Congratulations to Nekita for her remarkable achievement!

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Congratulations to Nekita for her remarkable achievement!

Post by admin » Thu May 05, 2005 1:57 pm

Dear Ann Pale Community,

I received from Nekita an invitation to her graduation this May, in Boston MA. I will not be able to make it, but I will accompany her in spirit and I feel certain that many of you who have come to know her on this forum, and perhaps elsewhere, will join me in expressing our heartiest congratulations to our sister for having achieved what must have been a difficult goal for a Haitian mother, educator, community activist, frequent traveler, and participant it seems in all things religious.

...without even mentioning her numerous contributions to this forum, and persistence in the face of many among us (including myself) who are rather skeptical (to say the least!) of all people's claims concerning divinity and religion.

Nevertheless, as our crazily determined and brave sister makes good on earning a Masters degree
in Theology, I cannot help but admire her tenacity and feel some of the pride that her family and friends must be feeling today. Off hand, I don't know of any other black Haitian woman who has earned a similar degree, and even if there are, Nekita has to be one of the pioneers in the field. Nekita is also a devout catholic. It's really too bad that the College of Cardinals has decided to maintain its strict White European Male bias in choosing a Leader for a global institution that wants people to think of itself as " universal" . A notion of universality that extends to its reach but not to its leadership. I hope that our sister Nekita, armed with her new credentials, will be able to shake up the old foggies a bit. More so perhaps than I ever could, even with Gelin, Jafrikayiti, Jonas, and Leonel (not that we can ever agree on anything).

...and so lie the challenges ahead for our dear sister. But for now, a celebration is in order... (time to figure out how to repay the student loans... later!)
-- I ask you all to join me [Lemane, Widy, Jean-Marie, Jack Speese, Marilyn, Bouli, Jaf, Jonas, Leonel, Gelin, Empress, Pauline, Choublak... newcomers Anacaona and Shelony, and all other past and present community members) in giving a big High Five to Nekita Lamour, MS in Theology (or whatever the degree is formally called).

And to all the skeptics out there, let's give her a break today! Also, I am sure that Nekita would sure like to hear from you some ideas about how to repay her student loans...

If I were her, I would pray very hard...



Post by Shellony » Tue May 10, 2005 11:52 pm

I just want to join my voice to those of fellow Ann pale-ers to congratulate you on your achievements.



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An educator's silver anniversary

Post by admin » Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:02 pm

From Nekita Lamour, on her educational experience of the past 25 years

[quote]An educator's silver anniversary

l980-2005 - 25 years since I graduated from college with a Bachelor's degree in Education. Coincidentally 25 years later, after a Master's in Education and many years of advanced graduate studies in various fields of Education, I became one of the first lay Haitians among the 2%-3% of Black Catholics to study theology. I am among one of the rare "ethnic minority persons " from the U.S to obtain a graduate degree in Theology in a Jesuit school of Theology. Most of the students are from out of state, out of the country, or from the middle to upper middle class suburbs. Moreover, I went through this rigorous program while working as a school teacher and parenting. Unfortunately , no Black church goers I kne
w in the past 20, 30 years came to my graduation and witness a Black woman and a mother going through this milestone.

Please say a prayer of Thanksgiving for me also during the jubilee anniversaries that will be celebrated throughout the year. I am very grateful to God for giving me the strength to study despite all odds. Xavier University has a program that provides formal theological training geared to black Catholics' heritage. Few if any blacks from the Boston area had participated in that program. Besides one African American man and a Haitian woman who had some ministerial training or certificate, I don't know of any Black Catholic lay person - Haitian or non Haitian with some sort of formal ministerial or theological training in the Boston area. A year or two ago, the USSCB Black Catholic site reported 4 black theologians, three women, one man. I know Cyprian Davis as a Black Catholic historian and Toinette Eugene as a social ethicist. Other authors had written that there are seven Black Ca
tholic (African American) theologians in the United States. A priest or a pastor, or a bishop is not a theologian. Though very religious or spiritual, a Black or Third World person, especially Catholics learning how God manifest himself in his/her life is very rare. Even in conferences attended by thousands of faithful, unless is geared to a Black or ethnic population, you can count on your fingers how many Blacks attend those conferences. One doesn't read the clergy's or the brethren's comments in topics related to God either.

I don't want to sound pompous. I was in an award night last week where I saw many young people, especially Haitian immigrant girls walking up the stage to receive numerous scholarships and awards. I did not see any community or church person to show support to these young people. I go to many Black churches (protestant and catholic) where the graduates' names will not be recognized in any shape or form.
Lattine Bien-Aime one of the Haitian students who was called at least six times for awards and is going to Spellman in the fall, will not be in any newspaper, or any Haitian radios.

For many years that I have gone to High school award nights, pre engineering design and achievement awards where Haitian students have shined, I never say anything. I think knowing the low performance of Blacks in this country's public schools, those young people and any Black person who gets a diploma from a predominantly white institution needs to be praised, especially a Haitian immigrant.

The lack of community wide support, mentor and interest in Education is an issue that I believe as an educator really needs to be addressed in the Haitian community. I am talking as an immigrant who is looking at the immigrants who had come before me and how their churches played a significant role in supporting them and helping them assimilate and acculturate in the Anglo protestant culture. As a Black person, I look at
the trust, the dependency that churgoers have on their ministers and most importantly the role that the Black church has in the faithful's lives. Today's immigrant church or any of what appears to be the immigrant's support system (radio, church, teachers) is not playing that engaging and supportive role. I am a vivid example of such lack of mentorship. With all the pastors, priests, and ministers in the Black and Haitian community, I had nobody I could ask any question or help in anything while studying theology. The only person who was available was a “virtual” mentor, a college professor whom I never talked with or never met. I was pleased to get articles that he would mail me and the e-mails that he would write to answer to questions I had.

Even when learning how to preside (say mass) I wanted to tell a priest how hard the process was. I was taught how to do 25 and 45 minute services. I really appreciate the foreign priests in this case the Haitians who have to do an hour and half some t
imes two hour liturgies and four hour charismatic services. It's a lot of work. But please work more on your sermons, read more, take classes and prepare more thoughtful and informative homilies. If you look around a good number of the Haitian churches don't have the educated Haitian in their membership, especially in Boston. Also there are way more rituals and services in a Catholic church than a mass and the charismatic prayers that a lot of professionals would like. Take some liturgy and other classes.

I want to say thank you to the atheists, the agnostics, the Irish Catholics, the converted Black Catholics,the protestants, the Episcopalians and the unchurched who either came to my graduation, or mailed me cards, sent me gifts, flowers or called me. I also want to thank my family who gave me a surprise reception that I truly did not expect.

Thanks to all, especially my cyber friends.


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