The Moynihan Six Trust for Twenty

Newsletter issue: 
April 2015
News item date: 
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

by Mary Jo LeGrand 

The Moynihan Family (from left): Robert, Christina, Marianna, Deacon Patrick, Mikhaila and Timothy Moynihan.

    2015 marks 20 years of the Moynihan family on mission. As sure as the faces (and heights) of the Moynihan children have changed in this time, so has the THP community. The Haitian Project President Deacon Patrick Moynihan comments, "It seems appropriate, at least in part, to notice the passing of the years in our kids. It has been a family effort and family journey from the day Christina nudged us on to the path."

That very important nudge set both the Moynihans and THP on a path that has gone very right. Charlie Wharton, one of the original founders of THP, recalls his first meeting with Patrick Moynihan in the Charlotte, NC airport, where he and Moynihan discussed a much different THP. “These were difficult times both in Haiti and in Providence for THP. The board needed re-building, fund raising was weak, and school programs needed shoring up.”

Today, with the Moynihans’ leadership, THP has doubled it student body and its physical plant, formalized neighborhood outreach, opened the Office of External Affairs, and increased university scholarship support to 50% of each graduating class, initiated sacramental preparation, installed a solar power resulting in a 90% green powered campus, boosted female enrollment to parity, successfully completed two major capital campaigns with a third in progress, bolstered annual fund revenue from roughly $100,000 to $1.3 million, maintained a steady average of 98% pass rate for the National Baccalaureate Exam, and received formal recognition as an Association of Lay Faithful under the Diocese of Providence, RI. 

This list is far from complete and does not include the change in daily actions of a school community steeped in shared work. In fact, much of the change the Moynihans have facilitated cannot be quantified because it exists in lives forever changed. Patrick Brun and Aimée Maier are two longstanding examples. Brun, the first Haitian-born Director of THP’s Board, recalls the time he was asked to be the honored “godparent” of a graduating class.

“As we listened to Patrick congratulate the proud parents I realized that I was with a very special group of people. Not only did I know a great change was happening in my life … but I also felt that I was a witness to the work of God through the inspiring life and work of this simple and modest Catholic family.” 

Maier joined THP as a Volunteer in 1999, at which point she felt immediately welcomed into the Moynihan family. “There is a tremendous benefit to belonging to this community, which likens itself to the early Christian communities. We have an exceptional and unique opportunity to live out our charism in a way that doesn’t involve taking formal vows.” 

The Moynihan children are also among those who’ve changed. Christina explains they “initially missed out on things like snack food and new sneakers, but these things don’t make you who you are. Providing someone’s first clean shower one and witnessing a 20-year-old hold a pencil for the first time – these things matter.” 

For Deacon Moynihan, the last 20 years have brought understanding. “I have learned by experience how important solidarity and subsidiarity are. Solidarity informs the heart; subsidiarity guides the mind and tempers the will. One encourages us to take risks; the other reminds us we are working with God, not as God."

Wharton sees a much different THP today than the one he presented to Moynihan in 1996. “It is very gratifying that THP is about to embark on the next stage of that vision with a new school. None of this would have been accomplished without the vision and leadership of Patrick and Christina!”