Art, Music, and the St. Joseph Family

Art, Music, and the St. Joseph Family

For many in the United States, life in Haiti seems filled with hardship.  This idea of a ‘suffering Haiti’ is what we see in the mass media.  And, after all, the country is still recovering from what was, by many measures, the most devastating natural disaster to strike our world in generations.

While it is true that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and, because of that, life is hard for many, many people, the reality is that Haiti is also a place of profound beauty.

Aside from the natural beauty of the country – the mountains rising up from bright blue seas and abundant wildlife – the people of Haiti have also created a richly beautiful and unique artistic heritage.  This artistry can be seen in so many places — from the myriad street vendors selling bright paintings and iron art to voices lifted up in song on any given morning to the poetry of Haitian proverbs that pepper everyday Kreyòl. Haiti is a country truly immersed in art.

Recognizing this, the St. Joseph Family was founded on the belief that art, music, and dance are things of beauty that should not be reserved for the wealthy. Instead, they should be cornerstones of life for even the most disadvantaged members of society.

As a visitor to Haiti and as a guest at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, Wings of Hope, Trinity House, and Lekol Sen Trinite, I was always amazed by the artistic beauty exemplified by this ministry.  The daily prayers at St. Joseph’s are not just spoken, but rather sung with an entrancingly beautiful plainsong.  The dancers of the RDTH pour out their hearts and souls through stunning and complex choreography.  The residents of Wings of Hope are transformed through daily song and dance that lift up their spirits and help them forget their mental and physical challenges.

Indeed, as a musician myself, the deep fulfillment I experienced performing my viola alongside drummers at Wings of Hope and young singers at St. Joseph’s is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

The music and art of Haiti touched my soul, and the kindness of its people opened my heart.  The St. Joseph Family was my portal to this culture, and as they celebrate their 30th anniversary, they are deserving of blessings and support.

St. Joseph’s is a remarkable ministry that believes in the value of human life and recognizes the capacity of art and culture to bring beauty and joy, even at the ends of the earth.

Bonne fete zanmi mwen!

— Geoffrey Hamlyn

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