February 5, 2010

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Experience in Haiti filled with ‘God moments’ for area nurse

By MARY ANN HUGHES (Message staff writer)

Even as Aundrea Ludlow shudders at the memories of the horrors she saw in Haiti, she is filled with awe as she remembers the God moments she experienced there.

She’s a wife, the mother of four and a nurse who was in the middle of a mission trip in Haiti when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the small Caribbean nation.

She first heard of Haiti when she was a student at Holy Family School in Jasper and “it tugged at my heart.” More recently she was reminded of it when a fellow nurse went there on mission trips through the Village to Village program.

Her visit in mid-January was her second time there, and when the Jan. 12 earthquake hit she was riding in a truck about 25 miles from Port-au-Prince. “We thought we had a flat tire, and then we saw people running — and we saw houses falling.”

That night, with people too frightened to return to their homes, everyone slept under the stars. “They all prayed together in Creole,” Aundrea remembers. As radio reports filtered in about the damage in Port-au-Prince, she realized “it was bad.”

The next morning her group packed up its medical supplies and headed for Port-Au-Prince. She remembers being scared that “I wouldn’t know what to do because I’m not an emergency room nurse.”

As they drove into the capital city, refugees were streaming out. “The tap tap [cabs] were overflowing with people,” she said.

The Americans found a place to stay in an orphanage, and then they set up a make-shift medical clinic on a street and “we started giving care.” People came with head injuries, broken bones, “open fractures with bones exposed. We did the best we could.

“We used wooden spoons as splints and we sutured. We had lots of antibiotics and dressings. We worked for six solid hours. I was so weak because I hadn’t eaten.”

She said, contrary to news reports, “it wasn’t a mob or unruly. Anything you could do, they were so thankful.” After she treated the ankle of a woman, the husband stayed to serve as an interpreter. “He said, ‘You helped me. Now I’m helping you.’”

(For this story and more news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at www.themessageonline.org)


Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Notre Dame Haiti Program staff recounts earthquake, refocuses priorities

By Shannon Chapla

NOTRE DAME — “I feel like I have my second life,” said Holy Cross Father Thomas Streit, founder of the University of Notre Dame’s Haiti Program.

Father Streit was at a meeting in Port-au-Prince’s Hotel Montana with Notre Dame colleagues Sarah Craig and Logan Anderson and postdoctoral student Marie Denise Milord during the Jan. 12 earthquake, which collapsed their hotel. All four were standing on open hotel balconies and rode the building down as it pancaked to the ground. They sustained only minor cuts and bruises.

“The building around us came down and we were all thrown to the ground and we held on to literally nothing because we were on a tile floor,” explained Craig, manager of the Haiti Program. “The building below us just collapsed and we could feel it going down each floor until we ended up somewhere between the first and second floors with the rubble beneath us.”

The four were in the nation’s capital city to attend the semiannual partners meeting for the Neglected Tropical Disease Initiative, along with some 25 Haitian colleagues. After the meeting had concluded, the group separated into different areas of the hotel compound.

“The Notre Dame people split into different groups and when the earthquake hit, we were all on different rooftop terraces,” said Father Streit, who had been standing below another terrace but managed to step out from underneath seconds before the collapse. “All of us went down at least two floors. One of our staff people had a double fracture to his leg and some from our meeting were buried in the building for a few days but were found unhurt. Everyone that was associated with the meeting and our partnership has been accounted for, except one, so we are praying for that individual.”

After helping carry injured people from the hotel and assisting with first-aid, the four found a grassy spot to rest and spend the night, if not sleep.

“I could hear people praying and chanting,” Anderson said, “and also the sounds of more buildings coming down during the aftershocks. You could just hear thousands of people screaming. That will stay with me for awhile.”

The next day, U.N. troops arrived at the hotel and the four walked with them to the U.N. Embassy, then to the American Embassy where they spent another night. Craig, Anderson and Milord were flown home, while Father Streit remained behind to help his Haitian colleagues. All now are back at Notre Dame.


Brother Paige named president-elect at Holy Cross College

By Diane Freeby

NOTRE DAME — Catholic identity is at the “top of the table,” says newly appointed Holy Cross College president, Holy Cross Brother John R. Paige. That, along with drawing more students and raising more money makes up the immediate agenda for Brother Paige as he prepares to lead the small liberal arts college founded in 1966.

Brother Paige was formally introduced at a press Jan. 20, on the liturgical feast day of founder of the Holy Cross Congregation, Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, C.S.C. Brother Paige replaces Brother Richard Gilman, who recently announced his retirement after 17 years of service.

Because he is currently serving a six-year term at vicar general of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Rome, Brother Paige will remain in Italy until he is able to return to Indiana to assume the presidency of Holy Cross College in January of 2011.

