Westborough News, July 31, 2009
Investing in Hope in
keeps link with Haitian orphanage alive
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
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
‘The kids are very respectful,” she said. “Sometimes you wish the kids
here (in America) were that respectful. They know what the expectations
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.
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
hospital has been built to serve the poorest children in the Western
Each Christmas and Easter St
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
Luke’s with a memo marked "Haiti".
Thank you for your support over the years.
2014 Christmas Letter from
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
She had not
considered the time between her leaving the tiny child in the brush,
and us finding the child at sunrise.
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
“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)
tormented me for days. I was a witness to the short
life and sufferings of this baby, whose life we tried impossibly to
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
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
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.
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
“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.
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
A Letter from Fr. Rick on the 3rd Anniversary of the
Earthquake in Haiti
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
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.
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