night, God shapes the life of a new day, and God’s instruments are dreams, inspirations, intuitions, deep rest, silent growth as we sleep.

In vain is your earlier rising, your going later to rest, you who toil for the bread you eat, when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber. (Ps 127:2)

But the shadows of night can also torment the weak and innocent, and lead one down dark paths of despair and destruction. The young mother at our gate was confused, weak and innocent, and in danger. She was only a teenager. Her pregnancy was a scandal. She didn’t know where to go. There was no room for her at any Inn.

Her story was, once again, the story of Mary, lived out so many times throughout history.

It wasn’t a jealous king that didn’t want her child to live: it was her father and her boyfriend. It wasn’t by the teeth of the dragon of Revelations, nor the sword that brutalized the holy innocents, that her child was to die, but by the instruments of abortion.

This is what was ordered for her by the men in her life, and this is what she fearfully promised to do.

It is also why she hid from them for these last few months, until she quietly had her baby.

She could not end the life of her child. She was sure she could find a way for her child to live. Now the baby was born, but found no welcome in the world. For this woman to reclaim her own place in the world, it must be without her little girl.

She hovered by our gate, as the mother of Moses had hovered over the basket holding her son, in the river.

She watched for who and how and when her baby might be saved, as Moses mother had kept her eyes downstream, on the daughter of the king, bathing in the river. She chose carefully the moment when to release the basket, letting the river carry Moses to new life.

It was different for the mother at our gate. Her choices were poor, with grave error in her calculations.

She had not considered the time between her leaving the tiny child in the brush, and us finding the child at sunrise.

She had not considered that the cold and the rain would drain all the heat from her baby. She had not considered the ants. The fire ants. The terrible fire ants.

And so the sunrise brought not the joy and promise of new life wrought by God during the night, but rather agony and death.

As Moses mother had later offered herself to the king’s court as a wet nurse for her own son, so this young mother returned later in the morning to discretely take news of her baby.

The news was terrible. The child was dead. There was lamenting and wailing in the street.

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matt 2:18)

This story tormented me for days. I was a witness to the short life and sufferings of this baby, whose life we tried impossibly to save.

I am sure this story torments you. Our sadness would be multiplied if we knew how often this happens, if we knew how tough the world still is for young women of poverty and their children.

The birth of Christ is not a story oblivious to suffering and danger. Christ was born into this suffering, as light in the midst of suffering. At first His light was a tiny infant light, which God augmented and multiplied by a dancing star and legions of angels.

In time, his light would grow, as He grew in wisdom and grace. The darkness also grew darker, and the cold grew colder, but his light would become deep and invincible.

Let us thank God together that this is the heritage given us by the Christ Child. We are the bearers of light, holding high the bright lights of faith, of hope, of love.

This is our heritage, that by each of us offering our light, we have made the darkness of night as luminous as the milky way.

And even more, when we ask God to bless the light we all hold up together, God augments and multiplies our light, until even the darkness is radiant.

“even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you, and the darkness is radiant in your sight.” Ps 139:12

Let’s thank God together that for 60 years, we at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos have build homes with this marvelous light, that we have been a beacon of hope for children in sorrow, distress and illness, and a safe haven for countless children over these decades, and their way to a stronger and happier future. Our homes are as needed today as they ever have been in our history.

But let’s also not let our guard down. While the vast majority of the children who come to us for help do not suffer tragedy at our very gate, as did the baby girl of whom I write, the forces of darkness and destruction are not at all far from the doors of our homes.

With prayers for struggling mothers and anguished children all around the world at Christmas, let us hold our lights high and together, as one light, begging for and counting on God’s blessing, as we always have.

Thank you for being light for the children of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and every blessing in the new year of grace, 2015.

Fr Rick Frechette CP
Port au Prince
December 2014

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A Letter from Fr. Rick on the 3rd Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti

Dear Friends,

On this vigil of the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti of 2010, the heaviness and the pain of those fateful days are very much with us.

It seems in general in life, as we get further away in time from a tragedy, even if the memory becomes a little more bearable with every passing year, the pain seems even sharper. Probably because we are increasingly freer of the shock more able to face the meaning of what happened.

A recent visitor to our mission told me over coffee, that when she was a child and saw a terrible tragedy on television, she went to her mother very distressed. Her mother gave her a beautiful and wise advice. She said, when something terrible happens, try to count the helpers. You never can. It is overwhelming how many people, in compassion, want to do whatever they can.

We have been marking these days prayerfully, with three days of morning and evening prayers for the dead. Tomorrow, on the anniversary, the few hundred children who are orphans from the earthquake and living in our home will process with flowers to our hospital chapel, to lay the flowers at the graves of the Sisters who died in the earthquake and are buried at our chapel. We will then celebrate mass together.

We will then join Archbishop Poulard at what used to be our cathedral for a mass of remembrance and also thanksgiving.

In the early afternoon we will go to the site of our fallen hospital, for prayers and to lay two wreaths there, one for Ryan Kloos and one for Molly Hightower, the two young, vibrant and generous volunteers of our mission who died there when our hospital fell. Attached are front and back views of the monument we built to their memory and to the memory of the few hundred thousand people that died that day. The back of the monument is a simple flame, in ceramic, the flame of eternal memory. 

Late afternoon, as the sun sets, and by candle light, we will offer mass at the site of the common graves of those whole died.

Finally in the evening, following the wise advice mentioned a minute ago, with a sure and clear eye on the multitudes of amazing people who raced to our aid, we will offer a mass of thanksgiving and hope.

On Sunday morning, mass with the children at our orphanage in the mountains, with all the same intentions.

Our deepest sympathy to the families of our volunteers, friends, employees and young graduates of our homes, whose lives changed on that day, as St Paul says, “in the twinkling of an eye”. Those who died are now sons and daughters of light and of glory, and we beg their prayers, and to share in their light.

Our deepest thanks to all who have helped us carry the burden of healing and rebuilding for these three years, who have helped us bind wounds and heal the brokenhearted, shelter the orphan and the homeless, and who have helped us strive for new years of favor. You have been instruments of abundant life, light and hope. With gratitude, and wishing you God’s blessing,

Fr Rick Frechette CP
Port au Prince
January 11, 2013