Unexpected Beauty in Haiti ( Julie Capato )

In what seems to be the most inadequate of places, littered with disease and illness, revolts, governmental turmoil, crime, poverty, and vast pollution, was also where I experienced immeasurable beauty and love. This country, Haiti, appears to have no alluring or enticing element that would attract a person to visit. However, it was not simply the outward appearance of the country that made this experience what it was. Instead, encountering the Haitian people and this country allowed me to experience the love of God, first hand, in more ways than one.



When using the word beauty, most people immediately think of outward appearance that is considered to be attractive or breathtaking. This can be representative of an individual, as well as the nature or architecture around us. For example, when entering a cathedral in the streets of Italy, or watching a sunset on the side of a country road, we may label it as being beautiful, for it gives us a sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Speaking from my experience, I encountered beauty in a different sense. This particular instance was through an action and occurrence, more so than a pretty or attractive view


  One specific encounter that was an exemplary model of God’s beauty was our visit to the homes of several dying elders within the city. Each day we drove into Cite Soleil, the most polluted, dangerous, and poorest areas within Haiti, and journeyed out to schools, villages, orphanages, or elders’ homes. On this particular day, my team and I partook in serenading the elders we visited with worship music, while also taking the time to wash their feet, just as Jesus did before His crucifixion. The first elderly woman that we visited, my teammate and I volunteered to be the first to wash her feet. As I knelt down and dipped the towel in the warm soap and water bucket, I carefully began scrubbing the soles of this woman’s feet, treating her as if she was my own grandmother. As I washed the dirt and residue off of her feet, I could see the years of stories that were written all over her scars, the hardships she faced, and the harm she experienced. All of a sudden,  I then felt a hand placed on my shoulder and as I glanced upward, I saw this woman’s eyes welling up with tears as she looked into mine, a soft smile spread across her face. Instantly, I felt goosebumps run across my body, sensing that the Holy Spirit was truly present. This simple act was one that opened my heart completely to a beauty far beyond what the world told me existed. Even though we were surrounded by nothing more than dirt, an unstable wooden shed, and the overwhelming smell of sweat, all I could see when I looked into those woman’s eyes were beauty and unconditional love. It was an experience that far surpassed any sunset I ever watched or any marble church I’ve walked in to, for it showed me who God truly was in an unexpected way.  


It was experiences such as these and the time spent with the Haitians that I felt the presence of God like no other, gazing upon His splendor in miraculous ways. To explain it simply, it was as if I was having an “out-of-body experience,” one where I felt oddly connected to the souls of these suffering individuals, even though we lacked all means of communicating with each other. We did not need a common language in order to develop relationships with these people, for they wore their hearts on their sleeves, pouring life into each one of us. Seeing the radiating smiles spread across the faces of the Haitians, both big and small, breathed a new sense of purpose into my own heart, as I realized that interpersonal connections and love was all that was needed in order to experience genuine joy and heavenly beauty within this world. God revealed Himself to me THROUGH the Haitian individuals, even despite this country’s lack of physical charm. 


I would have never expected to encounter such a beautiful experience in a place such as this, however, God used the lowliest of people to reveal Himself to me and my team members. Allowing me to see beauty in its truest form, in the most unexpected of ways.








Julie is currently a sophomore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for her Bachelors in English Education. Outside of school she is a pitcher for the IUP Women’s Softball team and currently provides softball lessons to young players. Julie has a passion for writing and using her words to hopefully inspire others her own age. In the future, Julie dreams of potentially publishing a book and spending a few years in Haiti as a volunteer teacher.















Kate Capato

Kate is a Sacred Art Painter, Inspirational Speaker, and Faith-filled Movement artist on a mission to spread God's love through beauty! Her inspiration comes from prayerful encounters with the Lord, and the rich traditions of our Catholic faith. When she's not creating something faith inspired, Kate is often traveling all over the world with her hubby soaking in the wonders of God's creation, or spending time with family and friends to live every moment to the fullest. To see her work, visit her portfolio below and share in this mission of spreading truth and goodness.

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