Binghamton-based Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus respond after assassination in Haiti – Press & Sun-Bulletin

The assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 prompted a call to Sister Brigid O’Mahony, of the Binghamton-based Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MHJ), from her staff in Haiti.
“Everyone is frightened that this will lead to complete anarchy,” O’Mahony said. 
“As bad as conditions are now, they could actually get worse,” she said. ”Competing groups will fight for political control, but not peacefully. Gangs, already a scourge, will operate with even more impunity and engage in even more brutality as they compete for unprotected neighborhoods. People are very very scared.”
The violence became real recently in one area they serve.
“Our Delmas deaf and disabled village, where we have a clinic and school, was attacked by one of the rampaging gangs which had already attacked other villages,” she said.
O’Mahony said people who don’t have much were left “helpless and homeless.”  Their  disabilities made it difficult when the mob arrived.
“The blind could not see where to run. And the crippled could not run at all. Many were killed. Many more injured. All were terrified,” she said.
O’Mahony said the people went two days without shelter. They were exposed to sun and “prayed that it would not rain.”
That’s when the group’s team found a building and then took in the villagers to protect them.
“We began feeding those we now sheltered, sent in our doctors and nurses, repaired the roof, added electricity and water, received donated mattresses and tried to make them feel like family,” O’Mahony said.
A video shows many people in the rooms, eating and smiling. Some offered their thanks to the Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus. There were subtitles as they either spoke in French or sign language.
“In Haiti, the disabled are ostracized from society,” O’Mahony said. “The children of the disabled are not allowed to attend regular schools, and the people are forced to live in colonies, separated from and rejected by the larger community.
“The blind, deaf, mute, amputees, crippled, physically and mentally challenged are forced to live in these un-served colonies or villages. It is believed by the Haitian people that the disabled are cursed.” 
O’Mahony said on arriving in Haiti more than 10 years ago, they concentrated on caring for widows and orphans. But they expanded to provide medical care, food and family assistance, what she said “the Bible would call widening the borders of our tent.”
“Our team in Haiti, which is exclusively national, normally consists of 24 people,” she said. “We have doctors, nurses, malnutrition specialists, teachers, a headmaster, program directors, aides, drivers, runners and builders.”
There were several trips per year with groups of volunteers from the Broome County area to Haiti. But they were suspended when it got too dangerous. The last group there a couple years ago had to flee for a flight home just a half-hour before the International Airport closed.
The Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus includes 40 “vowed and promised” men and women in community and a public association of the faithful.
“Everything we do is by faith. We ask the Lord for what the people need, and he responds,” O’Mahony said.
“But, faith works by love. So, our constant prayer is that the Holy Spirit keep us filled with love. It is love that motivates us, sustains us, directs us, and gives us hope.”
For more information or to support the work, contact Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, 396 Conklin Ave., Binghamton, NY 13903; or go to findingthetreasure.org
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