The beginning of the Pious Schools in Indonesia and East Timor

In 2003, the General Chapter of the Pious Schools was held in Rome, where the proposal was approved to start an International Seminary in Manila for young people from various Asian countries (Indonesia, Vietnam, East Timor …). The idea was thus to initiate the founding process in these countries, beginning with the formation of the first candidates and then with them to initiate the presence in these new countries.

This is how some young Indonesians began their formation in Manila. They contacted the Pious Schools who travelled from the Philippines to Indonesia to introduce the Pious Schools’ vocation, especially on the island of Timor, where there were some well-known religious men and women who helped in this task.  Some of them continued their formation later in Madrid.

In the General Chapter of 2009, the Japan-Philippines Vice-Province requested the collaboration of other provinces to prepare the foundation in these countries.  The new Spanish Pious Schools Province of Bethany accepted the challenge of taking over the new foundation in Indonesia and East Timor.

In September 2011 the first trip to Indonesia was organized to discern possible places to start in Indonesia.  After visiting several sites, it was concluded that Atambúa was the best place to start our first community.  We had the good reception of the Bishop (“the main need of our Diocese is education, you are an educational Order: welcome!”). With friends in the place that would facilitate the first steps (Sr. Yasinta, RVM, Bpk. Petrus, Claretians …) and with the circumstance that many of the first vocations that had arisen came from this area… (falta algo para completar esta frase???)

In February 2013 the first two Piarists arrived in Indonesia with the task of opening the Community and the mission in Indonesia: Victor Gil (Spain) and Marcelino Leo Lando (Indonesia).  Some months later Anthony Reddy (India) and Injonito da Cruz (Indonesia) came to become part of it.  Much later came also Fr. José Mario Ramírez, Fr. Judie Barsanas (both Filipinos) and Fr. Martín Bravo (Colombia).

Fr. General closely followed the first steps of the new mission and even made several trips to see the place, to speak with the bishop and to help us discern our decisions.  His advice was to start without a preconceived project and to go letting reality make us understand where we could start our mission.

Soon we began to give free English classes in the afternoons with the children of the Tini neighbourhood (Atambúa) who came every afternoon to the house we had rented.  After class, we played with them.  Thus, the seed of the future “Learning with Calasanz” was planted, which two years later would take shape in our new community of Nekafehan.

Some of our people also began to teach in the Diocesan Schools of Atambúa (SMPK Don Bosco, SMAK Suria, SDK St. Yosef).  After several months, knowing the educational situation better and talking with many local people, we understood that our initial contribution to the educational situation could be through an Asrama destined to host children from the towns of the area who need to come to the city to study in the junior and senior high school.  We found that these boys often failed in their studies due to lack of attention and follow-up, being away from their families.  The Asrama could provide them with a comprehensive training bonus.  We decided to begin the construction of the Asrama that was finally able to accommodate the first students in 2016. Currently, it can accommodate up to a total of 100 junior and senior high school students.

At the same time Learning With Calasanz was consolidated with the help of the Piarist aspirants (the first group began their formation in August 2015) and the number of children progressively increased.  Not only English was taught, but also other subjects such as arts, moral and religious formation, prayer … and games.

In July 2016, the second Pious Schools Community in Indonesia was founded in Yogyakarta, destined for the university study of education and the formation of pre-novices and juniors.  Initially, 18 juniors and pre-novices began, with 2 fathers (Víctor and José Mario).  At this present time, we have two houses, one for juniors and one for pre-novices.  The latter started in May 2020. Currently, there are about 40 formands in Yogyakarta, between pre-novices and juniors.

In January 2020, Fr.Daniel Hallado moved to Dili together with two juniors to try to start the first Pious Schools Community in East Timor.

And this adventure continues …