editor’s note: Thank you to FAR student ambassador Anne for writing both of these articles to help us learn more about Pere Jeannot Joseph.
Pere Jeannot had quite the day last Wednesday. His day started with taking part in the Eucharist at Saint Mark’s Episcopal School. He blessed the people going to Haiti during November break, by saying prayers in English and singing songs in Haitian Creole. The students at Saint Mark’s presented him with checks that would go toward a new truck for his travels to all the churches he is in charge of and toward improving the lives of the students at Saint Mark’s partner school, St. Andre’s in Trianon, Haiti. Pere Jeannot then reciprocated by giving Saint Mark’s a beautiful metal art piece of a tree with birds in it. After church, Pere Jeannot and Mrs. Gideon, the 4th grade teacher at Saint Mark’s, went to some of the classrooms at the school. Middle schoolers asked him curious questions, which he often answered with a smile. The 4th grade said a prayer to him in Haitian Creole, a tradition that started with my class at Saint Mark’s four years ago. After question after question after question, Pere Jeannot and Mrs. Gideon went to St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora. The students gave up their lunch to hear Pere Jeannot speak about his experiences. [ed. note: A group of students at St. Lucy’s, led by senior Chloe Mancuso, will be creating picture books that will be translated into Haitian Creole and given to students in Haiti. The St. Lucy’s students will fundraise for this project by selling Luci Lights, which are solar-powered inflatable lanterns.]
Afterward, Pere Jeannot finally had a break until dinner time. That is when I asked him questions to help me write these blog entries. After dinner and his third interview of the day, he went to Mrs. Gideon’s church, Genesis. Genesis had raised money to help build a cafeteria for the students going to Saint Andre’s in Haiti. The church presented even more money ($10,000 to be exact) to finish their project. To thank them, Pere Jeannot gave a wonderful speech about how their contributions have helped the school. Pastor Sam, his wife Corinne, and Ms. Vinnedge, the middle school science teacher at Saint Mark’s, were given beautiful art pieces that they could hang on the walls of their houses. It was during this part of the day when Pere Jeannot said a quote I will never forget. “We are all God’s children.” Many people have said something like this, but when Pere Jeannot said it, it seemed that no one else could say it the way he did. He truly believed every word he said.