At work in Haiti
Today, the mission provides:
A school serving children in preschool through 12th grade and beyond. The pre-school alone has 500 students. In all, the school’s total enrollment is 1,000.
A Health Care Dispensary and Laboratory that serves more than 100 people each day.
The mission is currently served by three sisters. They include Sister M. Vincenzina Dallai who has been there since its opening in 1998, Sister Marie Elza Cezalien – our first vocation from Haiti, and Sister M. Margarita who recently arrived from the Province of Buenos Aires, one of our Religious Institute’s three Argentine provinces. With them is a postulant, Guerline Louis, who is from Gonaives. She is the third native vocation from this country.
The second vocation from Haiti, Joana Simon, is now in the United States completing her second year of Novitiate. She will return to Haiti in the Fall of 2021.
Our mission in Gonaives, Haiti officially began on October 28, 1998, under the care of Sisters Vincenzina Dallai and Luigia Carioll from our Generalate in Savona, Italy. Over the years, Sisters also came from our missions in Africa and India to lend a helping hand.
While the mission got its official start in 1998, the Daughters of Mercy began supporting it much earlier than that under the leadership of Sister Assumpta Ferrara. Sister Assumpta was introduced to this mission while she was stationed in Hershey, PA in the 1980s. At that time, she became friends with Dr. Rodriquez Mortel, originally from Haiti, who was head of the Women’s Health Department at Hershey Medical Center. A missionary at heart, Sister Assumpta, having learned a great deal about the poor country of Haiti from Dr. Mortel, resolved to find a way to help. She involved her friend, Sister M. Margaret DiNunzio, followed by all of the Daughters of Mercy. She also enlisted the help of her family who provided financial support to this community effort.
Sister Assumpta traveled to Haiti several times. She worked hard and made a big difference in the lives of all she met. Sister Margaret also traveled to Haiti n service to the poor. Their efforts led to the decision to establish a mission in Gonaives, Haiti.