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(Photo credit: Stephanie Mei-Ling)
(Photo credit: Stephanie Mei-Ling)

Healing others

Haitian Vodou priestess summons spirits to offer hope and help to earthquake survivors

By WITW Staff on April 26, 2016

More than a million people lost their homes in the Haiti earthquake of 2010, including Port-au-Prince resident and Vodou priestess Manbo Katy, who returned home after four years and began trying to restore the hope and spirits of her neighbors through Vodouism. Following the earthquake, Katy has distributed food, offered to house those who needed it, and led others in healing practices.

“To be a good Vodouist you need to be able to call on God first,” she said, explaining how Vodouism began with enslaved people from Africa and migrated to Haiti, where it took root in the culture there. “This is the way we came to have Vodou spirit with us, called the Vodou of Haiti. Once you enter this society, the same spirits that protect us will protect you too.”

(Courtesy of Broadly)
(Photo credit: Stephanie Mei-Ling )

A new documentary made by Broadly with support from Vaseline Healing Project, shows Katy preparing for one of her Vodou ceremonies, in which neighbors and friends, dressed in white, gather to honor the dead, summon their spirits, and ask them to protect the community. But in her daily life, too, Katy tries to bring her healing work to those around her.

“There is a proverb that says that as long as there is life there is hope,” Katy says. “I have to give them hope because hope gives them life.”

Instructions for watching the VR documentary can be found at Broadly.