OLN Pilgrim Trips to Haiti

Trips Since the January 10, 2010 Earthquake

2017: February 7-14. The 2017 team of 10 pilgrims from OLN included Donna Baker, Joe Cuadrado, Judy Hedrick, Kathy Struble, Cyndy Unwin, Karen Adams, Clermann Dieudonne, Kathy Lynch, Father Joe Lehman, and Gene Yagow.

  • Attended a special Mass, prepared by ENIHP students, at the Emmaus Center
  • Toured the ENIHP campus with Sr. Moline, who pointed out many improvements.
  • Saw the new, secure enclosure for the battery for the solar panels
  • Visited all three grade levels and met with the student council.
  • Visited the Caritas Center in Hinche, which is affiliated with Catholic Relief Services. Toured their kitchen to see their propane cooking system.
  • Visited with the new bishop of the Diocese of Hinche, Desinord Jean. Also visited St. Martin’s school, where Richard Joseph’s daughter is a student.
  • Visited a farm compound at Corbanel.
  • Conducted several water tests.
  • Visited the computer lab and assessed equipment and its ability to function. Offered a PowerPoint introduction and set up an “internet in a box” system in the library.
  • Met with Sr. Moline to discuss the school’s needs and accomplishments.
  • Drove to northern Haiti to visit the sisters’ farm near Forte-Liberté. Stopped in Cap Haitien on our return.
  • Visited the Emmaus Center, which included Mass, breakfast, and a tour of new construction.
  • Had lunch in Hinche with ENIHP faculty members, all of whom described their jobs, needs, and successes. 
  • Presented plaques to the four scholarship winners: Viergela Offrey, Lamanuel Vertilus, Vernot Dorsaint, and Valdine Meransaint.
  • Visited the nearby École Sainte Terese de Papaye (Tido) elementary school, where 12 ENIHP students were beginning their student teaching.
  • Visited the sewing school, clinic, and agricultural center.
  • Attended school talent show.
  • The daily blog from the 2017 trip can be found at:  https://olnhaiti.blog/

2016: January 28 – February 4. The 2016 team of 7 pilgrims from OLN included Colleen Hernandez, Becky Pilcher, Jack Pilcher Clermann Dieudonne, Karen Adams, Cindy King and Kathy Lynch.

  • First time the group stayed at the hospitality center on the ENIHP campus.
  • Met with the student council and then all the students.
  • Went to Bassim Zim waterfall. Traveled to Azil for church.
  • Went to church at Immaculate Conception where it was a children’s mass. Had lunch with the teachers in Hinche.
  • Students gave us a talent show.
  • Presented plaques to the scholarship winners and showed how to use the water quality test kits.
  • Visited the sewing school, the elementary school at Tido, the kindergarten class at Papaye, and the St. Theresa Little Sisters Agricultural Center.
  • Went to the local market in Hinche.

2015: February 3-10.  The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Colleen Hernandez, Rachel Heffron, Irene Saul, Clermann Dieudonne, Mickey Strayer, Jim Newman, Father Joe, and Gene Yagow, who were also accompanied by former OLN priest, Fr. Dennis Murphy.

  • Attended morning masses with ENIHP students at Emmaus chapel, at Azil with the Missionaries of Charity, or at the Hinche cathedral.
  • Held introductory and finance meetings with Sr. Moline Verica, the new director of ENIHP.
  • Checked out repairs on the boy’s dorm.
  • Met separately with the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-year students.
  • Visited the Petite Sisters of St. Therese (PSST) Vocational School.
  • Met with Patrick Eugene at the computer lab.
  • Met with Sr. Mamoune and Richard Joseph about complimentary Bureau of Diocesan Education (BDE) activities.
  • Presented the OLN scholarship certificates at the morning ENIHP gathering.
  • Visited Saute D’eau waterfall.
  • Drove through the market at Hinche.
  • Visited University of Notre Dame at Sapaterre.
  • Went to Women’s cooperative in Hinche.
  • Visited the new PSST Formation Center which is adjacent to the Emmaus Center.
  • Visited a local carpentry shop.
  • Attended evening mass at Azil and a visit with patients.
  • Went to dinner with the PSST sisters.
  • Made a brief appearance at a party for a group of French students who were helping rebuild a security wall at Azil.
  • Lunch with ENIHP faculty at Eben-Ezer restaurant in Hinche.
  • Said goodbye to students at the morning ENIHP gathering.
  • Visited PSST sewing school, Tido elementary school, and PSST health clinic.
  • Annotated photo album of the 2015 trip

2014: January 13-20.  The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Tom Buback, Clermann Dieudonne, Fr Joe Lehman, Kathy Lynch, Marylou, Jack and Becky Pilcher, Irene Saul and Gene Yagow. 

