Our Lady of Perpetual Help
-- 8 February 2007
1. On Monday, Feb. 5, 2007, all of
Haiti celebrated a special Mass as a thank you and a
re-consecration of the country to Notre Dame du
Perpetuel Secours--Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Fr. Nicolas explained the history at
the Mass for the sisters that morning. In about
!861, a disease called veret began to spread in
Haiti. I am not sure of the name in English, but Fr.
Nico said it was like leprosy--bumps, then holes in
the skin, and very contagious. There was no
treatment; the doctors and hospitals could do
nothing. People began to die by the hundreds, then
by the thousands. Every household was affected by
the epidemic. There were so many deaths that
funerals could not be held. Every town had a mass
grave for the victims. ( For those of you who have
visited PdPaix, the mass grave was where the airport
runway is now.). The estimate was that about
200,000 people died.
In 1882, in desperation, one of the bishops in
Port-au-Prince took a picture of Notre Dame du Perpetuel
Secours up the mountain, blessed the country in all
directions and asked for help.
Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours
The epidemic began to
recede, and eventually stopped. The country celebrated
a Mass of Thanksgiving, and Haiti was consecrated to
This year, 2007, marked the 125th
Anniversary of the consecration. So the bishops decided
to re-consecrate the country, to say thank you, and to
ask for help with the current crises in the country.
At noon, all the churches were supposed to ring their
bells in celebration.
Sr. Chemizie of LaCroix smiles in her
4. Last week I went up to visit the
Nigerian sisters who recently arrived at
Sr. Chemizie, the nurse, was the cook that day. Not
exactly a modern kitchen.
5. The Fdls sisters have received
a new truck. So they have asked me to drive them to
the feast day in Chansolme this Sunday--Notre Dame
du Lourdes. "Avek pleasure." It is only
about a 40 minute drive, and the road is not so
bad. It is nice to be back to traveling.