Haiti, sister Dell’Orto killed, a life with street children

It’s June 27, two days have passed since her murder in Haiti, at Delmas 19 in Port au Prince, but her children with the animators would not make her miss her birthday wishes. Gathered in front of a billboard, they sing “Happy birthday to you” and stare with emotion at the photograph of Sister Luisa Dell’Orto, who would have turned 65 years old. The video arrives in Italy, to friends and family, arrives in Turin, where the congregation of Sister Luisa, the little sisters of the Gospel, founded in 1963 by Father René Voillaume, who is inspired by Charles de Foucauld’s spirituality, has a small community of three religious in Barriera di Milano district, where they collaborate with Maria Speranza Nostra parish. It arrives via WhatsApp on the phone to Sister Anna Mandrini, also a missionary in Haiti, before Sister Luisa’s arrival in 2002, but as “I knew well”, she says, “we had done a project together and our families are from the same area “.

They had seen each other last year. “She had returned to Italy for a while, but despite the situation in Haiti, she wanted to return to her children, to her mission. He knew it was dangerous, he knew what risk he was running, but he did not want to leave the boys in Kay Chal, Casa Carlo. Even in recent months, when we talked and described the situation, he talked about the possibility of kidnappings: missionaries for criminal gangs, if they are white, if they come from Europe, they are considered a potential source of money. And so Sister Luisa was killed on the street, the victim of an armed attack, we do not know if it was for a kidnapping or a robbery … ».

Victim of a situation of increasing instability. “Unfortunately,” Sister Anna continues, “over the years we have not seen improvements, yes, violence is growing, gangs are growing, and that’s because there is no interest in stability in the country: for criminal organizations and for those who run businesses. with them, for drug traffickers, it’s convenient in this way “. Just a year ago, between July 6 and 7, an armed group killed President Jovenale Moise, and from July 20, 2021, the country is led by a president ad interimAriel Henry, who already escaped an attack in January last year: Members of an armed gang had attacked the president’s car in Gonaives, at the end of a mass in the cathedral, triggered a shooting and escaped unharmed thanks to the escort.

Sister Luisa was not escorted, who opposed the culture of violence with the training of children at Casa Carlo, especially reste-avec, which in Haiti would be nearly 400,000. “They are children,” Sister Anna continues, “which the parents, often from the country, leave to people from the capital or from the big centers because they cannot support them. Children, many also orphans, who end up in slave relationships, forced to work, who do not go to school, who become commodities, for them Sister Luisa gave her life. Street children who have known violence from the earliest years of life, and who then, if left to themselves, will use it in shifts.

When the nun arrived in Haiti in 2002, Casa Carlo already existed, but it was she who took care of its reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake and continued the service of welcoming, training and helping street children: “Now we hope that with the cooperation between Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Incarnation, which already collaborated with Sister Luisa, Casa Carlos’ work must continue … ».

“Luisa,” recalls the nuns of the congregation, “in recent years she has lived alone, completely dedicated to the service of the neighborhood’s youth and children; he also offered his skills by teaching philosophy history to seminarians in the Haitian Church. He was aware of the risk he was running, but he had always wanted to be close to people to share their fears, their pains, to try to encourage them to continue fighting for a better future. ” And it is already a signal – they discover, raise on social another video from Haiti – the fact that on June 30, just where she was killed, a march was held with young people expressing their “no” to violence in Sister Luisa’s name and memory.

“The light of life remains lit in us,” explained Jouvenel, a young man from Kay Chal, “and to symbolize this confirmation at the end of the march in memory of Luisa and for peace, we lit candles near the cross planted at the site of his death. “. “It is a first sprout of life,” the nuns still comment, “the fact that so many young people are marching for peace and refusing to enter the spiral of hatred and revenge.” And then Sister Anna adds: “As proof of the good people wanted Sister Luisa and how much her service was appreciated, many people wanted to participate in the demonstration: animators, ordinary people, police. Many said: ‘It is not easy for us as Haitians to accept that a person with such strength and courage who gave himself for the country has been killed by criminals who do not understand what he was doing for us’. Many are ashamed of this murder because they have not protected her. “

And to voices of pain and condemnation of the march, a note from the Haitian religious conference on July 4 was added: “This heinous act threw us into confusion, indignation. Worried about the ‘killer machine that removes everything’, we are helplessly witnessing a lethargy that paralyzes an entire people: when will this descent to hell end? Who will be able to stop this spiral of violence? Once again, despite the inertia of our authorities, we, religious men and women, join our voices with the Church and all people of good will to say no to this useless and faceless violence that is destroying our country. “

The body also appeals to the competent authorities to carry out a “serious investigation to determine the circumstances and cause of this barbarism, so that the perpetrators of the crime are arrested and brought to justice”. The note concludes: “Sister Luisa bequeathed to us a testimony of life that was immensely stronger than the crime that killed her. His blood, violently shed, will remain a seed of reconciliation and peace for the new dreamed Haiti.

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