Haiti Mission

The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace was founded in 1884 in Nottingham England. A few months later, we expanded our ministry presence to New Jersey. A few years later, we went out to the Pacific Northwest. 125 years later we're still based in those three places. But we also have a presence in El Salvador, and as of tomorrow ... Haiti!

Sisters Ann, Maureen and Marilee were missioned today at a community assembly in New Jersey. Ann and Maureen are from the UK, Marilee is from out west. They will be starting a new ministry of CSJP presence in Haiti.

Our initial ministry presence in El Salvador began during their civil war - at our 100 anniversary mark. At our Chapter last summer, we decided that we wanted to start a new ministry of presence in honor of our 125th.

In Haiti, our Sisters will be a peaceful presence at the site of an existing health care ministry - the Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Milot. The hospital was originally started by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1986. The hospital is now staffed and administered by Haitian medical professionals, with medical volunteers coming from the U.S. As I understand it, our Sisters will be a religious presence and also provide some hospitality to the visiting volunteers.

All three of the Sisters going to Haiti have been overseas before ... Ann and Maureen in Cameroon and Marilee in the Phillipines. In fact, over the years CSJPS have ministered in a number of countries: the Phillipines, Vietnam, Cameroon, Zambia, Kenya, Paraquay, Grenada, Yemen, Rwanda, and the "wilds" of Alaska! We've also had Sisters ministering in Haiti before, but I think this is our first official Congregation ministry there.

We are a small congregation and not particularly missionary in our character, but I'm realizing how much we take to heart these words in our Constitutions:

"We value the ministry of presence
as an important dimension
of the gospel of peace."

I'm also reminded of what our founder Mother Clare (Margaret Anna Cusack) said when she was first approached about sending Sisters out to the wild Northwest in the 1880's: She said "we preferred the poor and desolate places that others would refuse."

Please join me in praying for Ann, Maureen and Marilee as they begin their new ministry of presence to the people of Milot, Haiti!

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