HISTORY OF HOLY SPIRIT MISSION
The Mission of Holy Spirit Parish in the southwestern town of Maggotty, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica began in January, 1999, with the arrival of two Polish priests, Father Marek Bzinkowski and Father Andrew Beltowski who arrived at their new post armed only with the blessing of the bishop and their own faith and enthusiasm.
Maggotty, described as a “deep, rural district,” is a poor but beautiful agricultural region situated along a bend of the Black River. It was the scene of eager beginnings of a new parish being built until a terrible accident on December 5, 1999 near Santa Cruz, Jamaica nearly cost Fr. Marek his life.
By the workings of Divine Providence, the Diocese of Mandeville appealed to its sister Diocese in the United States, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, whose bishop moved quickly to bring Father Marek to Altoona, Pennsylvania. After many surgeries, prayers and recuperation with our Sisters, Father Marek returned to his post after a rather miraculous recovery.
OUR SISTERS IN JAMAICA
A few years later, on September 7, 2004 our Congregation opened a convent at Holy Spirit Parish. Our Sisters work at the clinic, treating the ambulatory and making home visits to those in the surrounding villages who are too sick to come. The Sisters are loved by the people who call these missionary Sisters “our angels.” The new Holy Spirit Clinic – is a beautiful, spacious clinic with two examining rooms, dental office, pharmacy, physical therapy room, storage areas, large waiting area with a roof, public and private restroom facilities, and private quarters for the employees to eat a quick midday snack and get back to work. A new eye clinic has just been built as well.
Sister Clare Marie Carriger registers the patients and helps with taking information before the patients are seen. Sister Emila Malczak, Sister Rita Kurdziel, and Sr. Scholastyka Hajduk work as nurses. The clinic is regularly visited by doctors and by volunteer medical personnel visiting throughout the year.
Our Sisters also evangelize through catechesis and sacramental preparation and outreach to the people where possible.
THE NEEDS ARE GREAT
As to the poverty of this country, the conditions are primitive. For most, there is no running water or electricity, and people can be seen carrying water to their homes. At times the roads became too bad to drive, and there is no way but to walk over rough terrain and steep inclines. The living conditions of most of the people are deplorable. The Jamaican women still cook over an open fire, wash clothes in the river and dry in the grasses and their bathroom and shower facilities are rudimentary outhouses with buckets of water.
The Lord's Heart is moved with compassion for His poor, suffering children, whom He identifies with Himself. He would relieve their desperation, educate them, elevate them to the dignity which is theirs, but, as is has so beautifully been said:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”