Rome (Italy). During missionary October 2022, the Missions Sector of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians proposes some missionary experiences and realities. Sr. Rodriguez Carmencita, currently in Rome at the Generalate to follow the refresher course of Missionary Pastoral at the Pontifical Salesian University (UPS), shares her mission experience in Papua New Guinea, a peninsula of Oceania located on the Island of Papua, a large island that belongs to Indonesia.
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians arrived here in 2001 and the mission is entrusted to the Province of St. Mary D. Mazzarello of the Philippines (FIL). Currently there are fifteen FMA missionaries who work in this land called “the earthly paradise”, due to the variety of flowers, animals, mountains, rivers, lagoons, and other natural resources. Nine of these missionaries are from the Philippines, three from Vietnam, one from Poland, and one from Mexico.
The first community, Mary Help of Christians, is located in the capital Port Moresby, in East Boroko, where the Sisters are engaged in various types of apostolates: teaching at Don Bosco Technical School of the Salesians of Don Bosco, management of the boarding school for young women studying at the Salesians and in other institutions, a festive oratory, formation for liturgy lectors. Recently, the Sisters opened a pastry shop for the students of the new FMA Vocational School and for the young mothers of the surrounding area who want to learn.
The second is St. Mary D. Mazzarello Community in Sideia, in the southwest of Papua. The FMA collaborate with the laity in Saint Anna Professional Formation Center of the Diocese. One of the Sisters is the bursar of the institution and professor of office administration. The other sisters teach other courses and follow the pastoral animation of pupils and teachers. The FMA teach catechesis in the government elementary school and prepare children for the sacraments. Other apostolic activities of the community are: the festive oratory, vocational meetings, collaboration in the parish for spiritual retreats with various groups.
In recent years, two young German volunteers from Vides International had a year’s experience in this reality. A few years ago, the sisters assisted migrants from Vietnam in various ways, whether in prison or sick.
The third is Bl. Maria Troncatti Community of Kokopo, Rabaul, north of Papua. Here the Sisters have pastoral activities for the girls in collaboration with the various institutions. They teach catechism in a government primary school and in the middle school of the Salesians; an FMA teaches religion in the high school of the diocese. The Sisters also opened the festive oratory with a good group of catechists.
Rabaul is an important Province, because the historical places of the only Blessed of Papua are here. Peter Torot, a lay catechist, married, who was a tireless collaborator of the parish priest, especially during the Second World War when the Japanese occupied the region. While the missionaries were expelled or interned in concentration camps, he remained in his parish, continuing to defend Catholic values in the face of Japanese occupation. For these reasons, he was locked up in a concentration camp and in 1945, he was given a lethal injection. He was beatified by John Paul II on 17 January 1995.
The three communities of the FMA celebrated together with the Educating Community, the pupils, and those close to the works the 150th Anniversary of the Foundation of the FMA Institute. The Sisters strongly felt the presence of Mary Help of Christians in each of the communities and they entrust the future of the Institute in Indonesian lands to her.