"It is worth mentioning that we were first people to reach Dame Marie after the hurricane. As such, even the Vietnamese employees of Natcom asked us to bring letters with their needs to fix the cell phone antennas to the central office in Port Au Prince. Even the senator of Dame Marie gave us the phone number of the president of the senate of Haiti to contact him so that the government can realize that he is there, as he had no means to contact them since the hurricane.

From Dame Marie, we took off to go to La Serengue (Abricot) to visit the community which is the home of the St Luke foundation St Augustine school, recently inaugurated in the past year. When we approached by air and saw the school roof blown away, it really broke our heart. Thank God the water tower remained standing, as did the guest house that is under construction. Even here when we arrived on the field, people from every corner came jumping, singing and clapping their hands calling Nebez their “papa”. Walking with them up to the school, we could see the poor houses made of mud and wood washed away. Only one person died in the community there, thank God.

When we arrived at the school, despite the roof that was blown off, seeing the building still strong and holding as founded on a strong rock, we all just clapped our hands. We only had 20 minutes on the ground. Nebez quickly organized the people and gave a great talk inviting the people to live this moment as the first Christian community, sharing everything among themselves, and staying together through this as a family. In fact, in these next days, they will prepare and eat meals all together at the school. Thank God that our school building is there! The roof may be knocked off of the second floor, but from the first floor, the building continues to serve and unite the community in this moment of emergency.
"

"When we arrived at Dame Marie, we saw houses spread throughout the vegetation without their roofs, and the rivers grew three times their size. It was heartbreaking. When we were approaching Dame Marie, it was hard to understand even what we were looking at arriving by helicopter. From the air, we could see the roof of the parish church blown away and so of the houses, but we saw many colors. Getting closer, we saw that it was clothes hanging everywhere to dry after all those days of rain.

We landed on the football field. The pilot was afraid to land, thinking that the people would assault us in search of food, and just wanted to go from one place to another by air. We are well known in the area, and Nebez is originally from there, so we landed. The pilot gave us 15 minutes on the ground because of the weather conditions. As we landed we were surrounded by hundreds of people who began to clap hands, sing and praise God for our arrival. It was almost like they were visited by God. More than bringing food, blankets, clothes or water, I think today it was very important to them to know that they were not abandoned, they are not alone and that they belong to a bigger family. When we left they knew that we will return because of the relationship we have built there and that has always involved the local community.

Nebez and Raphael met with the mayor and leaders of the local community to understand the needs so to better organize and gave them a donation for immediate food and water supplies for the next several days until we can return. They also went to visit our St Luke school in Dame Marie, which has lost its roof in the hurricane."

"After Nebez gave instructions on how to live the next days with the donation he left on behalf of the St Luke foundation until we can organize to return, the Bishop again prayed with the people and gave his blessing. After this, we returned to the helicopter and took off to Jeremie, so that the Bishop could return to where he lives.

While we were flying over Jeremie before landing we saw the cathedral completely open on the top. The roof had been blown off and was heartbreaking to see. But mostly it was heartbreaking to see the people with houses destroyed, built so poorly and with such poor materials to begin with. When we landed in the football field, the people recognized the Bishop and started to run towards him. It was beautiful to see. What came to mind was when Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me” (Jn 10:14). But again, I saw more a lamb than a shepherd, who was ready to carry on his shoulders the burden of his people. We had to leave him quickly but promised him that we would return to help him and his people.

We headed back to Port Au Prince and now we have begun to plan our actions to take in the next few days, including with Dr. Augustin the head of the St Luke medical and Fr. Rick.

In closing, I would like here to talk about the resilience of our Haitian brothers and sisters. They are like a boxer in a boxing ring. Knocked down, and the count to ten is on, but they are always able to stand up before the final countdown. Not even the hurricane can knock them out. It makes me think too of what is now a prophetic image of Our Lady of Sorrows, the patroness of our congregation, that we had painted on the side of our new residence which bears her name that will face the entrance of the new St Luke hospital. Our Founder, Paul of the Cross used to compare Our Lady of Sorrows to a rock on which the waves slam but cannot move her. As I contemplated this, I saw Our Lady holding Christ’s shroud firmly but gently as a mother holds her child. The wind and the waves batter her as she appeals to God on behalf of the Haitian people. There is sorrow in her face but confidence too. Why else would she be on that sharp rock but for her faith!

On our way to Jeremie, the sky was full of rain drops that reminded me of tears. On the way home the sky was clear but my eyes were full of tears. It is an obligation to have been the eyes and ears on behalf of our friends and supporters who are so concerned for those affected by this disaster, and now to be their voice to you on their behalf. These are people who are already so vulnerable of being invisible to the outside world, and I am humbled today to have had the chance to help share their story."

Fr Enzo Del Brocco
St Luke Foundation and
Passionisti Haiti Mission of Our Lady of Sorrows

"Meanwhile, the Bishop and I went to visit the pastor of the local church and the two religious communities who are there. What impressed me while we were walking with the Bishop was to see him as a lamb led to slaughter more than a strong shepherd walking with his flock because I could read in his mind his deep concern for his people.

