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Watch the GTS interview on MSNBC with Jose Diaz-Balart about the escalating crisis in Haiti


The new book from GTS: Reading Thomas Merton and Longing for God in Haiti

Like Saint Francis of Assisi, although to a secondary extent, Merton has mentored Gerry’s spiritual exercises of remembering, of being awed by, and of obeying the commands of God’s love, received throughout his community’s days at the Santa Chiara Children’s Center. His prose is undergirded with the poetry of his longing for God’s presence in and for Haiti hour by hour. Gerry’s prose and life resonate with Merton’s texts. This book befriends Merton’s own searching for God. Straub and Merton sing together, adding their voices to the chorus of God’s beloved community in Haiti.

-From the Introduction by Jonathan Montaldo

His new book, Reading Thomas Merton and Longing for God in Haiti: Learning Wisdom in the School of My Life, shares what he has learned spiritually over the last eight years of growing Santa Chiara’s Children Center into a refuge of love and safety for children born into in a land of poverty and violence.


The Sunrise of the Soul, a book from Gerard Thomas Straub

The Sunrise of the Soul is the fruit of the last 24 years of Gerry Straub’s unexpected new life and journey of transformation that took him from the glamour of Hollywood to the horror of the worst slums on earth. From being a network television producer to making documentary films on global poverty. Gerry now lives in a crowded slum in Haiti where he operates a home of hope and healing called the Santa Chiara Children’s Center for 69 abandoned kids, 24 of whom are still in diapers. His photographs and journals of his young kids and coworkers living at the center are icons for those all over the world who are famished for love and our concern.

Living in a home with sixty-nine kids in Haiti means stillness and silence are virtually nonexistent. After four years of intense work in Haiti, Gerry now commits himself to the rejuvenating power of authentic solitude in order to turn his attention to his own inner spiritual poverty. In the silent predawn darkness of each Haitian morning he waits, reflects and prays for two hours. This book emerged slowly from those many lonely hours of silence.

Sunrise of the Soul book cover

A Home of Hope & Healing for Kids

Santa Chiara Children’s Center is a beehive of activity where poor kids come to eat, to play, to learn crafts, to feel safe, and to be able to laugh, sing, and paint… and even to learn to read and write English.

It’s a place for kids to be kids and escape the dangers of the streets.

A Home of Hope & Healing for Kids

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The Sun & Moon Over Assisi, a book from Gerard Thomas Straub

“I found the story of Francis life to be extremely interesting. He inflamed my imagination. Writing about him, in truth, was a way for me to get to know him better. I didn’t realize it, but it was also a way for me to get to know God better…. Francis became my guide, showing me the way.” (from a Pilgrimage Diary)

The Sun and Moon Over Assisi reveals how the lives of the two medieval saints from Assisi–Francis and Clare–helped to transform the life of a thoroughly modern cynic from Los Angeles, California. The major events of the lives of the two saints are unfolded here in a series of vivid and engaging stories.

Alongside the history of Francis and Clare, another story unfolds: the story of the spiritual transformation of the author, Hollywood filmmaker and television producer Gerard Straub, illustrating how Francis and Clare still speak to the present-day, secularized person. The author takes the reader with him, in a series of pilgrimage diaries and reflections, to the beautiful Italian sites important to the two saints. With Straub, we traverse the charming Umbrian hill towns, including Assisi, tour its churches and examine the art of Giotto found there. The Sun and Moon Over Assisi tells of an interior pilgrimage that will inspire the modern reader.

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    Contact info

    Santa Chiara Children’s Center
    P.O. Box 643308
    Vero Beach, FL 32964

    Personal correspondence for staff or the kids may be sent to the Haiti address, but please do not send packages or checks or cash.

    A 501(c)3 Nonprofit Corporation