“Because I love Jesus.” – that’s how Sr. Luvia explains her call to serve. One only has to spend a few minutes with Sr. Luvia to appreciate her great faith and love of Jesus.
Her love of Jesus originates from humble beginnings. Born in 1951 to loving parents, she was one of 5 children. Her parents had both died by the time she was 16. Soon after, Sr. Luvia began working with a Redemptorist priest from Belgium who served as a missionary in Haiti. She entered the religious life after working with him.
Sr. Luvia won the lottery in the mid 1970’s and used the money to open an orphanage in 1976. Recognizing the need for education, she became a teacher and opened St. Alphonsus de Liguori School in 1984.
Over 2,400 student are currently enrolled at the school that operates on faith and love. Many of the children who attend the school receive their only meal of the day there. For many parents, the food is more important than the education.
She states, “My mission is threefold, I hope to feed people’s souls, bodies, and minds. It may be necessary to feed their bodies, before they accept food for their souls or an education. I hope to help people to be better equipped to gain food for their souls and bodies, and once nourished, they will help many others in Haiti.”
Sr. Luvia’s love of Jesus has remained strong in the face of natural disasters. The devastating earthquake of January 2010 destroyed the two other k-12 schools along with the orphanage. The earthquake claimed the life of her sister and 150 students. St. Alphonsus School suffered little damage because it was built to specifications overseen by Sr. Luvia herself.
The children in the orphanage had to relocate to the safer, quieter town of Miragoane where they could attend school at the Notre Dame Academy along with 387 local children. The 50 orphan girls lived in a large UNICEF tent for a couple of years before Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.
The hurricane caused massive flooding. The girls had to climb to the top of the 2 story school building to escape the flood waters. The flood wiped out the UNICEF tent and all of its contents. Sr. Luvia was again forced to move the children – this time to her previous home in Port-Au-Prince which she owned for many years. The house was not large and the living conditions were very crowded. Sr. Luvia continued to open her home to other homeless and nearby children.
Sr. Luvia prayed for a solution to the problem of the overcrowded living conditions. She shared her dream of purchasing a larger home for her children with the parishioners of St. Pius X and our friends at St. Joseph’s Church in Pewamo, MI. Sr. Luvia believes that through Christ all things are possible. Sr. Luvia’s dream for a new home became a reality in relatively short period of time. God has done great things in the three communities in Grandville, Pewamo, and Haiti as they came together in faith, hope and love.