West Kalimantan: a Trappist monastery in the middle of the forest
by Mathias Hariyadi

The order's fourth monastery in the country stands three and a half hours away from the seat of the diocese of Ketapang. The ceremony, presided over by Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi, was celebrated according to Dayak cultural traditions. 




Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Cistercians of the strict observance, or Trappists, yesterday inaugurated their fourth monastery in the country, located in the village of Penggadungan, in the district of Sungai Melayu, West Kalimantan. 

The village where the new monastery is located is a remote area in the middle of the Indonesian forest (see photo), a three and a half hour drive from Ketapang and where public facilities are still very limited. The property was purchased decades ago by the then bishop Blasius Pujaraharja.

The bishop of the Ketapang diocese, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi, blessed the new facility together with Fr. Isaac Majoor, Dutch Trappist leader of Konigshoeven Abbey in Tilburg. The ceremony was celebrated in the Dayak cultural tradition.

Fr. Mikael Santana, from Lamanabi Monastery in Flores Island, will head the small Trappist community in Pegadungan together with three assistant monks: Fr Placio, Fr Johan and Fr Mario. 

According to Fr Santana, there is a strong link between the values of the indigenous Dayak community and the Christian faith: "It is about brotherly love and I really hope that these values will enrich our future life in Pegadungan," he told AsiaNews.

Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi said that "this Trappist monastery is needed here in our diocese because prayers are really needed".

The first Trappist monastery in Indonesia was founded in 1953 in Rawaseneng, Temanggung district, Central Java. The second monastery was established in 1987 in Gedono, on the slope of Mount Merbabu, while the third was erected in 1996 in Lamanabi, East Nusa Tenggara province.