In 1968, Brother Yves decided to leave the gentile region of Quebec and head for the heart of the thick Haitian jungle. There he envisioned a bustling community of electricity, commerce, communication and healthcare. Dr. Ted Dubuque lay on what was thought to be at the time, his death bed and envisioned a new way of life — going to the poorest region of the world and practicing medicine. Jacksonville orthopedic surgeon George Fipp arrived at nascent Hôpital Sacré Coeur and envisioned a thriving modern, orthopedic service.
Sister Marie Vittetoe looked past the ancient microscopes and slides and watched “the best little lab in Haiti” unfold before her mind’s eye. Connecticut pediatrician and former CRUDEM president, Tom Flynn stepped through the gates of the tiny hospital and dreamed of a full-service pediatrics ward with a NICU and a large outpatient clinic building capable of meeting the healthcare needs of tens of thousands. Dr. John Lovejoy, Jr. arrived in Milot, right after the earthquake and after performing more amputations in one week than in his entire career, he returned to Jacksonville deeply troubled by the prospects of the people. He envisioned a full-service prosthetics laboratory on Hôpital Sacré Coeur’s campus. And the list goes on.
All were crazy, impossible ideas in the face of overwhelming challenges and an abundance of contrary evidence. Had any of these visionaries stepped into a bank for a chat with the manager to lay out their plans; they all would have received that special smile reserved for the slightly delusional and been shown to the door.
In the case of Hôpital Sacré Coeur, these hare brained notions turned out to be powerful, brilliant strategies that have, over the course of the hospital’s history, saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and upped the quality of life for a million or more Haitians.
If we have learned one thing in the CRUDEM community it is that crazy, potent notions when coupled with faith, more often than not, turn into significant, meaningful contributions that belie the grim statistics and turn worlds that were once in shambles, right side up.
Two key factors nourished the seeds planted by Brother Yves and Drs. Dubuque, Fipp, Flynn, Vittetoe and Lovejoy. Not only did these people see the possible in the rubble of the impossible, they all had the faith of a mustard seed. They didn’t just see the problems; they listened to their inner voice and knew the answer. To them, what the nay-sayers offered was not fact, but simply another perspective.
None of their dreams manifested overnight or in a vacuum. All of these faith-filled dreamers had tenacity and community working with them. From across the country and around the world, the dreams they birthed resonated with others, so much so that the money, talent and resources that would be needed to make these crazy visions a reality flowed into the foundation.
Faith and community: the two key elements that bring dreams to life.
Today, we witness hundreds of thousands of people in the grip of crazy, potent notions: the thought of access to quality healthcare despite living in a low resource country; the vision of themselves living in a house, putting food on the table and being gainfully employed. Expectations barely worth a comment in a country like the United States, but in Haiti these dreams rarely come to fruition.
In Milot, however, thanks to YOU, the dreams of parents, children and the elderly manifest on a regular basis.
Thanks to the economic force and continuing efforts of Hôpital Sacré Coeur, young teens like Joseph recover from a health crisis and participate in building his family’s first real house. Young mother Marie-Clare births her daughter in a hospital and looks forward to knowing her child will likely live decades beyond the often expected 5 years. And thoughtful 7 year old Yvette can take a moment to envision being healthy enough to attend school, study medicine and become a physician like her father. According to the statistics, all these priceless dreams are crazy notions, but thanks to the compassionate and generous CRUDEM community, all these dreams are potent possibilities on the verge of becoming realties.
Thank YOU for seeing the potentials, having the faith, joining the CRUDEM community and providing the resources needed to create opportunities and bring dreams to life.
In this season, when faith communities around the globe celebrate the awesome splendor of miracles, we invite you to remember that YOU are an integral part of miracle-making! And to us, and the people of northern Haiti, YOU are awesome!!! Thank you.