July 12 – IN PAPUA NEW GIDNEA
IN PAPUA NEW GIDNEA
Br. Jean-Paul Hurtebise (Br. Jean de Breboeuf) who died on 12 July 1974 and was buried in Daru, Papua New Guinea, had arrived there six years earlier on 20 January 1968 with two other Canadian Brothers, Bernard Chabot and Gerard Savoie. Gossip tells us that they were nicknamed as “One lung” (Br. Jean-Paul had only one lung), “One song” (Br. Bernard always loved to sing the same song) and “One tongue” (Br. Gerard refused to speak French and spoke only English). They had been asked to join the Montfort Fathers and the Sisters of Wisdom, who were already working in the diocese of Daru-Kiunga since May 1959 and December 1961 respectively. Three other Brothers arrived the following year. Everyone would be devoted to teaching and education, except the one who drove the boat and one other who piloted the aircraft of the mission (a Cessna 170)- the best transport means to reach Kiunga situated 800 km to the interior. There were no Brothers in Daru after 1987. They were all regrouped at Kiunga, where the first ones had arrived in 1970. After 1975, when the Papuans who had just won their independence began to replace foreigners in primary school teaching, the Brothers adapted themselves to the situation. Some prepared village catechists. Others offered opportunities to the abandoned youth by setting up a Boys’ Town for them. This also was adapted, for the pupils were lodged in houses and not in the boarding.
For ten years (1981 – 1991) there were just two Brothers, and·. .tP.en only one teacher, at the· ej:ninary school of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart, at Rabaul, in the island of New England (or New Brittany).
On January 1, 1998, the Kiunga mission received a new status: it was no longer attached to the Province of Malaysia-Singapore, but was directly taken charge of by the Central Administration, and its · community consists of Indian and Canadian Brothers.