During the first week of March, a team of 16 people visited SVC from the West Tennessee Haiti Partnership (WTHP) and Friends of Saint Vincent (FOSV). Bringing 30 suitcases of donations with them, the group consisted of doctors, nurses, researchers, medical and pharmacy students, an educator, pharmacist, occupational therapist, an artist, and other enthusiastic volunteers. While on site, the group ran a general medical clinic for the students and staff. In the afternoons, team members led art activities for the children.

During their visit, the medical clinic provided care for 214 patients, 44 of whom were adults. The children were given wellness assessments and treated for issues like ear, skin and respiratory infections. The adults were screened and treated for high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. Several children identified with more serious medical issues were referred to local Haitian medical facilities for follow-up and further evaluation. Most of the medications and supplies were purchased locally in an effort to support the Haitian economy. (A reflection by the Rev. Drew Woodruff is below.)

The art activities gave the blind and deaf students an opportunity to make more than 100 pairs of earrings for all the female staff members at SVC. Sonya Yencer (FOSV) says, “Working one-on-one with an interpreter, each student chose a set of earring components. In each set, one earring was pre-strung so they could feel the beads and their sequence. The loose beads were placed into trays where students searched for the first bead. For some, this was a BIG challenge, but their perseverance won!”

Both the FOSV and WTHP have been supporters of SVC for many years. We continue to be grateful for their partnership and look forward to the future. Thank you to all who so generously donated their time and expertise to this venture!

 Lenten Meditation: Turn My Heart of Stone into a Heart of Flesh

Friday, March 24
Mark 12:28-34

            It is more important to obey these two commandments than to offer other sacrifices to God.

The West Tennessee Haiti Partnership has just returned from another successful medical mission. Given this year’s Lenten theme of turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, I do not know how anyone who has spent time at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children would not have their hearts quickly converted from stone to flesh the moment one stepped through the door.

These children, some with multiple physical challenges along with being orphans have nothing to call their own except the vision of a better life patterned after the legacy of Sister Joan, the founder, who sought out truly the least of the least of God’s children.

Yet in their extreme poverty, their gifts to each other and to us, fills our hearts of flesh to the bursting point.  Is this not what our Lord and Savior did, just by standing in his presence?  Jesus had nothing the world considered valuable but what he had, he gave it all to us.

When we are given everything these children have to offer and we in turn give them a few days out of our year, our time, our talent, and our treasure, how can we return to our lives in the States and not seek with prayer and determination to change other hearts of stone we encounter by our children’s example given so freely to us without any reservation? Please join us on an upcoming mission trip.  You do not have to be a medical person but beware! You will be changed when you enter our Cathedral for Children.

–The Rev. Drew Woodruff