More than 1 million Rosaries
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Rosaries for the Poorest of the Poor

3/25/2013

The following touching article was sent to us as a letter of thanks to our ministry for our donation of Rosaries. Our ministry distributes more than 1.2 million Rosaries a year. We receive many thank you letters from many corners of the world from families, schools, parishes, and hospital. We think you will agree that this thank you letter is deeply moving. It inspires us to continue this important program begun by Father Peyton, and we hope it inspires our Rosary makers and donors. We are so grateful to our Rosary makers and donors without whom this ministry would not be possible.

By Janet Derby, CSJ Associate

The Saint Luke Foundation in Haiti has grown out of earlier initiatives begun by Father Richard “Rick” Frechette, a Passionist Priest and medical Doctor. It is geared toward healthcare, education, sustainable development and relief for the most marginalized and those most in need. It is aptly named for an evangelist and physician. Since his arrival in 1987, Father Rick has been instrumental in establishing twenty-eight schools, three developing hospitals, multiple clinics, housing and community programs, micro-economy entrepreneurial development, disaster relief, and various works of mercy for the destitute.
One of the works of mercy is burying the dead with reverence and dignity. Those who make up Father Rick’s team at St. Luke’s Foundation have long been committed to burying the destitute, averaging at least 100 per month. It is hard to imagine that in this day and age, many poor people, when they die, are heaped into rotting piles of other destitute dead until their remains are gathered and then literally dumped into a common grave. Each body once housed a life with a mind full of hopes and dreams. Each one was someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, other relative or friend. Many of the dead are babies and small children. The poverty they experienced in life continues to humiliate them in death. Archeological discoveries have taught us that the human family has always buried the dead with affection, reverence and ritual. Some mystics have considered charity toward the dead to be the highest form of charity since it is done with no possibility of gaining anything from the deed. Unfortunately, living relatives and friends do not have the means to bury the dead. Father Rick, and his team of volunteers perform this great work of mercy on one appointed day each week. Each burial costs about $100.
Currently, the Foundation needs help in burying at least 1,200 destitute dead (mostly women and their children). Those who gather up the dead have been in desperate need of body bags and rosaries. In many cases, the remains of four or five children or as many as fifteen tiny babies can be placed in one bag. Rosaries are placed in the bags with them, and they are given a service filled with prayer and music, before burial in a proper place. They are wrapped in shrouds and are placed in hand dug graves in open fields.
It is with heartfelt thanks to the Family Rosary Regional Office of the Holy Cross Family Ministries that the Albany Associates were able to send a total of 1,500 handmade rosaries to the St. Luke Foundation in Haiti. Assisting the Dear Neighbor was made possible through the efforts of Laetitia Rhatigan, Director of the Regional Office, Sister Maria Charles Norton, CSJ and all who had a hand in making the rosaries for Haiti.
(The Funeral Directors Association of New York State is assisting with the need for body bags.)