Toronto Sisters walk to aid Haiti projects

  • October 16, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Sr. Theresa Rodgers and Sr. Teresa Garvey of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Toronto will don their walking shoes this month in support of two fellow Canadian Sisters working in Haiti.

Rodgers, 67, said she and Garvey (who is in her mid-80s) originally were just curious to see how long it would take for them to walk from their residence (which at that time was 74 Wellesley St. W., above St. Joseph College) to St. Joseph Morrow Park in Toronto’s northern reaches where they worked.  

“We figured if we were going to do it, we should find a better purpose and we raised a bit of money,” she said.

It also made more sense to walk home from work, and even though they no longer live at 74 Wellesley, they repeat the same five-hour walking route once every year, raising a small amount for the Sisters in Haiti.

However, the small pilgrimage they’ve been doing since then is nothing in comparison to the work their sisters do abroad, Rodgers said.

Sr. Rosemary Fry has worked in Haiti for about 20 years and Sr. Mary Alban for about a decade. Fry, a nurse, helps Haitians with nutrition and health, Rodgers said. Fry administers several programs from the Sacred Heart Centre in Cap Haitien, where she focuses on food for children and jobs for their mothers. A nurse on staff assesses the children’s progress and the main causes of malnutrition.

Alban mostly works out of Port-au-Prince as a teacher, working in peace education.

In an interview with The Register, Alban said she has written a series of booklets in Creole to help Haitians become peacemakers among themselves. She leads small groups in workshops via parishes.

“They’re not necessarily coming from conflicts themselves, because some of them are teachers, and some of them are married people who have groups among themselves and some of them are just young people who are interested in the question (of peace) because there’s a lot of violence in the country and so forth,” Alban said. “If it’s a conflict that’s from themselves, we encourage them to find a third person who is not involved on either side and they learn the rules for resolution of conflict which they can practise in their own home.”

Alban started writing the books in 2001, based on English materials she had collected. Some of the money sent by Rodgers and Garvey might help out a little with the overhead costs of the program, such as re-printing the booklets, simple travel costs on the island and for food at events.

To support the work in Haiti, contact Rodgers at (416) 222-1426.

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