Archbishop of Pontianak to 16 novices: 'the Church needs you'
by Mathias Hariyadi

The 16 postulants come from several dioceses across the nation, including the archdiocese of Pontianak, the diocese of Sanggau - both in the province of western Kalimantan - and the diocese of Malang in the province of East Java.


Pontianak (AsiaNews) - As leader of the Archdiocese of Pontianak in the western Kalimantan province, Msgr. Agustinus Agus encouraged the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Mother of God (SFIC) to start their new lives as consecrated persons because "the Church really needs you all."

Msgr. Agus together with Sr. Yulita Imelda, head of the Indonesian province of SFIC, formally accepted the final vows of 16 new postulants (pictured) who join the SFIC congregation.

The 16 postulants come from several dioceses across the nation, including the archdiocese of Pontianak, the diocese of Sanggau - both in the province of western Kalimantan - and the diocese of Malang in the province of East Java.

The Covid-19 pandemic has curbed and paralyzed all things, said Sr. Yulita Imelda, "but God, our cornerstone, has shown His power to bring you all to be part of the Congregation."

At the same time: four women formally enrolled as new novices. The young sisters were allowed to make their first vows, while three other sisters (in photos 3 and 4) made their perpetual vows.

Unlike previous consecrations – when there was no pandemic -  the event attracted a lot of attention and prompted great participation from both the local Catholic congregation and all members of the nuns' family. But this event, says Sr. Yulita Imelda, has been internal to the congregation, as the health protocol to prevent the spread of coronavirus is taken very seriously in the convent.

The vicar general of the archdiocese of Pontianak, Fr. William Chang OFMCap, the Capuchin leader of the Pontianak Province, Fr. Herman Mayong and other priests in the archdiocese took part.

The SFIC Franciscan Congregation was erected in Veghel in the Netherlands on June 24, 1844. The first five Dutch SFIC missionary sisters arrived in Indonesia on September 28, 1906. They landed in the port of Singkawang in the province of West Pontianak and spent their first days in a very simple house owned by a local Chinese resident in Singkawang.

They started their first pastoral works in the field of healthcare and education. Sr. Cajetana started building a leper health center known as Alverna Leper Hospital. Other women religious opened a boarding school and a local hospital known as St. Vincentius Hospital. These three centers of apostolate still exist today.

Sister Maria Seba SFIC contributed to this article.

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