la vierge miracle


In 2010 I traveled to Haiti to work as cameraman with the UK/Canadian production of a short film called, ‘The Lives of The Saints: Achante’. The premise of the film was to explore the convergences between Vodouisant and Catholic beliefs and iconography and the photographs in this exhibition continue that theme as well.

Twenty of these images are my photographs from the ‘La Vierge Miracle’ festival (The Miracle of the Virgin) which is held each July in the small village of Ville Bonheur and the nearby spectacular dual waterfalls of Saut-d’Eau. Haitian pilgrims for more than a century now, have journeyed to this idyllic valley from all over the country to celebrate the Feast Day of Mont Carmel – the patron saint of the island. Haitian legend has it that the Virgin Mary appeared in the middle of the 19th century on a palm tree near the 100-foot waterfalls and began healing the sick and needy.

Today, Catholic and Vodou believers travel to Saut-d’Eau to revere the Virgin in the form of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Erzulie, the Vodou spirit often portrayed as the Virgin Mary. Pilgrims of both faiths bathe in the water of the falls, cleansing themselves in order to receive new blessings of heath, prosperity and even luck that will hopefully be bestowed upon them in coming year. Blessings that were desperately needed by so many more after the shattering earthquake that had struck a mere 6 months before

Miracle’ festival in the Haitian religious calendar, the sacred falls of Saut-d’Eau exemplify that tandem of beauty and mysticism. And it is here once a year, the faithful and the desperate of both religions arrive praying and pleading for salvation, leaving offerings, singing, chanting, cleansing, and lighting candles in prayer to one spirit shared by two faiths: Catholic and Vodou. One who has never had so many prayers to answer as now.