Sister Alonso Leads Relief Response

Kai T. Hill is an associate web producer for CRS. She traveled to Miami to report on local parish efforts to assist storm survivors in Cuba and Haiti.

Upon entering the grounds of the Daughters of Charity in northwest Miami on Monday I quickly scanned the yard of busy nuns and other workers in search of Sister Hilda Alonso. I’d been told by a CRS veteran that she was about 90 years old, extremely petite and “a tough one.”

Sister Hilda Alonso has made a career of helping needy families in the islands of Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere. Her relationship with CRS dates back to the early 1970s. Photo by Kai Hill/CRS.

But identifying her out of the bunch of sisters proved difficult as all of them were petite and hard at work, perhaps “tough.” Once I was introduced to Alonso the handshake she extended to me was tender. Her eyes were soft.

For decades Alonso, 86, has dedicated herself to helping needy families in the islands of Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere. Her relationship with CRS dates back to the early 1970s when she was assigned to missions in Haiti and contacted the agency for its support. The agency’s relationship with Alonzo continued well after she came to Miami to serve with the Daughters of Charity.

So loved is she, that a group of her former students at a high school in Havana have been by her side during preparations for supply shipments.

“Everybody wanted to help out,” says Mirtha Davis, a former student and volunteer who graciously translated Alonzo’s Spanish. “Relatives are still calling who have family in Cuba who don’t have a roof over their head. Somehow they know [the goods] will get to them.”

My purpose for traveling to Miami, Florida is to capture the humanitarian effort for hurricane victims across Cuba and Haiti. When disaster strikes in any given country, Catholic Relief Services with support of its donors is often one of the first aid groups to reach victims and provide them with food and essentials they need to recover. But collection drives such as the ones taking place in South Florida and elsewhere throughout the United States are part of the same Church mission: giving the gift of charity and living in solidarity with the poor.

As Cuba faces the task of rebuilding and recovering from the most devastating storms to strike the island in 50 years, CRS is helping the Daughters of Charity ship containers of goods that keep pouring in from the community. Support to CRS’ Latin America and Caribbean Severe Weather Fund helps us do so.

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4 Responses to “Sister Alonso Leads Relief Response”

  1. Miami Faithful Remain Connected to Cuba | Voices of CRS Says:

    […] is why the front lawn of the Daughters of Charity in West Miami remains filled with relief supplies. With the help of CRS, the Daughters of Charity […]

  2. Sister Joanna Ohlandt,csj Says:

    I was happy to read about Sister Hilda Alonso. I believe that I knew her in Puerto Rico more than thirty years ago. She worked with us, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, at Catholic University in Ponce, and was a wonderful example of deep faith and tender compassion for the poor. I will always remember her with “carino”

  3. JeanHelene Davis Says:

    It would be of GREAT interest for CRS to do an UPDATE article on the aftermath of Haiti and the relief efforts that were done there and are continuing.
    I personally am interested in the works of the Daughters of Charity there – what they have accomplished (I know they built that school with prefab structure), if the daughters have been able to rebuild their own residence which were destroyed, and what their short and long range plans are.
    I guess the devistation in Louisiana and the East Coast have taken precident over the news there. Perhaps if the people on the East Coast see that “end of suffering” is not immediate – it will help sustain them.

  4. Gladys Muros Clausing Says:

    I was a student at La Inmaculada school in Havana from kindergarten until fourth grade from the mid fifties to 1961. I distinctly remember Sr. Hilda affectionately and the wonderful school she ran.
    She was a lively and energetic nun who ran a tight ship with much love and care. God bless her. Next time I’m in Miami I will visit her. Cariños Sr. Hilda!

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