Venance Lafrance Is Not Dead
Credit: Photograph by Ben Lowy
Behind the Eglise Sacré-Coeur – Krazé – there was a little garden, with benches and a small statue of the Madonna. Both a school and a rectory had collapsed here, and many priests had died, their bodies decomposing not far from where we stood. A middle-aged man with a trim beard and spectacles approached me and asked in French if I had noticed the amazing particularity of the Madonna.

"No," I said. The Madonna had neither fallen nor was it weeping.

He looked at me a long time, as if I couldn't possibly be as dense as I seemed.

"She's turned to the east," he finally said.

"To the east?"

"To the east."

The Madonna, on further examination, had shifted slightly, several degrees off the horizontal.

The man went on to claim that all of the Madonnas of Port-au-Prince had shifted to the east. He had gone around and examined them, he said. I asked him what was the significance of this unusual fact.

"This could not be an accident," he said.