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A Helping Hand from Connecticut to Saintaard - Barbara Wysocki - Parishioner of Saint Elizabeth Seton

Tue, May 3rd, 2011

Blog by Barbara Wysocki

At my parish, St. Elizabeth Seton in Rocky Hill, CT, we have lots of admiration and respect for Pere Anis Yves, pastor of our twin parish in Haiti, St. Anne's in Saintard.  He works so diligently to bring education to the children in that community.

Last fall, Pere Anis joined us for Hoof it for Haiti, our annual fundraiser in September in Rocky Hill.  In addition to understanding how we raise funds to cover our monthly commitment to St. Anne's, he went home with art supplies, in preparation for art therapists who were coming to help the youngsters in his parish.

"We worry about the psychological" he'd told me shortly after the earthquake.  He welcomed those who came working with a Connecticut-based non-profit called CHART (Communities Healing through Art), which works with people affected by disasters around the world.

This April, during a week-long stay in Port-au-Prince, I met two of the art therapists, Caroline Maby and Gabrielle Le Brize, both from France. They'd just returned from a workshop helping the teachers at the St. Anne school to learn how to use art therapy with their students. Both women had high praise for the teachers and spoke about how these educators asked such perceptive questions. Both felt the teachers knew their classes well and would use what they'd learned effectively.

Pere Anis made the long drive into the city later in the week.  I was pleased to give him more art supplies, so that his teachers could continue the work, but I was sad to hear he had to close one of the outlying schools where a chapel was too damaged to use. These children have a long walk to get to class. He told me how he'd converted the kitchen in his parish rectory into classrooms.  He worried what he would do next year when he needed more space.  Maybe he'd have to use the church, but pews don't make very good desks, I thought.

This is just one of many concerns, yet Pere Anis promises to consider where to start.  He promises to send me his priorities.  As he leaves to drive back to Saintaard, grateful for the supplies and some dresses made by a parishioner in my parish, I hope I can find more ways to help him meet his parish's ever-growing needs.

(St. Elizabeth Seton in Connecticut is partnered with St. Anne in Haiti through the Outreach to Haiti's Twinning Program.)

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