RJM collaborators in Timor-Leste

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In February, the Jesuits in Timor-Leste welcomed their latest collaborators in their education mission – the Religious of Jesus and Mary (RJM).  

Sr Selma and Sr Mary with a student at the school

On February 2, Sr Rosaria Pimenta, Provincial of the Religious of Jesus and Mary (Gujarat Province) arrived in Timor-Leste with Sr Selma D’Souza and Sr Mary Francis, who are the congregation’s first sisters to be based in the country.  The beginning of the RJM mission in Timor-Leste coincided with their Feast Day, which is February 3. 

The RJM sisters work very closely with the Jesuits in India, and run some of the finest schools in the country.  In Timor-Leste, the RJM sisters will be working closely with the Jesuits at the Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola and our teacher training college, Colégio de São João de Brito. 

The sisters are now in residence in the Cardoner complex with the other staff of the school.  They are learning Tetum and will in due course be involved in the school. They will also become part of the planning team for the teacher training college that is scheduled to open next year.

A Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola student in his new uniform

Sr Selma and Sr Mary were greeted with a sea of blue on February 4, their first day at Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola.  The school uniforms had finally arrived from Indonesia and the students were proudly wearing them for the first time.

As the students have their lessons, the construction of their school continues around them. The second and third blocks are expected to be ready by the end of April.  The sports areas are now being planned as games and sports will be important extra-curricular activities in the school.

Community outreach activities have also begun.  The 8.30 am mass for the students on Saturdays is open to the community, and several people from Kasait as well as some students of the nearby primary school have attended the Eucharistic Service.

The next step is to begin visiting families in the Kasait area, and this is something in which the newly arrived sisters will also be involved.

For more information on Colégio de Santo Inácio de Loiola, go to www.educacao-jesuita.tl

To donate to the development of the educational institute, email jcapsj@sjapc.net.

Main photo: (L to R) A church volunteer, Br Noel Oliver, Fr Joaquim Sarmiento’s eldest brother, Fr Mark Raper, Sr Rosaria Pimenta, Sr Selma D’Souza, Sr Mary Francis.