Justice Issues


Haiti Outreach

Haiti Outreach Newsletter

Haiti Earthquake Help

Join with the IHM Sisters in helping the Little Sisters of Ste Therese of the Child Jesus.
Send checks to:

The IHM Office of Justice and Peace
c/o Sister Donna Korba, IHM
IHM Center
2300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509

Make check payable to: Sisters of IHM
On memo line: Haiti Fund

All donations will be sent directly to the Little Sisters of Ste Therese of the Child Jesus.

Two congregations of religious sisters, separated by geography but united in spirit, have joined hands to bring hope to a people in desperate need.

The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (I.H.M.) in this country are helping the Little Sisters of St. Therese in Haiti to minister to the poorest of the poor.

The effort was born in 1995 when the three I.H.M. communities - Scranton, Monroe, Philadelphia - were celebrating their 150th anniversary and exploring ways to add a service component to the observance.

Since the mother of the co-foundress of the congregation, Theresa Maxis, was a native of Haiti, it was decided to focus on the needs of that poverty-stricken country. The Tri-I.H.M. Outreach Project was developed with the Little Sisters of St. Therese.

Over the past seven years, the project has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Little Sisters in their work to run elementary schools, provide meals for the students, and operate medical clinics.

The I.H.M. sisters, the Oblate Sisters of Providence and their associates and members have contributed most of the money. For example, the students at Bishop Hannan and Seton Catholic high schools donated significant amounts.

Dollars are not the only means of support, according to Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Eileen Coleman, director of volunteers for the Scranton community and coordinator of the outreach project.

"Finances are one thing, presence is another," she said. "In order to appreciate what these people are going through, you have to spend time with them and experience it personally. Then you can identify with, respect and support the work they do with the poorest of the poor."

Sister Eileen, who recently returned from her third visit to Haiti, said that for those who have never been there, it is difficult to comprehend the deprivation.

Most of the land is not arable, so the people must rely on outside sources for food. The Little Sisters provide a simple meal of beans and rice to their students; usually it's their only meal of the day. When the students return after a holiday break, their weight loss is evident.

Medical care is lacking, so the sisters try to fill the void by teaching about nutrition, pre and post-natal care, hygiene and basic healthy practices.

"We know the money we send is being used for the people," Sister Eileen said.

Sister Bernadette Nicolas was superior general of the Little Sisters of St. Therese for 12 years. In the midst of a visit to Scranton, she confirmed the impact of the I.H.M. communities on her collegues' ministry.

"When I think about our relationship, I feel spiritualized," she told The Catholic Light. "Their presence in our life is a miracle for us. They bring us hope."

Hope is sorely needed in a country that Sister Bernadette noted, is wracked by poverty, an unstable political situation, and recent natural disasters of earthquakes and hurricains. 

"The OSP and I.H.M. sisters are a sign of the presence of God helping us in our mission," she said. "We thank God, and we thank them for being aware of His call."

Written originally by: William R. Genello for The Catholic Light, Scranton, PA, June 27, 2002, and updated 2022. Reprinted with permission.


For information contact:
Sr. Eileen Coleman, IHM