|Mission Youth missionaires from Detroit area in Haiti|
“Haiti becomes a part of life, and the people become
These are the words of RC consecrated woman Jenna
Coughlin describing her group’s recent experience in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
mostly from the Detroit metro area, joined Jenna, Fr. Aaron
Smith LC, Brother Kramer Cameron LC, and consecrated woman April
Pickett on a July 2014 mission trip. As with all
the Mission Youth organized trips to Haiti, the group
worked alongside the Missionaries of Charity (MOC) sisters who have
a continuing presence in the country.
At the beginning of the
mission, the missionaries helped at a camp for about 200
little girls. Jenna said they were able to break the
“the language barrier” with “lots of love and laughter.”
the first Sunday, the missionaries celebrated Mass with the campers,
as well as another hundred or so little boys and
families from the area surrounding the MOC Children’s Home (an
orphanage). The missionaries gathered some of the babies from the
Children´s Home to attend.
|RC consecrated April Pickett and a friend in Haiti|
“It´s really impressive how well-behaved the
children are in Mass, and how they sing with all
their hearts and souls!” said Jenna.
Afterwards, the missionaries assisted at
the orphanage, providing loving comfort for some of the sick
Fr. Aaron had the opportunity to baptize one
of those sick babies, named Therese, and some of the
missionaries served as her Godparents. Later in the week, there
was a “heart-wrenching” moment as the missionaries witnessed her tiny
body, wrapped in white cloth, taken out after Therese passed
More challenging experiences were ahead as the missionaries helped at
the Wound Clinic. Local people come to have major wounds,
often infected, cleaned, treated and bound. After some quick lessons
in treating the wounds, the missionaries did their best to
look beyond the “gruesome” work to see the faces of
the people who trusted them to receive the help they
One of the most powerful experiences for the missionaries was
working in the MOC Home for the Dying, a place
where those with terminal illnesses are cared for.
“It is a
place of peace, gratitude and everyone lives with their eyes
|Br. Kramer Cameron LC and missionary Mitch Lasceski|
set on heaven,” said Jenna. “It really seems more like
a tribute to life than a place of death. All
are treated with utmost respect and care, and it doesn´t
matter if the people are Catholic or not.”
of their downtime, the missionaries had the opportunity to learn
more about the Missionaries of Charity. One of the sisters,
who is originally from Detroit, let the visitors question her.
They learned she had been a member of the Missionaries
of Charity for 33 years, and served 10 years in
Haiti. She told them about her memories working with Mother
When asked, "Does what we do here really make
a difference?" the MOC sister smiled and replied, "Jesus said,
´WHATEVER you do to the least of my brothers, you
did to me.´ So each moment, every little thing you
do, if it´s done for Jesus and with love, makes
the difference. And can you really change Haiti? Every time
you change (the diapers for) that baby, you change Haiti."
Also during their time in Haiti, they had the opportunity
to tour the capitol city. They got to see what
is left of the Cathedral destroyed during the 2010 earthquake.
|Claire Lasceski shares some love and laughter with a Haitian child.|
They took a moment of prayer and silence, remembering the
archbishop and seminarians who, along with so many others, were
killed that day.
On the last day of camp, they organized
a parade of the children to “When the Saints Go
Marching In.” The missionaries wished they did not have to
leave. Saying farewell to these little ones was the hardest
Fr. Aaron tried to prepare them for the departure with
a final Mass on the rooftop where they were staying.
He told the missionaries they were called to go back
home and bring their experiences to a world that does
not have as much material need, but plenty of spiritual
need. Then the group spent some time in Eucharistic Adoration
underneath the stars.
They would later share with each other
their reflections on their experience, discussing how they planned to
leave behind their worries and anxieties over the “petty things.”
They expressed their desire to bring with them the “joy
|Fr. Aaron Smith LC celebrates Mass with the missionaires.|
and simplicity” of the Haitian people, especially the children, and
to be grateful to God for His gifts given during
this special week, and throughout their lives.