Written On Our Hearts: Empowering the Students of Louverture Cleary

Newsletter issue: 
April 2014
News item date: 
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Thomas Cody (THP Volunteer)

Mrs. Christina Moynihan reads aloud from a Kreyòl Bible
with Jean Widler as class listens intently.

      Christina Moynihan began teaching Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body at Louverture Cleary School (LCS) in 2010.  For Mrs. Moynihan, John Paul the Great’s study on human sexuality and God’s purpose for us is essential to their formation as Louverturians, as young people prepared to change Haiti.  “If we want them to be soldiers for Christ, they need the vocabulary and the tools.  In Theology of the Body, it’s all there for them,” she explained.

      Mrs. Moynihan attended her first seminar on Theology of the Body in 2007 at St. Thomas More Parish in Lynnwood, WA.  After learning more about the curriculum while living in South Carolina, through retreats and in the classroom, she said to herself, “No holds barred, I am going to teach this at LCS.” With her familiarity with the subject matter and her position at the school as Director of Community Outreach, teacher, wife and mother of four (two of whom are enrolled at LCS), Mrs. Moynihan is uniquely qualified to teach the subject at LCS.

      Deacon Patrick Moynihan, President of The Haitian Project (THP) and Head of LCS, and, insists that his wife’s Theology of the Body is essential to forming LCS students as agents of change.  “What Christina is taking the time to teach the students are some of the most relevant teachings the Church has to offer.  Given the issues in regard to the strength of family coherence in Haiti, it is especially relevant to provide students with a spiritual and rational way of how we are to participate practically and morally in God’s creative plan.” 

      The reality of the students’ fractured family lives manifests itself every day in class for Mrs. Moynihan.  “They talk about how their parents have multiple families—it’s all splintered,” continued Mrs. Moynihan, “I give the information with love and without judgment.  Their families are fragmented.  They now know that there is something better.  It is great when I can see the switches get turned on.”

      Two years after taking Mrs. Moynihan’s class, Rhéto (U.S. 12th Grade) student Jacob Kelly has taken these lessons to heart.  “Our body is holy.  We need to respect it and respect others.  I know now that if we respect others we will be able to respect ourselves, too,” said Jacob.

      Today, Mrs. Moynihan’s course is a staple in the LCS religion curriculum.  She teaches Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade) students that God “has a plan for us, and your body is part of that plan by design.”  After establishing the biblical foundation of Theology of the Body, Mrs. Moynihan teaches basic reproductive health.  At this formative point in their lives, the Twazyèm religion curriculum prepares students for upcoming challenges.  “It is written in their hearts, but they don’t have the vocabulary.  They are going through change and they need a plan.  The class gives them the tools and the strategy to change their future and make family the foundation of their society,” Mrs. Moynihan stated.

      As with all THP programs, Mrs. Moynihan’s course empowers her students to be the initiators of change, to have families of their own and to discuss it with their children.  “I want them to learn this because knowledge is power…Education brings us into the light.  Once you are enlightened no one can take that from you.”