Dear Sister Pearl and Loretto Community,
This deserves a hand-written note, but I want to share so much with you I am afraid my handwriting would not support the effort.
Words cannot begin to express the gratitude the Houston community feels about your very generous donation after Hurricane Harvey. The actual experience of Harvey as opposed to viewing it on NBC or CBS Nightly News has been both heart-breaking and heart-warming. It has been devastating even for those who did not experience such serious loss because our hearts joined theirs in shock and sorrow. Watching first responders wade through 3-to-5 feet of water during the rain, rescuing people and their pets, was both moving and heartbreaking. I cried for days as I watched the news, and I believe that many suffered post traumatic stress disorder. We were truly brothers and sisters.
Seeing 9,000 cots set up in the George R. Brown Center was an unforgettable experience. People had their meager belongings under their beds: shoes and a small bag of whatever they managed to save. Dogs and cats were caged in another room and those who wanted to be close to their pets set cots nearby. People also were sheltered at the NRG Stadium (the old Astrodome), churches, retreat houses and shelters. People opened private homes.
The Cenacle Retreat House had 5 feet of water. Sister Mary said they awakened that morning to find several inches of water in their rooms. A rescue team told them they had 10 minutes to gather whatever belongings they wanted to take. They were taken to another retreat house and moved later to the Villa of the Dominican Sisters, where they temporarily reside.
Good Samaritans came with boats from Louisiana, Florida and California. People worked 18-hour shifts, and medical personnel spent days and nights in hospitals. Houston volunteers arrived at the centers to wrap incoming soaked people in towels. Southern Baptists with shelter training prepared meals for thousands. Trucks delivered water, diapers and necessary items. Musicians offered their talents to shocked and weary souls. It was a real collaboration of city officials, Red Cross, police, deputies, firemen, medical personnel and volunteers. Angels were indeed everywhere. Houstonians subsequently have sent supplies to Puerto Rico!
We are now in the recovery phase. People have been relocated, but it will take several years to fully recover. Curbs hold boards which have been ripped off walls because of mold. Furniture and personal items line the sidewalks. Trash pickup is a priority.
A local artist, John Ross Palmer, did a painting of small boats tied together. That’s us! We all have each other. We have been touched by many who reached out to share their time, treasure and talents.
Our deepest hearts are so grateful for such a generous donation from Loretto. Thank you! There are numerous needs and many will benefit from your contribution.
Geron Davis has written a beautiful song: “Holy Ground.”
We are standing on holy ground
And I know there are angels all around.
Let us praise Jesus new
For we are standing in His presence on holy ground.
Peace and Love,
Sonja Earthman Novo