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Sowing Peace in Haiti

Mary Alban Bouchard CSJ, assisted by Haitian collaborators, has completed the writing and publishing of a series of 16 booklets in the Creole language for animators of youth groups. Called “Lape Gaye,” which means “Sowing Peace,” each 16-page booklet encourages Haitian teenagers to build a culture of peace.

“The books are full of instruction and activity,” said Sr. Mary Alban. “If young people do something, they will remember it.” Each booklet develops a peace-related theme through stories, songs, drama, profiles of peacemakers, puzzles that encourage ‘thinking out of the box,’ pictures and poems.

A long-time peace activist, Sr. Mary Alban took to heart the United Nations millennium resolution recommending that every nation study its own culture to foster what is positive and life giving and to change what is negative and destructive. Her booklets emphasize truth, the common good and alternative thinking and acting.

Pope John Paul II gave the apostolic blessing to Sr. Mary Alban and her collaborators. The Haitian Religious Conference sponsored this project through piloting and distribution. The work is also in the hands of the Haitian bishops who recently set up a Commission of Peace and Reconciliation and who can use the booklets in the service of peace education.

“Radio Soleil, the Port-aux-Prince Archdiocesan radio, will begin broadcasting programs based on the series in September,” said Sr. Mary Alban. “Radio Soleil has a wide audience. The programs may be shared with other diocesan radio stations. We will then be giving training workshops for youth animators in all nine provinces as well as the capital, which has more than one-third of the population of Haiti.”

Sister Mary Alban is a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto. She has spent 16 years in ministry with women and their families at Hospice St. Joseph at Port au Prince, Haiti, writing and working for peace.

Reprinted with permission of Catholic New Times, Oct. 9, 2005

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