Kimbe, PNG, 22 May 2019 -- Before the celebrations for 25 years missionary presence in PNG, the Caritas Sisters of Jesus were looking for a new presence outside of the capital Port Moresby. There was a long path: First the Caritas community took the decision to start a second school in PNG (2011), initial discernment after writing to a few bishops was for Kimbe – a young diocese in East New Britain island (2013), after many trips to Kimbe and searching with the local Church (20 different plots of land visited) their choice fell on the government 3.5 hectars land in the Kimbe town centre (2014) and after receiving the land title (2015) one courageous Sister began construction of the school facilities (2017).
When you enter the large campus, still looking like a construction site, you will spot the large hall – gymnasium also used for the weekly Masses, and many containers. The ‘L’ shape compound is located between the main road and the seashore. After two years there are already more than 200 students (50 of them are boarders) from grade 9-12 in the secondary technical school with 7 different departments.
The small and vibrant community of 3 Sisters with two veteran missionaries – Sr Florentina Choi and Sr Sarah Park (both Koreans) with the PNG national, Sr Benedict Ephraim from Milne Bay, Alotau diocese. A newly born school is staffed with 10 teachers, 15 staff and international volunteers and ongoing construction of the school facilities gives a special flavour to daily life. The sisters are working closely with their lay mission partners, including one retired Korean expert engineer who is supervising the whole school campus construction.
What are their dreams? Local vocations is the priority. Kimbe is located in the strong Catholice region of PNG and the regular vocation encounters and living together with 3 candidates (one year stay) before sending them to continue their vocation journey in Port Moresby and the Philippines To complete the whole school infrastructure, the courageous and hardworking missionaries have tried to apply to all possible national and international agencies with their project proposal.
Quality Catholic education and youth ministry is still a rare commodity in Papua New Guinea, especially in the distant province. We admire and pray for this most recent Salesian Family presence in PNG, the ‘country of the unexpected’, with a special intention for more local vocations for all Salesian Family groups.
The Caritas Sisters of Jesus are present in 15 countries with most recent new vocation from Uganda, Africa. Since 1986 they have been working in PNG, first in Araimiri (Gulf), thenthey opened the first PNG Secondary Technical Girls School in Port Moresby (1995). Now, 11 Caritas sisters are working in Kimbe and Port Moresby.