Category Archives: Special Sections

Haitian Doctor to Speak about Emergency Work after Earthquake

File photo by Tracy SimmonsWEST HARTFORD — An evening program on March 31 hosted by Outreach to Haiti and St. Peter Claver Church of West Hartford will feature a Haitian doctor who worked at a downtown hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, immediately after the earthquake in January 2010.

Dr. Jude Banatte, who has been with the Catholic Relief Services in Haiti for 11 years, will talk about the emergency efforts that followed the earthquake and that continue today. He was at the capital’s Hospital St. Francois de Sales, which was destroyed in the disaster, but he and others set up operations in the ruins. They tended to the injured, tried to salvage medical equipment and supplies, and worked to get the hospital running again.

Banatte will speak at 7 p.m. at the parish hall of St. Peter Claver, 47 Pleasant St. in West Hartford

There is no charge for attending, but donations to support medical work in Port-au-Prince will be greatly appreciated. The non-profit Medical Aid to Haiti (MATH), many members of which belong to the St. Peter Claver congregation, has had a long-time partnership with Outreach to Haiti.

For more information, please contact the office of Outreach to Haiti at (860) 638-1018 or (860) 848-2237 ext. 206. Also, you can e-mail


Creedible to be “On the Horn” talking Haiti

Haiti flags in Port-au-Prince/Tracy Simmons - CreedibleSOUTHINGTON — I don't want to forget Haiti. Too many of us already have.

When I traveled there in February with the Good Samaritain Rebuilding Fund I came home on a spiritual high. I was floored by the conditions I saw there, and I was moved by the resilient people I had met. I didn't want to just go back to my old ways, taking what I had for granted and complaining about the small things. But, of course, a few months later I found myself losing that spiritual high.

So, I went back.  I spent time at Ecole Le Bon Samaritain in Carrefour in December, and this time I refuse to lose that high. I surround myself with memories from Haiti – photos, art, bumperstickers, and even a Haiti bandanna. And this time, sorry friends, but I refuse to let you forget about Haiti too.

Read full post here.

Remembering Haiti one year after quake

A young boy smiles in Haiti/Tracy Simmons - CreedibleOne year ago today Haiti was rattled with a 35-second earthquake that the country still hasn't healed from. In one year, things have gotten worse, not better. I was there five weeks after the earthquake and couldn't believe the destruction that I saw. But what moved me the most were the people. They smiled and kept their spirits up, even though they lost loved ones, even though they lost their homes.

You can read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Then, in December, I went back. Now Haitians aren't only fighting homelessness and grief, their fighting cholera and election riots. Maybe for some life has gotten better in Haiti, but for most it's gotten worse. I was able to find a pocket of joy in Haiti though, at Ecole Le Bon Samaritain. You can about my second trip here.

Read full post here.

New Haitian Ministry Launched

Collapsed building in Port-au-Prince/Tracy Simmons - CreedibleHARTFORD — Controversy's been swirling around the Diocese of Norwich the past couple of weeks after Bishop Michael R. Cote and members of his staff decided to merge the organization's two Haitian ministries.

In December, Cote announced in a press release that Haitian Ministries and  Hospice St. Joseph would now operate together under a new name – Outreach to Haiti.

But those opposing the decision, are forming their own Haitian ministry, called Walking with Haiti.

Read full post here.

Haitian ministry shut down

Photo by Tracy Simmons/CreedibleNORWICH — It’s true.

Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich, Inc. is no more. Since 1987 the ministry has been serving the people of Port-au-Prince, but on Dec. 13 the organization officially dissolved into a new ministry with new leadership and a new board of directors.

I was actually in Haiti when I first heard about this. This is the anonymous tip that a reader posted to Creedible:

Read full post here.

Merry Christmas from Haiti


CARREFOUR – Elementary students at Ecole Le Bon Samaritain in Carrefour, Haiti celebrate their first Christmas since the Jan. 12 earthquake.


Port-au-Prince seminary trains leaders

Students attend classes in Port-au-Prince/Tracy Simmons - CreediblePORT-AU-PRINCE — The 17 seminarians at Seminarie de Theologie, Eglise Episcopale d'Haiti, have learned a lot about leadership over the past 11 months. When their building was damaged by the Jan. 12 earthquake, and their city was left in ruins, they quickly jumped into action bringing counsel and prayer to the devastated country.

"When you see things like that happen you think why Haiti? Where is God in all of this?," Seminary Director Rev. Chanoine Oge Beauvoir said. "The challenge for us who call ourselves Christian is to show God's presence to others, in spite of our own suffering, to stand up and show God's love."

Immediately after the earthquake the students worked with those living in a nearby tent city and today continue to reach out to the community.

The seminary, which has been repaired, borders an Episcopal high school. The campus became a tent city after the earthquake. There are still some tents on the property, but not as many, and four different schools are now using the campus.

Oge Beauvoir and his seminarians are confident that the earthquake was not God's wrath upon Haiti. More than 1 million people were left homeless and 230,000 people died because of poor leadership, Oge Beauvoir said.

"Why did we let people build anything, anywhere? It's not God's fault, it's our fault," he said, explaining that leaders need to step up now more than ever.

He said the seminarians are trying to be those leaders, and are trying to encourage other visionaries to take a stand as well.

In Haiti there are 119 Episcopal parishes, and only 46 priests. Because of that Oge Beauvoir said the church relies heavily on lay leaders. In January the seminary will host a lay leadership program.

Meanwhile, the students (who are living in temporary dorms) have been attending chapel twice a day and taking spirituality classes.

"We do that because you need to be spiritual to be a leader and within the community," Oge Beauvoir said.

For information on the seminary, visit its website here.