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Haiti

Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste (1947 – 2009) RIP

jeanjuste1

Father Gerard Jean-Juste a gentle man, a liberation theologist and a true revolutionary who dedicated his life to fight for justice for Haitians in Haiti and the U.S died on Wednesday 27th May. Fr Jean-Juste was constantly harassed by the security forces and imprisoned by Gérard Latortue who along with the US and France were responsible for the overthrow of President Bertrand Aristide. In December 2005, he was diagosed in the US with lymphocytic leukemia but inbetween his treatments he continued to move between Miami and Port-au-Prince where he was always met with a huge welcome.  Though it has not been proved questions remain on the real cause of Father Jean Juste’s cancer.

I had the honour of meeting Fr. Jean-Juste twice in Miami  at the Veye Yo – the center he opened in the 1970s for Haiti refugees in Little Haiti. He and everyone at the Veye Yo were so welcoming and respectful it was a truly humbling experience. I was unfortunate to miss him in Port-au-Prince due to the August 2007 hurricane and mess ups with him trying to get to PAP and me trying to get back to Miami. Fr Gerry as he was known held people together. Every week people would gather and whoever had something to say would stand and speak about their joys, their problems in Miami and in Haiti. Everyone would listen. I cannot imagine the sadness of the people of Little Haiti who where part of his life and theirs his – he will be terribly missed – I do not know how his people will manage.

In this video he explains his decision to start a soup kitchen in Haiti – “It was like a cry in my heart. I had to perform a miracle.” He Did!

3 Comments

  1. I am so deeply saddened to learn of Father Jean-Juste’s death. And so grateful to you, Sokari, for passing the word. Why do all the beautiful ones die and the ugly ones live and live and live, I wonder? May his memory waft through the lives of those he touched like the scent of tropical flowers. And may his strength and commitment ripple out to all those of us who live on that we might demonstrate a tiny shred of his willingness to serve.

  2. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Changeseeker@ Yes why are the good ones taken away from us.I was tellling a friend of mine about him and asking the same question. Her response as a practicing but not obsessive catholic was something to the effect of God lets the evil ones live in the hope they will change – I dont buy it not because I am an atheist but because it makes no sense to me. All I know is I was privileged to meet him and spend a little time in his company and to be touched by him. A very special person.

  3. “God lets the evil ones live in the hope they will change.” That’s the same kind of thinking that suggests that God “tests” people to see how they’ll do. I don’t believe either idea. Not all the good die young nor the evil live. That was just a frustrated pout on my part. Actually, sometimes living can be a punishment…it has a lot to do with your mindset. Father Jean-Juste sounds remarkable. You’re fortunate to have gotten to have him in your life.