It has been more than 10 years since a devastating earthquake tore through Haiti, killing an estimated 250,000 people and displacing another 5 million. Among the carnage was the destruction of Villa Manrèse, a bustling retreat center in the capitol city of Port-au-Prince run by Viatorians.

Villa Manrese in Haiti in 2010

“At the time of the earthquake, Villa Manrèse was the hub of evangelization and accompaniment of small and large projects,” says Fr. Nestor Fils-Aimé, CSV, Provincial of Canada, “but in the 10 years since the earthquake the Foundation of Haiti has been sadly delayed in reaching its full potential.”

Now, hope is building for the center to return and give new life to Viatorians ministering in Haiti. Its reconstruction began in October, thanks in large part to a generous donation from the Province of Chicago.

Fr. Dan Hall

“We felt that it certainly was a worthy project,” said Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Provincial, “and since we were able to, we felt it was important that we help our fellow Viatorians.”

Work began in October on rebuilding Villa Manrèse.

Fr. Hall and his Council members took into account all that has plagued Haiti since the devastating earthquake, including a cholera outbreak, several hurricanes and now the economic collapse caused by the pandemic.

“Villa Manrèse was the main source of income for the foundation,” Fr. Hall added. “They have plenty of vocations, but need to get this project completed in order to be financially stable. So we help when and where we can.”

Fr. Dudley Pierre, CSV, Superior of Haiti, with two of his religious brothers who made their perpetual professions.

Progress on the construction is energizing Viatorians in Haiti. They are busy making plans for its general administration, as well as programs in spiritual renewal, catechesis and liturgy, and counseling.

All of this gives Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, Superior General, reasons to give thanks.

“I am so pleased that this example of international solidarity is taking life in the rebuilding of Villa Manrese,” Fr. Egan said. “In addition to the generosity of the Province of Chicago, the entire international Congregation stands in support of this initiative in the Foundation in Haiti.”