Health Care is Focus of 'More Abundant Life' in Haiti
HM Ministry in Haiti has as its focus our HM charism to “bring more abundant life to God’s people, especially those who are poor.”
In February, I will begin my 14th year in ministry with the Haitian people. Without a doubt, they have also brought more abundant life to me! It is not easy to live and work in a foreign country where language and cultural differences create mountains to be climbed before one can really “walk with” people who suffer, learn from them, and help them on their terms.
For the past 13 years, the “more abundant life” I have tried to bring has focused on health care. It is unimaginable that people here can live and often die from diseases that are almost eradicated in first world countries: malnutrition, cholera, malaria, tetany, meningitis, high infant mortality. Health education is almost non-existent. Access to health care and medications is severely limited. Now, after all these years and with a better grasp of the language and culture, partnerships have developed with the Haitian people to improve health care in their country. A state of the art (for Haiti) pediatric hospital provides care to sick children. I was the administrator until we could find and train a Haitian to assume the leadership responsibilities. I was also the educator to train young Haitians who could speak English in medical terminology so they can be medical translators for visiting medical teams. Currently, I am teaching leadership skills to the management staff at Kay Germaine, our rehabilitation center for children and adults. There is also a 3 month nurses’ aide training course being offered to the Missionaries of Charity Sisters (Mother Theresa’s community) who provide clinics at their 9 houses throughout Haiti. Having the Sisters better prepared will assure better health care to the people all over the country.
The HM Salmon Grant was awarded to Haiti this past year. It is being used to expand the pediatric rehabilitation program to the provinces and to teach local women to provide basic rehab services in their communities, where otherwise there would be no therapy for handicapped children.
When HM Sisters come to visit Haiti, they are providing leadership formation to the Sisters of St. Antoine, an indigenous Haitian religious congregation. They also offer retreat days for long term foreign volunteers.
I believe we can bring more abundant life by sharing and giving away the gifts God has given to us. When we teach, role-model, share, listen, touch, console, and open our hearts to receive the gifts the Haitian people offer to us, we are all more abundantly blessed.
Sr. Judy Dohner
Health Care Coordinator & HM Liaison in Haiti
In the News.
Click on the link below to view the column on current realities in Haiti recently written by Sr. Judy Dohner for the Global Sisters Report published by the National Catholic Reporter.
Corporate Witness Statement on Haiti
In the spirit of humility, we commit ourselves to take action in solidarity with women, children, and people who are marginalized and disenfranchised, and to seek non-violence in all our relationships.
In a special way we pledge ourselves to connect with the people of Haiti. In order to do this we call upon ourselves to expand and deepen our knowledge and understanding of
- Human rights abuses, the effects of global poverty, and the imbalance of power in our world,
- The effects of racism, classism, and ethnocentrism as they impact our relationships with the larger Earth community.
In the spirit of humility, we commit ourselves to honor the sanctity of all human persons and to reverence the giftedness of the people of Haiti, their culture, and struggles when we
- Deepen our connections with the Haitian people through listening as they express their experiences and needs
- Reflect on their truth and pray to be open to both a personal and a global transformation
In the spirit of humility, we commit ourselves to be informed in an attempt to understand the experiences of Haitians in the global context when we
- Continue relationships with people in Haiti and in the United States in order to keep the lines of communication open about the ongoing and immediate needs in Haiti.
- Foster partnerships based on mutual care and concern in order to seek ways to work towards a common cause with the Haitian community and advocates in the United States.
- Advocate for human rights for and with the people of Haiti and for and with immigrants in the United States.
Approved by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary – 1991; revised: 2005