Sisters Anne Rouxel and Marie-Hélène Jaouen, Daughters of Jesus in Haiti, speak to us of their great pleasure in taking part in the celebration in February 2018 of the “Way of life” of the fifty years of the Haitian Conference of Religious. A celebration that shows the vitality and dynamism of religious life in this country.
Looking back at 50 years of growth together
Coming together from the 9th – 11th February 2018 to celebrate the “way of life” of the Haitian Conference of Religious was a great experience for us. More than 100 Congregations were represented, with almost 1000 brothers, and sisters, young and not so young, present each day. As part of the welcoming team Sister Anne was able to greet many of them.
In 1968 there were 21 religious congregations present in Haiti. The Daughters of Jesus joined the Conference in 1969. These days gave us the opportunity to hear about and discover the history of religious life in Haiti. It is a history woven from the coming together of Congregations that have arrived from abroad and those that have been born here. The latter now number 14. We listened to the witness of the Little Sisters of St Teresa, a Congregation founded in 1948 by Fr Louis-Charles Farnese and Camelia Lohier.
“Like Mary and Elizabeth, let us hurry to meet with life”
Different speakers invited us to do just that during the three days. Monsignor Quesnel Alphonse (Montfortain) first challenged us to
“be like an overflowing stream and not like a lake that always contains water.”
Consecrated life he said, will always have meaning and be pertinent and prophetic if we are audacious enough to live it with :
- A passion for Jesus Christ
- An active compassion for those around us.
At other moments, Frs Gasner Joint and (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) and Firto Régis (Ste Croix) spoke to us about :
- Consecrated life and superstition
- Consecrated life and ecology
The Capuchin brothers followed with a presentation of their project to create a centre for the recycling of plastic waste.
A choice of different workshops
We were also invited to take part in workshops on various themes presented by different Congregations :
- Consecrated life and education : the Jesuits
- The spirituality of the vows : the Salesians
- Consecrated life and health : the Camilian Fathers
- Consecrated life and the new technologies : the Salesians
- Consecrated life and poverty : the Franciscans
The Mass was at the heart of each day. Presided over in turn by Mgr Chibly Langlois, the President of the Conference of Haitian Bishops, the papal nuncio and Mgr Max Leroy Mésidor, the new Archbishop of Port au Prince, these Eucharistic celebrations helped us to welcome the Source of Life.
A symbolic gesture for a ‘reforested’ Haiti
On the last day, the symbolic planting of a fruit tree united all the participants. We did this as a sign of our engagement and commitment to making the Conference of Religious more dynamic and alive and to
… ‘reforesting’ Haiti
Each Congregation also received a shrub to plant as a sign of communion and more active solidarity, inviting us as Church to be in our turn more involved in creating a united society.
Sœurs Anne Rouxel et Marie-Hélène Jaouen, Filles de Jésus en Haïti