The Missions: San Francisco and San José

Unless the mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity...Consequently, being missionaries means loving God with all one's heart, even to the point, if necessary, of dying for him. - Pope Benedict XVI

as you all know, we took a trip to haiti the other day to run a small medical clinic. the fruits of our labor showed up yesterday in the form of two 20 year old women, a 65 year old women, a 16 year old girl with a tumor the size of a large gratefruit on her arm, and a man with a baby. all needed to go to san juan to the hospital. so, after acquiring the necessary papers from the hospital here i sent a kid with them to the house we have down the street. 10 minutes later he interrupts my creole class and tells me that they reject the house. after shaking off the concept that our house is inadequate, i asked my tutor to come along and help, knowing full well that my creole wouldn't suffice to resolve this dilemma. so, sitting on the wall out front with 10 haitians mulling around, i say, "what's the problem?" one of them says something that i didn't understand and they all burst out laughing. i bury my head in my hands and just sit there when out of the blue i hear my 17 year old pregnant creole teach begin to lambast them. scold them. sound absolutely disgusted. i look up and the 65 year old woman starts giving it right back and the two 20 year old's keep saying "no, i ain't staying in that place, it doesn't have a door." after wondering what happened to the door, i realize that there is one way to fix this - i ask fifa (my teacher) to convey to these people that i have neither the funds nor the inclination to construct a 5-star hotel in the next hour, and that they have three options: sleep on the street. return to haiti. clean the dang house for me. after another 10 minutes the girls say, "okay, we'll clean the house." we send them down with the porter and return to class.

after class the man who is responsible for taking people to the hospital on wednesday mornings comes in and tells me that the medical stike is back on and no one can go to the hospital unless it's an emergency. oh joy. now i get to tell the people that they have to go home in the morning. so, entering with no slight trepidation into the yard of the house i find the haitians laughing and cooking. we proceed to convey the fact that the doctors are striking for more money and theerefore they won't be a trip to the hospital. they all agree and say, "no problem." we say our goodbyes and head back to the rectory. as we are passing this half-built, wreck of a house, the porter says to me, "oh yeah, i forgot to tell you. the haitians were originally brought to this house, not the real one..." ahh, communication...


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