We walked through the streets of Dame Marie and saw the church with the roof completely blown away and the benches scattered and blown apart throughout the church. We visited the community hospital and that’s when I cried as I saw people laying on the floor crying and abandoned. I was impressed while we were walking with the Bishop how people stopped him saying, “praise God that the Lord has visited his people” and asking him with concern how things were in Jeremie. On our way back to the helicopter it was amazing to see women washing clothes, cooking, drying the corn or the rice in the sun, to see the notebooks and books of the children drying in the sun hoping to go back to school as soon as possible.

Once at the helicopter, it was beautiful to see the children playing on the field doing cartwheels around us. Before we left, the Bishop prayed with the people he said that our houses have been destroyed, our lives have been disrupted, our trees and crops have been chopped off, but we are all alive, and this is already a grace. All the people began to shout “Amen, hallelujah!” The next few weeks are going to be critical, and we are thinking not only to bring supplies but also to set up a hospital tent."

Hurricane Matthew 2016


"It is worth mentioning that we were first people to reach Dame Marie after the hurricane. As such, even the Vietnamese employees of Natcom asked us to bring letters with their needs to fix the cell phone antennas to the central office in Port Au Prince. Even the senator of Dame Marie gave us the phone number of the president of the senate of Haiti to contact him so that the government can realize that he is there, as he had no means to contact them since the hurricane.

From Dame Marie, we took off to go to La Serengue (Abricot) to visit the community which is the home of the St Luke foundation St Augustine school, recently inaugurated in the past year. When we approached by air and saw the school roof blown away, it really broke our heart. Thank God the water tower remained standing, as did the guest house that is under construction. Even here when we arrived on the field, people from every corner came jumping, singing and clapping their hands calling Nebez their “papa”. Walking with them up to the school, we could see the poor houses made of mud and wood washed away. Only one person died in the community there, thank God.

When we arrived at the school, despite the roof that was blown off, seeing the building still strong and holding as founded on a strong rock, we all just clapped our hands. We only had 20 minutes on the ground. Nebez quickly organized the people and gave a great talk inviting the people to live this moment as the first Christian community, sharing everything among themselves, and staying together through this as a family. In fact, in these next days, they will prepare and eat meals all together at the school. Thank God that our school building is there! The roof may be knocked off of the second floor, but from the first floor, the building continues to serve and unite the community in this moment of emergency.
"

Haiti is one of the hardest hit areas from damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. Caribbean Rose, Inc. supports Holy Cross Missions in the relief effort on the island. To donate to Holy Cross Missions, visit their donate page here. There will be a tab on that page that indicates how to donate online.


Caribbean Rose is a non-profit organization that was created to improve the lives of the homeless, disabled, students, and children in the United States Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. For the last 6 years Caribbean Rose, Inc. has proudly supported the Pere Basile Moreau School in Haiti. After a 7.0 magnitude Earthquake hit the island in 2010. Every year since Caribbean Rose, Inc. has held an annual fishing tournament with the proceeds going to support the School. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, we kindly ask for donate to assist with the relief effort. You can make a donation via Caribbean Rose, Inc. by visiting our donate page here, Please mark all donations on the Caribbean Rose website as "Hurricane Matthew Relief". We will forward the proceeds to Holy Cross Missions.

​ ​Here is a first-hand account of the damage caused by Hurricane Mathew by Father Enzo Del Brocco on October 7, 2016.

“After first attempt yesterday to fly out to Jeremie, which was aborted after ten minutes due to bad weather, we were able to fly out by helicopter this morning to reach Dame Marie, La Serengue (Abricot) and Jeremie which are all places where the St Luke Foundation for Haiti is present with schools and clinics. We planned also to visit Les Cayes and De Varennes, but for the weather conditions and the amount of fuel at our disposal for the helicopter, we were ultimately only able to visit Dame Marie, La Serengue (Abricot) and Jeremie today. The team flying today included Nebez, the director of the St Luke Foundation, Raphael, member of the St Luke team, the St Luke photographer Julmane, Msgr Decoste, Bishop of Jeremie, who was in Port au Prince for a bishop’s meeting when the hurricane hit and was not able to reach his diocese after the hurricane and felt very badly for this like the shepherd away from his flock, and myself.

Communication with these areas has been totally interrupted since the hurricane, and we had not heard at all from our staff in those areas. Even the bishop who was traveling with us did not know what conditions we would find as all communication had been cut off with his diocese. In fact, we had to go by helicopter because the main bridge to go to the southwest part of Haiti was washed away by the hurricane. Planes can’t land currently either as the airstrip in Jeremie is dirt, and is full of mud.

The duration of the flight to Dame Marie is one hour by helicopter. Half way to Jeremie today rain was hitting the windshield of the helicopter, and we started to worry that we had to abort again, but fortunately we were able to go through. The raindrops on the windshield seemed to me like too many teardrops and while we were flying, I was thinking of how many tears Hurricane Matthew had provoked.

Just before arriving at Jeremie, the helicopter turned slightly inland to reach Dame Marie, where the eye of the hurricane passed. I remember visiting previously the past two years, and remember that compared to the rest of the country the province of Grand Anse had very lush vegetation. What struck me immediately as soon as we turned inland was to see how Hurricane Matthew chopped acres and acres of trees. The province of Grand Anse is particularly isolated, and paradoxically one of the most vegetated places that remained in the country, which has otherwise been so heavily deforested. The hurricane is always a natural disaster, no doubt. But with our human hands, we can increase the disaster by not treating the earth as the common home given to us by God, through deforestation, pollution, poor building construction, lack of urban planning, so often the result of poverty."