Immaculate Conception Church in Milot, Haiti, where the Order of Malta has worked and maintained a strong connection for more than 25 years, was destroyed by fire last month. Fortunately, a parish community built across the street from the church with the help of donations from the D.C. and Montgomery County regions was untouched by the fire.
Our work in Milot started with help with a small medical clinic that is now a 200-bed hospital named Hospital Sacre Coeur. The Order also has been involved with the local parish, Immaculate Conception. After the 2011 earthquake in Haiti, three parishes in the DC and Montgomery County regions donated money toward a community center that provides space for a school, gathering rooms used for adult classes, RCIA, and other parish needs. With 9,000 parishioners, Immaculate Conception, needed additional space beyond its building.
Sacre Coeur Hospital also remains unscathed by the fire.
Immaculate Conception Church was a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in 1809, it was an important symbol of the people of Haiti’s indefatigable spirit, hope, and faith. It was an integral part of daily life in the Milot community.
Please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers as Covid-19 has recently reached its shores. The country is in lockdown, has closed its borders and has directed all to practice social distancing. But given the country’s ongoing food shortages and high starvation rates, the situation will only become more dire. In challenging times such as these, national landmarks that have withstood the test of time offer stability and hope.