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Outreach Loses Two Friends

Thu, Mar 8th, 2012

Noreen Gibson and Sr. Ann Weller

By Kyn Tolson
Programs Administrator

Outreach to Haiti lost two dear, longtime friends this winter, Sr. Ann Weller and Noreen Gibson.

Both women were stalwart supporters of the missions in Haiti of Hospice St. Joseph and Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich. (These missions were merged to form Outreach to Haiti in late 2010. Although Hospice St. Joseph started out under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Lafayette, it moved under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Norwich in the early 2000s.)

Sr. Ann was 84 when she died in February in Indiana. She had entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton in 1946.

In 1990, Sr. Ann responded to a request from Bishop Higi of the Diocese of Lafayette to cosponsor, with the diocese, a program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She was instrumental in establishing Hospice St. Joseph. As its co-director, she ministered among the Haitian people with great love and zeal. Often in the midst of civil unrest and danger, Ann never wavered from commitment to those she served.

In 2002, diminishing health necessitated her return to her Sisters at St. Joseph Center in Tipton, Indiana. Throughout her life she advocated for the poor and disadvantaged of the world. Today, Outreach to Haiti's primary care clinic has been named after this compassionate, generous woman. Donations are being made to the Sr. Ann Weller Clinic fund in her memory.

Noreen, a longtime resident of Connecticut who raised four children with her now-deceased husband, was 81 when she died in January in a community near family in New York.
Noreen was a parishioner of St. Mark the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Westbrook, CT, and volunteered for many years with Haitian Ministries. She volunteered both in Connecticut and in Haiti.

For more than five years, Noreen helped with and oversaw hospitality at Norwich Mission House in Port-au-Prince (Petion-Ville). Hundreds of guests at the mission house from the mid-1990s to 2005 have fond memories of her inimitable style, marked by high standards and expectations but balanced with an ever-ready dry wit and deep warmth and spirituality. No one enjoyed the company of teenaged- and young adult-travelers to Haiti more than Noreen.

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