God’s Miraculous Rescue in Haiti

Meet Father Cator, Missionary Oblate

As Haiti slowly recovers from an earthquake that killed thousands, Fr. Albert Cator’s story is an inspiring testimony of God’s provision when all seems lost.

When the devastating 7.2-magnitude quake hit Haiti on August 14, Fr. Albert Cator found himself trapped within the Seminary of Mazenod (about 138 miles from Port-au-Prince). Aged 62 and visually impaired, Fr. Cator had no choice but to wait more than five hours for help after the three-story house collapsed on top of him.

Fr. Cator is now in recovery at the Provincial House in Port-au-Prince, where he spends his days in the courtyard. His story that has moved the entire Cayes diocese.

A passage from the Bible particularly carried him through this ordeal: “I cried out, my Lord, my God.”

Fr. Cator was in the bathroom when he heard a deafening noise and felt the whole building shake.

“The three floors collapsed,” Fr. Cator says, and “a violent movement of the bathroom suddenly disoriented me … Without this movement imposed by the force of the earthquake, I would have had difficulty breathing because it trapped me under a mass of concrete but in front of an air hole.”

He continues, “I then understood that nothing happens by chance.”

This was not the first time Fr. Cator had found himself miraculously rescued from danger. When a flood struck in 2008, just as he feared the water would carry him away, a barrier gave way by surprise, emptying the house that was filling up to nearly over his head. Two years later, following the devastating January 2010 earthquake that killed 250,000 people, he miraculously found himself outside of a church where he was supposed to say Mass — even as the damaged roads and his vision impairment had made it difficult for him to find his way.

When rescuers finally came for Fr. Cator following the 2021 earthquake, they could only dig him out with their bare hands while regular aftershocks kept forcing them to retreat. “But when they reached me, the aftershocks miraculously stopped,” he said.

“It was the hand of Mary,” says a smiling Fr. Ellince Martyr, Oblates provincial superior.

All that remains of the house where Fr. Cator was trapped is a pile of stones and the first floor of the building swallowed by the earth. However, in another blessing, the house was mostly empty at the time of the quake, as its 20 resident seminarians and employees were away on summer vacation.

“If they’d been there during vacation, the toll would probably have been higher,” said Fr. Jacques, another member of the congregation.

Despite his reduced mobility and impaired vision, Fr. Cator thanks “Mary, from the bottom of his heart.” Sitting next to him, his superior “hopes for more and more miracles for the flourishing of faith in the Church.”