Augulia St. Juste (Soeur Gus, Man Gigi, Gra) was a generous soul. She had a strong sense of civic duty, community service, love for her family, friends in all walks of life, and most of all a strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. She was born in Lacul de Léogane, Haiti, the fourth of 5 children to Catherine André and Roi Augustin St. Juste. Her late siblings were Daniel (Lahens), Jeanne, Augusna (Mannie) and Andrea. After her beloved Michel died tragically in January, 1969, Augulia dedicated herself to raising her children Denise, Yolene, Viergemene, Francklin, Franckline, and Nerlande with a laser focus on church, school and work. She was the loving Gra, Grandma to Cyrus, Sheila, Jonathan, Phinées, Stacey, Katiana, Jean Thierley, Verney, Jeff, Jamil, Dave, Gregory, Kathlyne, Kelsey, Michael, Christopher, Catherine, and Karlin. Her great-grandchildren include Anaiah, Jeremiah, Shekinah, Elijah, Sheldon, Phillippe, Justin Tyreek, Jovanny, Jeff, Jr., Taliah, Jayden, Kennedy and Noah. More than an aunt, she was a second mother to Willy, Immacula, Ernst, Gaspard, Anthony, Marie-André, Minoit, Venante, Sedame and had family members across the USA, Canada, France and Haiti. Her happiest moments were attending graduation and seeing her family come together every year at Thanksgiving to celebrate her birthday. A legacy she left for all her children is to have faith in God for a better tomorrow, and to seek the best in each other at all times and in all circumstances as her favorite saying was “le li sech la net”.
Augulia became a US citizen at 70. At that age, she could have waived the exam but she chose to study for it in order to understand and exercise her rights and civil responsibilities in her adopted country. She made sure to exercise her voting right in every election since because she was allowed to vote only once in her native land for her dear late President Estimé. On April 20, 1990 Mom marched among 150,000 Haitians on Brooklyn Bridge to protest against the FDA restricting Haitians from donating blood without any scientific proof and shortly thereafter the CDC removed Haitians from the AIDS high-risk list.
Augulia once cleaned and suited a homeless man and brought him to her church. When church members asked her who he was, she told them he was the guy that many of them would pass by on the steps. Of course, the suit was taken from her son. In fact, all of her children, friends and family are always contributing towards a funeral or someone’s bail funds at her behest. Her legendary soup and her herbal teas cured many sick bed visits. All of us, her children have an envelope with our names inscribed in her church. As generous as Augulia was towards the people she saw everyday she never forgot her extended family in Haiti. As her illness progressed the phones rang nonstop with inquiries about her from Haiti and elsewhere. She made friends young and old and wherever she went and she could charm anyone including the doctors who saw her in the hospital. Her children’s friends were her friends. Her habitual place sitting at her window and everyone in the neighborhood who would go by would send her a greeting and that would become a ritual to all of her Maple Street neighbors. She also touched the lives of her Sanctification Church family, her friends, Ronny, Gladys, Toufie and Jacques, her aides, Joliette and Mrs. Charles, Dr. Berlus, Dr. Delianne, and Dr. Delouis who prayed and worked tirelessly to make sure she was comfortable at the end of her life. She is cherished and will be missed by everyone who loved her but she is now in the arms of her Maker dancing with one hand on her hip and one in the air while humming one of her favorite hymns, “A la m kontan, kontan Jezi renmen m” (how happy I am that Jesus loves me).
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