  • Participated in the installation of nine workstations for the computer lab, bringing the number of workstations to twenty. 
  • Visited the Missionaries of Charity at Azil where Fr. Joe said Mass. 
  • Visited Pere Romel’s garden where we ate sugar cane that he cut and peeled on the spot. 
  • Visited Bassim Zim (see 2011 Pilgrimage). 
  • Met with Bishop of Hinche, Simon Pierre Saint Hillien. 
  • While walking to a nearby shop, two of our pilgrims happened upon a Haitian funeral procession.  It was a very emotional experience. 
  • Presented a gift from Libby Osborne of three original paintings by her father.  One went to Pere Romel, one to Sr. Jeanna and one to ENIHP. 
  • Presented to Sr. Jeanna the idea of OLN providing scholarships to three students each year. 
  • Participated with the students and professors in the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of ENIHP. 
  • Mass at the Chapel of Divine Mercy on the grounds of the Emmaus Center.  Pere Romel designed this lovely chapel and had it built, little by little, as he accumulated funds. 
  • Met with approximately ninety ENIHP students to hear their concerns and issues. 
  • Met with Sr. Jeanna and a group of eight or nine ENIHP professors to hear their concerns and issues. 
  • Pere Romel gave us a farewell dinner and party, outside on the grounds of the Emmaus Center. 
  • Annotated photo album of the 2014 trip

2013: February 1-8. The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Hector Clervoi, Clermann Dieudonne, Cris Flippen, Colleen Hernandez, Diane Ivaldi, Fr. Joe Lehman, Marylou and Jim Newman. 

  • Learned that Sr. Jeanna’s garden was no longer operational. 
  • Visited Pere Romel’s hospital in Pignon. 
  • Visited orphanage. 
  • Vestments collected in Roanoke were given to Pere Romel. 
  • Met with Haiti Education Fund administrators Richard Joseph and Sr. Mamoune. 
  • First meeting with approximately 40 ENIHP professors at Sunday afternoon dinner in Hinche. 
  • Annotated photo album of the 2013 trip (coming soon!).

2012: February 3-10. The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Clermann Dieudonne, Tamir Dieudonne, Cathy Griffin, Colleen Hernandez, Fr. Joe Lehman, Jack and Becky Pilcher and Irene Saul. 

  • First night in Haiti was spent at the home of Clermann Dieudonne’s sisters, where we received wonderful Haitian hospitality. 
  • Tour of Sister Jeanna’s Garden and pump house. 
  • Observed construction progress of new girls’ dorm. 
  • In-depth discussion of ENIHP budget with Sr. Jeanna. 
  • Sr. Jeanna’s top priority was to have a computer lab installed for the students. 
  • Sr. Jeanna visited OLN in August and addressed the congregation at each Mass.  An endeavor was made to have a deserving student accompany her, but the student’s visa was denied by the Haitian government, for fear that the student would not return to Haiti.
  • Annotated photo album of the 2012 trip

2011: February 6-13.  The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Colleen Hernandez, Erika Long (now Lovegreen), Jack and Becky Pilcher, Yves Saint Jean, Irene Saul, Gene Yagow and Christine Young. 

  • Sr. Jeanna Marseille, Director of ENIHP, introduced the team to the students and conducted a tour of the school grounds. 
  • Visited Bassim Zim, a waterfall and collection of grottoes, several miles from ENIHP. 
  • Met with Pere Jacques, Director of CARITAS in Hinche, which is a confederation of Catholic relief, development and social service organizations. 
  • Team attended Mass, conducted by Pere Romel, at Azil, where the Missionaries of Charity run an orphanage and infirmary.  After Mass, the team toured the orphanage and infirmary. 
  • Sr. Jeanna conducted a tour of the garden that she had established after the 2010 earthquake, to provide food for the school. 
  • Visited Pandiassou, where the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Incarnation live and work.  There is a lovely lake on the property that provides irrigation for their numerous gardens. 
  • Students honored the team with gifts and an elaborate farewell party. 
  • Annotated photo album of the 2011 trip

Earlier Trips to Haiti by Eileen Highberger

2006: I tried to get a group going from OLN. I knew if Fr. Joe went, we could get a group of our own parishioners. At that time, Fr. Joe had some extra parishes that he was in charge of, and by Fall, he decided he wouldn’t be able to go. Also, there were some disturbances in Haiti. Everyone cancelled except for Delores Martin. The two of us teamed up with members of Resurrection Church again. We drove to Greensboro as the flight from Miami left so early in the morning. We spent a night at a hotel, left my car, and took the very early flight out to Miami.

We went to a couple of orphanages, but to my dismay, not to Mother Teresa’s. We spent lots of time at the girl’s orphanage before going to Hinche. Deborah didn’t feel too well, so she stayed in PAP, which was too bad. I think it was the heat. It was May and very hot.

Jean Louis, a former student from Virginia Tech and founder of Maison Fortunate Orphanage, came as soon as I got there and said he would go with me to the school to interpret. He is so great. I spent a lot of time getting information on the different classes.

Everything went pretty much as usual. Much more security and check points were new. A bottle bomb was thrown in the window of a TV station. Timote, our driver, kept us away from those areas.

Fonkoze: When going to the Haiti Gathering in the spring of 2005, I got information on micro-banking through an organization called Fonkoze. I called a lady in Miami and she sent me the papers to fill out to set up transferring the funds instead of mailing checks to the school, which had been very unreliable. I had to get Sr. Jeanna to set up an account with a certain bank and send me the account number. Then I sent the information to a person at a bank in New Jersey to set up our account there. Now, we just send a check to New Jersey and they transfer the funds to the school’s account.

2004: January 15-21.  The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Terry Jones, Robert Flynn, Janice Mosley, Colette Pettit, Bob & Adele DellaValle-Rauth, and Eileen Highberger. 

Annotated photo album of the 2004 trip

2002: May 25 – June 3.  The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Eileen Highberger and Debby _________. 

Annotated photo album of the 2002 trip

2000: January 6-13.  The pilgrims who journeyed to our twin were:  Eileen Highberger, Sr. Eveline, and others from Richmond parishes. 

Annotated photo album of the 2000 trip