The Sisters of St. Antoine of Fondwa was founded in 1996 by Sister Simone and Sister Carmelle. These sisters came together in 1994 with a common vision for God’s call to work for the rural poor of Haiti. In 1996, they officially became the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anthony of Fondwa.
The Sister’s mission is to bring God’s word to the poor of rural Haiti through prayer and direct service. The Sisters receive guidance from Father Joseph Philippe, co-founder and spiritual director.
The Sisters are involved in all of APF’s programs, but especially in the orphanage, where they take care of all of the children. The Sisters of Fondwa are now working on rebuilding the convent for their community. They had just completed the first convent when it was destroyed in the earthquake, and in it they lost a community member and an orphan, who perished in the rubble.
Sister Marie Carmelle Voltaire, a founder and beloved Sister.
“Orevwa, Se Kamel!” —
Sister Marie Carmelle Voltaire, beloved co-foundress of the Little Sisters of St. Antoine and a key leader in the Fondwa community for nearly two decades passed away this year. Following several months of illness and a diagnosis of metastatic liver cancer, Sister Carmelle was brought from Haiti to Kansas City thanks to the intervention of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, KS, whose community has had a long- term “partnership” with the Sisters of St. Antoine.
Sister Carmelle was “mother” to more than 20 younger sisters in the community and “mothered” every visitor to Fondwa with a warm Haitian hospitality that made visitors feel not only welcome, but special. In addition to hosting visitors and volunteers in Fondwa, Sr. Carmelle was trained as a nurse and provided primary care in the Fondwa Medical Clinic to hundreds of people. Pregnant women and malnourished children were a special focus of her health-care ministry. Likewise many of the youngest “at risk” or orphaned children who came to live in Fondwa’s Fatima House orphanage were special recipients of her maternal care.
Sister Carmelle was laid to rest in Kansas, in the Sisters of Charity cemetery. May Sister Carmelle rest in peace and may her indomitable spirit live on in the religious community she founded and in the lives of the many hundreds of people who knew her and loved her.
To make a tax deductible donation online click here, or you can write a check to:
Raising Haiti Foundation
Post Office Box 21624
Washington DC 20009.