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Published: Sunday, 11/11/2012

Grant will help with communications in Haiti by Sylvania Franciscans


The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania recently received a grant for $8,600 from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to purchase a satellite dish for their ministry in Haiti.

A solar-powered satellite dish will be installed on the guest house they are building outside the small town of Pestel, in the western section of the country.

The two-story, five bedroom guest house will be used primarily by teams of physicians and nurses from Sylvania Franciscan Health when they go to Haiti to provide medical services. It also will be used by church groups and other individuals who go there to support the Sisters’ work. The satellite dish will provide reliable Internet and telephone communication for the medical staff and visitors.

“This grant gives us the ability to be more effective as we minister in Haiti,” said Sylvania Franciscan Sister Faith Cosky, chair of the Congregation’s Haiti Committee. “It is often very difficult to talk with our Sisters. Internet service is down on a regular basis and reception for cell phones is spotty. This way we will have a reliable source to communicate in a timely and efficient way.”

The Sylvania Franciscans have been ministering in the mountains above Pestel, which is 90 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, since 2001. Sister Fidelis Rubbo started the ministry and has been there for 12 years and Sister Josephine Dybza for three. In addition to providing healthcare and the means to clean drinking water for residents in the 14 surrounding villages, the Sisters have created economic development programs to help the Haitians learn how to support themselves.

Sylvania Franciscan Health is the health and human services ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. Last year Jim Pope, President and CEO of Sylvania Franciscan Health, saw an opportunity to support the efforts of the Sisters in Haiti and offered to build a guest house so he could send teams of doctors and nurses there to treat the residents. Construction began in the summer of 2011 and the guest house is scheduled to be dedicated Dec. 2.

This grant, secured by the work of Sister Rosamond Jasinski, in the Congregational Advancement Office, Sister Fidelis Rubbo in Haiti and Sister Patricia Gardner, in the Congregational Leadership Team, will give the guest house a much needed reliable source of communication.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is a family foundation established in 1944 by the man who started Hilton Hotels. It provides funds to nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world.

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