By Joe Mischka
The term “Servant” has multiple meanings and may be traced to a variety of linguistic origins.
I’d like you to meet someone who fits all those meanings.
Servant: “one who sets table, serves at table; offers, provides with” From Latin servire.
We first met Frantzy Joseph during our 2017 mission trip. He was setting the table at the Sisters’ compound in the village of Ducrabon and using a straight edge to align the silverware and polishing the glasses. We had just arrived after several hours bouncing over mountain roads in a crowded truck, prepared to begin a week of deprivation and hardship. It was a little surprising, therefore, to see this young man working so earnestly to set a table as if it were in a fine restaurant.
We learned Frantzy was Sister Joseph’s nephew and would be helping her host us during our stay. For his part, Frantzy was using this opportunity to hone his English as well as hospitality skills with an eye to finding work in one of the hotel restaurants in the capital city. He already seemed highly qualified; we had no moments of want with Frantzy. He refilled glasses, brought food, cleared plates and joked with us as we relaxed around the table.
Servant: “shepherd, minister, give aid, give help” from Old French servir
The following year when I found myself without an interpreter for one of my regular walkabouts in the countryside to visit with farmers, Frantzy immediately volunteered to accompany me. He connected warmly with everyone we met, engaging them and carefully interpreting my questions and patiently relaying the farmers’ answers.
Walking down a path as we traveled from one garden to another, we came upon a woman walking ahead of us and painfully carrying a bundle of sticks. Frantzy spoke to her and in a moment, her bundle was in his hands and a smile was on her face. I learned a great deal about the local farmers and their farming methods that day. And, thanks to Frantzy, we made a positive impression with just about everybody we met.
Servant: “shepherd, guard, protector, foot-soldier” from Latin servo.
During one of our most recent trips to Haiti, a number of us wished to spend our last day in Port-au-Prince visiting some of the memorials and monuments, particularly those commemorating the tragic 2010 earthquake victims. These landmarks were located in areas of the city where it could be dangerous for visitors, even then. Frantzy shepherded us from one locale to another, shielding us from aggressive beggars and potential thieves, and providing an experience few of us will ever forget.
Frantzy epitomized the concept of servant, selflessly devoted to protecting the vulnerable. As the lawlessness of the gang-controlled Port-au-Prince spilled into the countryside, he was among those who fought to protect the people and church in the village of Ducrabon.
Servant: “Devoted to the will of God” from Latin servus
Last fall, Frantzy become suddenly ill and soon passed away. Likely, he was poisoned. In the violent world of today’s Haiti, one can imagine that Frantzy—this loyal, generous, and courageous young man—in defending and protecting the people and church he loved so much, had become a vexing thorn in the flesh of those who sought them harm.
Frantzy will always remind me what it means to be a servant, a disciple of God.
A donation to our Lenten Alms for Haiti will help support and advance the mission of which Frantzy was such an important part.
Born Feb 1, 1991
Died Sep 14, 2021
Please Give Generously To Our 2022 Haiti Lenten Fundraiser
Renmen Bondye, Sèvi Lòt Moun, Fòm Disip
Love God, Serve Others, Form Disciples.