Jesuit Father Jean Francky Guerrier, SJ wants everyone to know that despite all the hardships in his native Haiti, there are still great signs of progress and hope in the work the Jesuits are doing there.
“This is our strength as Jesuits, being committed, to never lose hope when everything seems over,” says Francky. “We have to always do our best and improve things.”
Francky, who currently serves as coordinator of programs for Haiti, says donors should be assured that their generosity goes a long way in Haiti. In addition to their novitiate, the Jesuits have the spirituality center, the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ouanaminthe North-east and the parish of Saint Therese in Jeremie Grand’Anse, the Jesuit Migrant Service (JMS)-Solidarité Fwontalye, the Saint Ignatius of Loyola high school and several Foie et Joie schools with an associated teacher training institute. With so much good happening, it’s frustrating when a donor says, “nothing has changed.”
“Donations make a huge difference and a positive impact,” says Francky. “People are not wasting their money.”
Equipped with knowledge and a genuine charisma to explain to skeptics about the good taking place in Haiti, Francky adds that he is also extremely grateful to anyone open to helping the Jesuits impact people’s lives there.
“We thank God for supporter’s good hearts, generosity, and for always standing by the Haitians,” says Francky. “I invite everyone to be a part of Haitian dreams and to participate in the projects of the Jesuits, who work very hard for the good and dignity of the Haitian people.”
Originally from Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, his journey to the priesthood has been an interesting one. Born into a faithful Catholic family with three brothers and three sisters, Francky was just four when their father died. Even though he was very active in the Redemptorists’ parish Saint Gerard, they told him that the Jesuits were a better fit for him. After high school he studied computer science and contacted the Jesuits in Haiti to discern his vocation.
In 2008, he ended his computer science studies and entered the Jesuits at Port-au-Prince. He taught math and studied philosophy and humanities. Francky caught the radio bug at a radio station run by the Jesuits in the Dominican Republic. After a few years he was sent back to Haiti to work as the communication and advocacy officer for the Jesuit Migrant Service-Haiti. He was also the coordinator of several projects funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Francky also taught philosophy of history at Notre Dame de Cazeau Seminary. After two years of regency in Haiti, Francky was sent to Canada for his theological studies at Regis College.
In Toronto, along with studies, he founded and hosted the show Talking with Francky on Salt + Light Media and even attended acting and improv classes at The Second City Toronto. It wasn’t too much of a stretch since he had previously worked in theatre in Haiti, done comedy, and radio programs. His thoughtfulness stretched into the Becoming Neighbours organization that accompanies newcomers to Canada.
Throughout his entire process of formation, he says he was always invited to contemplate Christ who became flesh, not to be served, but to serve.
“The word service characterizes my entire formation,” says Francky. “For Ignatius of Loyola, our entire existence as Jesuits has no other meaning than to love and serve God our Lord in all things.”
Nothing speaks more to this than a profound experience he had while still a novice in Haiti. While completing the Spiritual Exercises in Haiti in 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti killing more than 300,000 people. The novice master at that time, Fr. Miller Lamothe, SJ, stopped the Spiritual Exercises and opened the novitiate to receive those who were displaced by the earthquake, as well as to allow the novices and others to go to the streets of Port-au-Prince and nearby areas to help the wounded and the needy.
He calls being a Jesuit a “privilege and a challenge” and tells young men considering joining to pray to Mary. “Before you join, pray deeply about it and ask Mary for guidance, ask her to put you with her son Jesus Christ so that you can know how to carry a cross with the crucified Lord and how to associate with the glorified Lord,” says Francky.