On May 24, 2017, more than a year and a half of dreaming and planning among members of the Vincentian Family came to fruition with the arrival of Frs. Frank Conkle, S.T. and Jaime Serrano, S.T. to Haiti. It was the most recent step in collaborative efforts among the branches of the Vincentian Family at the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI) in La Hoye. Frs. Frank and Jaime are Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, a religious congregation founded in 1929 by Vincentian priest, Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge, CM. The Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity are one branch of the Missionary Cenacle Family (MCF) that was formed by Fr. Judge that includes Sisters (Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity), lay associates (Missionary Cenacle Apostolate) and vowed laity (Blessed Trinity Missionary Institute). The MCF is honored to be collaborating members of the Vincentian Family.
In Haiti, of course, the first order of business for Frs. Frank and Jaime is to study Creole. Besides getting acclimated to a new country, new culture and new food – communications skills will prove to be a necessity as both eventually will arrive to work at the Initiative’s programs as well as minister in the local parish – all located in the country’s Central Plateau. At least three weeks of classes are planned before moving on from Port-au-Prince to be with the others at the farm and surrounding area. The language will provide its share of challenges, but both Frank and Jaime look forward to being able to interact with the locals, get to know the area and offer any help that is needed.
After a little over week in classes, the two traveled to the farm on Pentecost Sunday to see the farm staff in Savane Perdue. They got to spend time with the agronomist, Yamileh Jean Pierre, who is from Haiti but did much of her studies in Costa Rica. Since Frs. Frank and Jaime both worked on Missionary Servant missions in Costa Rica, it is all but certain that they took a respite from Creole in order to speak Spanish during their visit together. In the picture below, Frs. Frank, Jaime and Yamileh are standing in front of a lake where the tilapia are cultivated in floating boxes, while the other small ponds seen behind them are also utilized. The office/house for the VFHI can also be seen in the background. Frank and Jaime will likely be making a temporary home in this building upon their arrival in the near future. Frs. Frank and Jaime will spend quite a bit of time looking, listening and learning upon their arrival to Savane Perdue. They look to balance their ministries between the VFHI and the local parish, helping to fulfill a goal of VFHI’s national coordinator, Regine Theodat, to grow even more the relationship between the Initiative and the surrounding community.