SAUT-D'EAU, Haiti (AFP): By car, on donkeyback, and on foot by the thousands, observant Haitians travel each year to the waters of Saut d'Eau, a small village about 35 miles from Port-au-Prince, where pilgrims seek spiritual comfort, physical healing and answers to their prayers.
The town, famous for its picturesque waterfall, is the site of the annual July 16 feast of Mont-Carmel, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared during the middle of the 19th century.
But Catholic pilgrims are not the only ones to worship here at the town's church, where masses throng into the sanctuary to honor the Virgin. Many Haitians pay homage to her by her voodoo name Erzulie, in a melding of Catholic and African traditions.
Whatever they call her, the faithful who come to venerate the Virgin more often than not arrive with a wish-list in hand.
"Virgin, I have come to ask that you keep me safe from any evil plots that might befall me," was one prayer intoned by a young man carrying an floral bouquet as an offering.
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