Engaged couple shares wedding dinner with Haiti

Village Wedding by Wilson Bigaud

H/T to Diana Macalintal for the link to Christa Lawler at the Duluth News Tribune who reports on what one couple is doing to support the relief effort in Haiti:
Guests at the Bogen-Nicholson wedding in June will have an interesting tidbit when they describe the couple's big day: The bride and groom served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Duluth native Leah Bogen and fiance Will Nicholson were eating breakfast and chatting about wedding plans on Sunday morning in their Maple Grove home. At the same time, Bogen was reading the newspaper and was struck by a story from Haiti that included leg amputations and unsafe medical conditions.

The contrast of the earthquake devastation and the party planning struck her.

She made a decision right then and there to donate the money they planned to spend on the reception dinner — 25 percent of their wedding budget — to people in Haiti. Her fiance didn't need any convincing.

"She totally blew me away," said Nicholson, a University of Minnesota Duluth graduate. "I'm still in awe. I was very impressed. How do you say anything but yes to that? It's such a selfless and thoughtful thing. It's hard to get excited about planning a wedding when other people are having such a terrible time.

"We've got friends and family who are happy and healthy and nearby and well-fed. My family doesn't need another fancy meal."

Within four hours, they had decided on an organization — Partners in Health — and had sent off $2,500. Nicholson works in a health-care field, and was familiar with their work.

"It's an organization that has been in Haiti for a while, and we know they'll be there forever," said Bogen, who graduated from Duluth Central in 2003 and UMD in 2007.

(Read the complete article here)
This article brings home to me what I wrote in this week's Monday Morning Offering:

I offer you this morning, Lord, my desire -or at least my desire to have the desire- to care for the poor more than I care for myself; to care for the needs of those I don’t know at least as much as I care for those I love and know by name; to attend every day, in some way, as I have every day this past week to the cry of the poor...

I offer you, Lord, my hope that you will shake the earth beneath my comfort; that you will quake and wake me from my carelessness, my selfishness; that you will break down and shatter the false and empty structures upon which I depend for my security…

The front-page shelf life of the past week's story will expire more quickly than we might think. As I recently wrote, this is less a story about an earthquake and more a story about poverty - and the poverty of Haiti will be with its people for a long time. The question we need to answer is this: will the poverty of Haiti be with us for a long time?

Leah Bogen and Will Nicholson have made a decision that will make a difference in the lives of Haitians and a significant difference in their own lives. What kind of decisions will you and I make that might shake the earth beneath our comfort, that will quake and wake us from too soon going back to business and life as usual?


  1. Father, Thankyou for sharing that! It is encouraging to see people stepping out of the ordinary to the extraordinary. I hope your time in Colorado was peaceful and restful!

    Tom Murphy

  2. Heartbreaking story and heartwarming response!


  3. Tom: my time in Colorado continues to be peaceful and restful - I return to Concord on Thursday night.

  4. Father, what a wonderful story.

    Congratulations to Leah & Will for doing it, and to you for making it known, so that it could inspire others !

    May their example continue to challenge us all, not only until the immediate problem of Haiti is solved, but until that sort of poverty truly is history.

    S. Dominic, pray for Haiti.


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and PRAY before you think!