Brothers and Sisters,
On Sept. 16, the Viatorian Community in Gonaives, Haiti experienced a very difficult and dangerous moment. Large crowds of looters and rioters invaded the space where Immaculate Conception College, a Viatorian Residence, St. Viator Kindergarten and St. Viator Mixed Institution are located. The destruction was extensive and the looting was total. Nothing was left in the schools and residences of the Viatorians.
The situation remains dangerous and fragile. Viatorian religious have lost everything and, in some cases, are in hiding for fear of potential violence. As reported by one confrere, the confreres have nothing left—no food, no shelter, no clothes. Other religious communities seem to have experienced this same fate. The confreres are trying to understand why this protest movement against the increase in fuel prices by the government in place could have turned against institutions of the Catholic church.
As you probably know, the political and social situation in Haiti is very fragile. The major cities experience lack of food, water, security and stability. The violence in Gonaives is especially sad in that our Viatorian presence there is strong, and we have developed healthy and friendly relationships with many of those we serve. The future is uncertain, but the Provincial Council of Canada is in regular contact with the confreres in Haiti to assure them of the solidarity of the entire Province and Congregation in these difficult days.
Some have asked how the entire Congregation might be able to help at this difficult moment. First, please keep our Haitian brothers in your prayers for their safety and for the strength to endure this difficult moment. Second, as any plans for extending assistance to the confreres in Haiti are developed, we will keep you informed of how and when to offer solidarity and support for our brothers there.
In Viator and Querbes
Robert M. Egan, CSV