[Excerpts from the UK Express, July, 2000, issue, pp. 36-37]
Suzanne had just lost her husband in 1989, when she met a neighbor (Myra) who invited her to a Buddhist meeting
Suzanne broke down in tears the first time she heard gongyo. It was a revelation. She knew in her heart that it was what she had been longing for all of her life. Instinctively she knew that it would help her deceased husband.
Her logical mind did not understand.
Myra taught her gongyo. She was strict.
Myra taught her the Gosho. Suzanne felt that the Gosho was something she believed all her life but never found expression for. Some days she would arrive at Myra's house with tears in her eyes because she felt so badly. Myra would take her in her arms like a spiritual mother and then they would talk and chant until they both felt better.
Chanting brought energy back to her life. She regained the energy of her mind and soul. Myra was strict. She always encouraged Suzanne to improve herself.
On the day that Suzanne received her Gohonzon, she realized that it was meant to be enshrined in her sister's house in Haiti.
Meanwhile the USA had placed an embargo on Haiti. No news could come from Haiti and she knew that her brother-in-law was a political figure there. She worried about her sister.
After receiving the Gohonzon, Suzanne realized a childhood dream. It was a dream she had forgotten — to have a career protecting the environment.
After five years and a diploma from the Royal Botanical Gardens, Suzanne knew that her Buddhist practice had taken her far. Then she heard of a project to establish a botanical garden in Haiti. The embargo had been lifted and she was granted to work on the project.
She had to see Myra before she left. Myra was dying of cancer. Myra told her that there were two people that she wanted to see before she died and that one of them was Suzanne. She asked Myra to come and do gongyo with her. She came and said: "Suzanne, you have taken me from my death bed. This is my benefit for having introduced you to this practice.”
When Suzanne arrived at the lovely botanical gardens in Haiti, she was surprised to find out it was also a Buddhist center. An American dancer donated half of her garden to establishing a place where SGI Buddhists could hold meetings. About 20 SGI Haitian members came every Saturday to do Gongyo.
Because of her brother-in-law's involvement in Haitian politics, his life was always in danger. Suzanne’s sister’s life was tense. She listened to Suzanne chant and found it soothing, so she began to chant herself. She felt less stressful when she chanted.
Suzanne came to live at her sister's house and enshrined the Gohonzon there — just as she had dreamed when she first received the Gohonzon. They started chanting to the Gohonzon together. Her sister's husband's interest grew.
Her sister now has her own Gohonzon enshrined in a room where both Buddhist and political meetings are held. Her husband sometimes explains Nam Myoho-renge-kyo and the practice to his friends.
Myra passed away five years ago.
"I felt so privileged to have met Myra and to have been taught so well by her. Neither of us then imagined in our wildest dreams where her simple invitation to a Buddhist meeting would lead: Thousands of miles across the Atlantic! Through her determination to raise me as a strong person practicing Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, she has indirectly touched many lives in one of the poorest and must unstable countries in the world."There are now about sixty members in Haiti. More than ninety women attended the 1998 Annual Women's General meeting. Suzanne's sister is now Haiti's SGI women's leader.