In a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter, Gerard Thomas Straub details the experience of Fr. Tom Hagan, OSFS, in his work in Haiti after the earthquake.
While much of the media coverage that immediately followed the earthquake has died down, Straub notes that the situation in Haiti these days is getting worse. Poverty, disease, and violence continue to be large problems, just as they were before the earthquake. In this pro-life month in the Church, we are reminded that “Poverty is death.”
In this violent, chaotic world, Fr. Hagan articulates how Salesian spirituality and his prayer life sustains him in what can be tiring, thankless work. Fr. Hagan notes that Salesian spirituality gives him what he calls a “positive arrogance” because of his unfailing trust in the providence of God.
Straub gives a beautiful description of Fr. Hagan’s ministry in the slums of Haiti, “In a world of shadows and despair, Hagan is a gentle ray of light and hope.” Fr. Hagan is doing extraordinary things in Haiti, but we all live in a world that can be marked by violence and despair. Being a gentle presence in a violent world in the tradition of Salesian spirituality is a valuable gift we can all offer to the world today.