Excitement in the Foundation of Haiti is building. Not only are vocations on the rise, but Villa Manrèse, the retreat center in Port-au-Prince that collapsed in the earthquake of 2010, is now under construction.
“At the time of the earthquake, Villa Manrèse was the hub of evangelization and accompaniment of small and large projects,” says Fr. Nestor Fils-Aimé, CSV, Provincial of Canada, “but in the 10 years since the earthquake the Foundation of Haiti has been sadly delayed in reaching its full potential.”
Plans for its reconstruction are energizing the Viatorian Community. Fr. Nestor and his Council members worked on a variety of issues to advance the project, including financing. Thanks to a grant from the Province of Chicago, the construction began and is right on schedule.
“We felt that it certainly was a worthy project and since we were able to, we felt it was important that we help our fellow Viatorians,” said Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Provincial of the Province of Chicago.
Fr. Hall and his Council members took into account all that has plagued Haiti since the devastating earthquake, including a cholera outbreak, several hurricanes and now the economic collapse caused by the pandemic.
“Villa Manrèse was the main source of income for the foundation,” Fr. Hall added. “They have plenty of vocations, but need to get this project completed in order to be financially stable. So we help when and where we can.”
Along with the construction, Fr. Nestor and his Council members along with Fr. Dudley Pierre, CSV, Superior of the Foundation of Haiti are developing a vast plan for the animation of Villa Manrèse. They have created various work teams making plans for its general administration, as well as programs in spiritual renewal, catechesis and liturgy, and counseling.
“I am so pleased that this example of international solidarity is taking life in the rebuilding of Villa Manrese,” said Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, Superior General. “In addition to the generosity of the Province of Chicago, the entire international Congregation stands in support of this initiative in the Foundation in Haiti.”
All this comes at a time when there are 32 religious Viatorians and nine associates in the Foundation of Haiti, who are active in schools and parish ministries. Viatorians in Haiti join with their confreres around the world, in carrying out the vision of Fr. Querbes, of building a community where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.