Stonehill Responds to Tragedy in Haiti
January 14, 2010
Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti has had a ripple effect on communities across the globe, including the Stonehill community.
While thankfully none of the College's students were in Haiti at the time, there is a large community of religious sisters, brothers, and priests from the Congregation of Holy Cross residing and ministering in the country. (To read about Haitian priest Rev. Stevenson François, C.S.C. and how he is grappling with the tragedy, visit here.)
Holy Cross leaders reported from Rome early Friday morning that massive damage has detroyed the Congregation's school, Ensemble Scolaire Basile Moreau, and provincial house in Haiti.
Several hundred students in both grade school and high school attend Ensemble Scolaire Basile Moreau, which opened in 1989 to serve the poor in Port-au-Prince.
The principal at the Congregation's high school in northern Haiti, Rev. Bernard Antoine, C.S.C., informed the Holy Cross community shortly after that the body of temporarily professed religious Emmanuel Jacques Guillaume,C.S.C., had been found under the debris at University Quisqueya where he was taking an exam.
"We are all terribly shocked by the tragic devastation that has taken place in Haiti through this powerful earthquake that has killed so many people and destroyed so much of Port-au-Prince. This poor country and her long-suffering citizens have endured more catastrophes than anyone cares to enumerate," said Superior General of the Congregation, Rev. Hugh Cleary, C.S.C. '69 earlier in the week. He noted that the Congregation would soon be organizing relief services for the people of Haiti.
One seminarian from the Congregation described the anguish surrounding the region. "I'm still dazed from the catastrophe of this earthquake that has devastated Port-au-Prince. I just woke up from a long night outdoors, sleeping alongside my scholasticate confreres, happily spared by this tragedy. Some of us had time to visit our confreres in Turgeau right after the huge jolt. They were found to be out of danger, all of them in a terrible state of shock."
Holy Cross missionaries from Canada first went to Haiti in 1944 to direct an existing secondary school in Cap Haitien. That initial mission, now called College Notre-Dame, sparked the establishment of other Holy Cross educational, social, and parochial ministries throughout Haiti, now organized as the Province of Notre-Dame du Perpetual Secours with 49 professed members, including two Holy Cross bishops, in the province along with 25 temporary professed, five novices, six postulants.
The Bishop of Gonaives in Haiti, Yves-Marie Pean, C.S.C. (pictured left), visited Stonehill in May last year to participate in the Family Rosary Festival held on campus.
Stonehill students have quickly responded to the tragedy, organizing a Facebook page and Twitter feed to help garner support for the earthquake relief effort. Sophomore Katherine Bahrawy notes that boxes will be placed inside all residence halls once students return to campus next week, which will be used to collect supplies for relief kits.
"We will also be setting up a donation jar at the Information Desk (located on the ground floor of the Roche Commons Building), and a "Postage Donation" jar in Mail Services (located on the lower level of the Roche Commons) to go towards shipping the relief kits to Haiti," said Bahrawy.
One student has completed mission work in Haiti, helping build an orphanage through the Movin With The Spirit, Inc. (MWTS). "The orphanage built by Mission Haiti is thankfully safe but needs donations to accommodate all of the orphans that will be rescued from the city," notes sophomore Emily Dunphy.
To join the Facebook group "Help Haiti At Stonehill" visit here. To subscribe to the "Stonehill4Haiti" feed on Twitter, visit here. There, you will find links and information on how you can help earthquake victims in Haiti.
In an email to the Stonehill community, Director of Campus Ministry Rev. Walter Jenkins, C.S.C. said the College will accept donations to a Haiti Relief Fund through the Office of Campus Ministry. The monies collected will be sent to the Holy Cross Mission Center at the University of Notre Dame and transferred directly to the Congregation's relief efforts in Haiti.
Those wishing to contribute to the Haiti Relief Fund should make checks payable to Stonehill College c/o Haiti Relief Fund. Checks and other monetary donations can be dropped off or sent to the Campus Ministry Office.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.