When a catastrophic earthquake devastated large parts of Haiti in January 2010, there was a frail but determined Irish nun with close links to the Diocese of Meath on hand to help with fundraising and relief efforts.

Sr Mary Hardiman, a native of Galway but with close family ties in Dunderry, Co. Meath had worked for many years on the Caribbean island and was regularly supported by the Diocese of Meath.

Within six months of the earthquake, a total of € 329,267.93 had been raised following an appeal by Bishop Michael Smith.  The funds were dispersed through various partners working in Haiti, including the Diocese of Les Gonaives, Trocaire, Haven and Sr Mary Hardiman’s outreach projects for women and prisoners.

“I was eager that the funds received from people in the Diocese of Meath would go directly to where the need is greatest” Bishop Smith said. “The projects we have been able to support, thanks to the generosity of the people, are helping to provide both immediate and long term solutions to the problem of poverty.  While we support the rebuilding of houses, we are also committed to providing children with schools and colleges so that, with the benefit of a good education, they will take responsibility for their own future”.

Late last year, Sr Mary Hardiman retired from active missionary work in her beloved Haiti.  She is now living in Galway and remains in regular contact with Bishop Smith.

A project review meeting took place on Friday 28 April in Mullingar with Bishop Smith and Irish-born Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Eugene Nugent.  The Nuncio briefed the Bishop on the current situation in the country.  He expressed particular appreciation of the good work and zealous witness of Sr Mary Hardiman in serving the Gospel among the poor of Haiti.