January 13, 2010
My Sisters and Brothers:
Following yesterday's devastating earthquake in Haiti, I want to share with you what we know of the situation, particularly as people connected to our diocesan community are affected.
Early reports indicate terrible damage, with Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port au Prince and Bishop Jean Zache Duracin's home there destroyed. The convent of the Sisters of St. Margaret also is gone. We do know that Bishop Duracin and his wife are safe, and the Sisters of St. Margaret here in Boston have heard through a reliable secondhand source that their three sisters, Sister Marie Margaret, Sister Marjorie Raphael and Sister Marie Therese, are alive. We have an unconfirmed report that Jude Harmon*, a postulant from our diocese who is serving in-country as a Young Adult Service Corps volunteer, is OK; we are waiting for verification from the Episcopal Church's mission personnel office. *Since Bishop Shaw sent this email last night we have had a confirmed report that Jude is alright.
We also are in the process of contacting parishes in our diocese with known mission relationships in Haiti to extend our concern and gather more information.
The best help we can give right now is to direct our donations to either the Sisters of St. Margaret here in Boston or through Episcopal Relief and Development. Their Web sites and address information appear at the end of this message.
Please know how much our prayers are needed. An unfathomable catastrophe like this in a place that has already known so much hardship really does have us questioning God at the deepest levels of our faith. Yet we must know that God is more present to suffering than any of us could ever possibly be, and that as we are willing to take on the suffering of others, whether through our prayer, our donations or our service, we join God in God's compassionate presence.
Send donations to:
The Society of St. Margaret, 17 Highland Park Street, Boston, MA 02119. For updates and more information about the sisters' work in Haiti, go to www.ssmbos.com and click on the "Haiti" page link.
Episcopal Relief and Development: Donate online at www.er-d.org or call 800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Donations can be mailed to Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. (Please put "Haiti Fund" in the memo line of all checks.) Also, Episcopal Relief and Development is producing a bulletin insert that will be available online.