Twinning programs create two-way street of solidarity in Haiti

Ophthalmologist Dr. Mary Sue Carlson, parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, Va., conducts an eye exam during a mission to Medor, Haiti. (Courtesy of Mary Sue Carlson)
Ministry and Mission 2014

Mary Sue Carlson is a giving soul.

Over the past 10 years, living in a time when it's probably easier to tune out, order in and turn on the TV, the 62-year-old ophthalmologist from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., has devoted herself to the cause of assisting the poor. Not only with money, but by actively recognizing their humanity. Working through her church, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, Va., Carlson has forged a dynamic working relationship with St. Joseph Parish in Medor, Haiti, some 1,400 miles away.

The relationship she helps administer is part a multinational movement calling "twinning." Today, there about 300 twinning programs in existence. Seen as a two-way street between the poor and the well-off, and imbued with a religious sense of solidarity, the movement matches churches in the U.S. with those from more impoverished parts of the world. For the better part of twinning's history, programs have tended to focus on meeting the immediate needs of parish communities suffering from extreme poverty.

But a growing number of parish twinning programs are beginning to do something more.

Full story available in the print and Kindle editions. Subscribe now.
A version of this story appeared in the Aug 29-Sept 11, 2014 print issue under the headline: A two-way street of solidarity .

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.