Brother Paige has had a long and highly accomplished career in education as a teacher, coach, athletic director, academic dean, principal, board member, president/ CEO and college professor, and is frequently involved as a workshop facilitator, speaker and consultant on religious, educational and school governance and accreditation issues. He has also served the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States as master of novices.

Brother Paige says he is excited about building on the strengths he already sees at Holy Cross College, while also collaborating with nearby Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame. He also believes the school’s Catholic identity is its strength, citing a current report on vocations in Indiana, he says, “Forty-six young men are trying to discern their vocation to perhaps serve in religious life of Holy Cross … 46! Sixteen of them have matriculated in some way at this college. Sixteen of 46!”

Brother Paige says Holy Cross College is able to contribute to many formative experiences.

“We give the same opportunity to all the men and women who are here at Holy Cross College. That’s contributing to Catholic identity, not only of the institution, but of the Congregation of Holy Cross and of the Church in northern Indiana and wherever these young people go, back to their own homes to work and be part of a family.”

(For these stories and more news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at www.todayscatholicnews.org)


Diocese of Gary

Three-day Pilgrimage for Diocesan Pro-lifers

Story by Tim Hunt

GRIFFITH — In the shadow of our national monuments, the streets echoed with the voices of those who wish to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v Wade. Thousands of pro-life supporters descended upon the Nations Capital to participate in the annual March for Life.

Fifty-one people, led by Pro-Life director for the Diocese of Gary Father Theodore Mens, boarded a bus from St. Mary, Griffith, and made the more than ten hour journey to Washington DC. 

The three day pilgrimage began with a special mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. The Basilica, with its 6,000-person capacity, quickly filled up with young people overflowing into the aisles and many chapels.

On the day of the march thousands of young people filed into the Verizon Center for a youth rally and mass. Father Lawrence Swink from St. Pius X Parish in Bowie, Maryland, delivered the homily to the 10,000 excited youths. He spoke of what he called the three P’s, Protection of life, Prayer, and Purity.  Father Swink emphasized that the right to life continues into old age and can only end with natural death.

Following the rally thousands of people descended onto the streets of Washington DC to march from the Washington monument to the Supreme Court building. Despite forecasts calling for rain and snow, the National Mall was filled with pro-life advocates holding banners and chanting slogans. The rains never came as the banner reading “Diocese of Gary Respects Life” was carried up Capitol Hill.  

The pilgrimage ended with the small St Mary’s group meeting with US Representative Peter J. Visclosky(D) of Indiana's 1st Congressional District. Visclosky was presented with a letter, signed by all pilgrimage participants that called on the congressman to pursue the dignity of life in all his decisions.

(For this story and more news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at www.nwicatholic.com)


Diocese of Lafayette

I was saying my prayers, wondering what it was going to be like to die': Volunteer arrived in Haiti two hours before quake

By Kevin Cullen

WEST LAFAYETTE — Red Cross volunteer nurse Sue Alexander is back home now … but her heart remains amid the rubble and death in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

She nearly died in the Jan. 12 earthquake. She remembers the agony of a pregnant woman with broken arms and legs, and a man whose face was crushed. She thinks about the devastation, the dead, the prayers, and the helplessness she felt when she had no more pain killers to give.

“My biggest regret is that I didn’t have more supplies,” said Alexander, a retired registered nurse and member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in West Lafayette. “I worked in the neighborhood, house to house. I had antibiotics and some potent pain medicine, so I was able to minister to people until it was all gone.

“A young girl, about 10 years old, died in my arms,” she said in a Jan. 18 interview. “At first, I wasn’t sure if she was dead or alive, (then) she gasped. I didn’t see external injuries, so she must have been crushed. I checked her pulse with my hand, and it was probably 250. I looked up at her father and said, ‘She is dying.’

“The father was frantic. He was running with her, but there was no place for him to go.”

Alexander, a resident of Romney in Tippecanoe County, has served Haitians since 1994, and once lived on the Caribbean island for nearly two years. She still makes two 10-day trips to Haiti every year.

She arrived in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, planning to spend the next 10 days working as a volunteer Red Cross nurse. Two hours later, the quake hit. She returned to the United States on a military plane on Jan. 16. Now she’s raising money to build a new home for Martin Glesil, the translator who lost almost everything … and saved her life.

“I promised him we would get the money. I don’t know how I will do it, but I promised,” she said less than a day after her return home. She was staying in Glesil’s house when the magnitude 7.0 temblor struck .

(For this story and more news from the Diocese of Lafayette, log on to the website of The Catholic Moment at www.thecatholicmoment.org)

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