We reprint a letter from Father Kawas François, S.J. to the French Canada Provincial, Father Daniel LeBlond, S.J., describing the condition of the Jesuits, their residences and apostolates in Haiti after the earthquake. The letter is dated Wednesday, 13 January 2010, the day after the earthquake. Father François is the French Canada Provincial’s Delegate for Apostolic Ministries in Haiti. Of course the situation remains critical and constantly changing.
I will describe the present situation of the Jesuits in the area:
Ouanaminthe: Pedro Arrupe’s House and Apostolate (Solidarité transfrontaliére et Fe y Alegria) are not damaged. All Jesuits and lay colleagues fine. Communication by phone is impossible. I will remain in contact with them via the Internet.
Biassou: Karl Lévêque House is intact; the house was not damaged and the Jesuits are fine. The house next door was destroyed. The Jesuits are trying to rescue their neighbours.
Canapé-Vert: Ignatius Loyola House was slightly damaged and the Jesuits are fine though in shock. Houses in the neighborhood were damaged or destroyed. Father Sainfariste Dérino, S.J. was not at home at the time of the earthquake; we do not know where he is. We will try to locate him this afternoon. We are assisting our neighbors in need; many spent the night with us in the garden. We believe that Brother Charlot Mathurin, S.J. is safe in Dulagon, given that the Artibonite Region was not hit hard by the earthquake.
The Novitiate, Tabarre District, Port-au-Prince: The house was slightly damaged; the water tank on the roof collapsed and caused some destruction. The Jesuit Fathers, the first year novices and all the retreatants are well. The Rural Development Support Group (GADRU) house was destroyed. Jean-Marie and lay colleagues were able to escape from the house as the shaking began. They are safe.
As yet, we have not received news about the National Bureau of Solidarité Transfrontaliére et Fe y Alegria house on Lespinasse street, Delmas 75, or the residence that houses the CEDAR on 27, 1st Avenue du Travail, Bois Verna. Soon, we hope to have some information.
Compared to what happened throughout Haiti and particularly in Port-au-Prince, the houses and apostolates of the Society of Jesus have largely been spared. We give thanks to the Lord and to Mary, venerated in Haiti under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We look forward to hearing news about our colleague Dérino.
Thank you and see you soon!
Kawas François, S.J.
Provincial Delegate for Apostolic Ministries in Haiti
N.B. Father General has sent an initial gift of €20,000.00 from the FACSI Fund for emergency aid as he waits further information on exact needs and ways of giving assistance. Meanwhile, news has arrived that Father Dérino is alive but injured.
LETTER OF THE PROVINCIAL OF FRENCH CANADA
Les jésuites et l’aide à Haïti
The Jesuits and Aid to Haiti
Los jesuitas y la ayuda para Haití
Montréal, January 14, 2010
To all Provinces of the Society
and to all the companions who are expressing their solidarity with Haiti:
As Provincial of the Province du Canada français et d’Haïti, I first want to thank the Jesuits and the Jesuit organizations who manifested their solidarity in these times of trial in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. Thank you very much for your prayers and your desire to help.
I would also add that, right now, all the Jesuits of our Province who live in Haiti are safe, only one, Fr. Derino Sainfariste, has been hurt by a tumbling building. Our residences and works have been affected less than others although they will need some repairs and will have to get involved in helping the people they minister to.
And so, very concretely, if you want to contribute financially to the emergency efforts (we will do it through the JRS Republica Dominicana that confirmed its willingness to participate in this special effort), or to help the Jesuits in Haiti, please send your contributions:
To Missions jésuites (a bank draft with the mention: Haiti 2010), here in Montreal: 25, rue Jarry ouest, Montréal, Québec, Canada H2P 1S6
or go through the Roman Treasurer Office, asking to credit our account: GLC # 222701-6. Specifying clearly in the transfer: “Missions jésuites – for Haiti”.[If you use the Roman channel, please send us an e-mail so that we could quickly make the funds available in Haiti, at [email protected]]
Thanks again for your solidarity; of course, we will keep you informed of the use of the funds.
With my best regards,
Your companion in the Lord,
Daniel LeBlond, S.J.
Provincial – Province du Canada français et d’Haïti