Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady

Haiti Healthcare Project

We are grateful for your interest in our Haiti Healthcare Project. Over the years our work relies heavily on the generosity of those who are more fortunate. Our needs beyond your daily prayers are for annual donations and we are committed to using every penny you give to glorify God in all we do.

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Enriching the Quality of Life for More than 35 Years

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady North American Region is committed to extending its missionary work outside the United States just as our FMOL International Sisters do in many other countries.

Sisters Althea Jonis and Martha Ann Abshire were missioned to Haiti in October 1988. Upon arrival, the most pressing need was to improve the healthcare provided for the community. The Sisters set about learning the language and culture. With backgrounds in nursing, occupational therapy and nursing home administration, they selected the town of Aquin for the convent. St. Helene, a remote rural community on the southwest coast of Haiti with a small Catholic mission church, was chosen to establish an outpatient medical clinic and an inpatient nutrition center.

From the beginning, our goal has been to not only provide service, but to teach and encourage our Haitian brothers and sisters to work together in the hopes of becoming increasingly self-sufficient. Great strides have been made and our work continues today.

Haitian Situation Today

In 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake affecting more than 3 million people and killing 220,000, and in 2016 Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, hit the southern peninsula which is where our convent and clinic are located. On August 14, 2021, the southern peninsula of Haiti near Les Cayes experienced another earthquake, 7.2 magnitude. This earthquake center of activity was less than 5 miles from the FMOL Convent in Aquin and the Clinic and Children’s Hospital in St. Helene. There was major damage to the area. The two-story Children’s Hospital collapsed, and the Sisters are working outside of the damaged Clinic to provide care as they are able.


Built in 1998, our convent was compromised in the 2021 earthquake and is structurally unsound. The water available is rationed and unclean. The building’s electricity was run by a wind turbine and solar panels, but were damaged by storms and the aging batteries need to be replaced. A generator, run periodically throughout the day, keeps food in the refrigerator and freezer cold. Communication is also an issue because WIFI and postal services are offered only in town. Our General Minister is taking steps to rebuild.

The two aging vehicles the Sisters and staff use are in a state of disrepair. It is a one-hour journey from the convent in Aquin to the clinic in St. Helene each morning and evening on unpaved dirt roads and a four-hour drive to Port-au-Prince for groceries and supplies. Reliable transportation is key to the operation.

Outpatient Clinic

Our outpatient clinic “Men Ansanm” “Hands Together” used to provide healthcare and pharmacy services to more than 5,000 adults and children each year was also severely damaged in the earthquake. A temporary outdoor shelter is currently being used to see patients.

The staff at the clinic treat a variety of illnesses and the clinic serves as the primary site for evaluating children and as the vaccination center for the region where health workers who service the mountains and surrounding areas. In 2005, the pharmacy was honored by the Haitian Health Department as the region’s designated tuberculosis diagnostic and treatment center. Most of the staff were cut following COVID-19 and the earthquake. It will take some time for our clinic to recover.

Haiti Healthcare Project
4200 Essen Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

(225) 526-7443

Sr. Martha Ann Abshire, FMOL
Natalie Herndon, Marketing