Sister Marilyn Minter '74 Shares Experiences from Haiti
Posted on 10/31/2019
On Tuesday, October 29th, juniors and seniors in Mr. Matthew VanDoren and Mr. Matthew Roche’s US History II classes had the great opportunity of hosting Sister Marilyn Minter, a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas Class of 1974. Sister Marilyn came to speak with the students about her experiences working in Haiti with members of the Jacmel community along the southern coast of the country.

Sister Marilyn’s presentation began with a video that introduced the students to the problems that Haiti has been experiencing since the horrific earthquakes in 2010, explaining how the Felician Sisters first went to Haiti to witness the destruction and to see the conditions throughout the country, but by the end of their trip realizing that they must stay and help. The video was able to shed light on all of the various ways that the Felician Sisters are able to be a source of hope and life for the people of Jacmel and how their small mission is continuing to flourish even as conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate. Sister Marilyn then spoke to the students about her first-hand experiences in Haiti working with the poorest Haitians.

One of the most enlightening parts of Sister Marilyn’s presentation was her descriptions of how the government of Haiti has continued to make things worse for the Haitian people. According to Sister Marilyn, the current President of Haiti was elected only after five separate elections, each of which was filled with voter fraud, corruption, and bribery. Not only was the president elected illegitimately, but the president continued his corrupt practices while in office. Gasoline, electricity, and safe running water have all become non-existent under his government and the people that Sister Marilyn works with have been severely impacted. Much of the work that she does is based around providing basic needs for Haitians. Sister Marilyn expressed to the students that many of the basic functions of society that we take for granted have been cut off from the Haitians and it has become the responsibility of the Felician Sisters to fill this gap. The sisters act as teachers and religious guides for the Haitian people, while simultaneously providing food and medical care for people who cannot afford to pay for it.

After Sister Marilyn completed her presentation, the students were able to ask her questions about her experiences in Haiti. Most of the students were amazed at the stories that Sister told and were all left feeling like there was more work to be done. It brought the students joy to learn that the proceeds of the school’s Lent Dime-A-Day program would be donated to the Sisters to use in Haiti and to help the poorest people of Jacmel.