Haiti Committee

IHMs in Haiti
IHM Sisters visit Little Sisters in Haiti

Recently, our OSP IHM Sisters celebrated 30 years of journeying with the people of Haiti.  Our congregations have a special connection with the Haitian people through our foundress, Theresa Maxis, whose mother was of Haitian descent.  We have deepened that connection over the years through OSP IHM Haiti Outreach, in which the OSP and three IHM communities (Scranton, Immaculata, and Monroe) have twinned with the Little Sisters of St. Therese, a community of native Haitian Sisters.  That twinning has been mutually transformative.

Twinning in 1995
In 1995, IHM Sisters present check to Little Sister of St. Therese in support of their missions in Haiti.

Keeping in touch with the Little Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (PSST) in Riviere Froid, Haiti, is an ongoing priority of the OSP-IHM Haiti Outreach Committee. Sister Eileen Coleman of Scranton keeps regular correspondence with Sister Denise Desil, who updates her on the congregation’s missions as well as the political climate in Haiti.

About her trip to Haiti, Sister Chris Koellhoffer wrote, “Most striking to me was the courage, the joy, and resilience of the Haitian people.  Everywhere we went, we marveled at their inventiveness, their utter resourcefulness.  If anyone could coax blood from a stone, I thought, it would be they.  We saw children who lovingly, carefully crafted crude yo-yos from what looked like the remains of old tin cans.  From our perch in the Hospice St. Joseph, we watched the women of Haiti set out their water barrels each night to catch the longed-for rain.  And in the early dawn, we saw these same women carrying huge baskets on their heads as they headed to market.  We saw them scrubbing clothes and laying them out before the intense sun rose to bleach them. We traveled past a shantytown on the winding road to Cap-Haitien, a slum that was barely an insignificant dot on the map.  Crumbling huts, alleys strewn with garbage, children bearing the unmistakable signs of protein deficiency and malnutrition. 

“As I prepare to return to the US, I thanked the people of Haiti.  Never before have I both longed for and experienced God’s presence more than here among them.” 

Sister Chris Koellhoffer