Swiss nuns leave PNG

Faith, Normal

The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013

 THREE Swiss nuns are leaving the country after 50 years of service with the Divine Providence Franciscan Sisters. 

They were farewelled at Det-St Peter and Paul parish in Southern Highlands on June 9 and 

June 10.

Known as the Swiss Sisters from Switzerland, Sr Lucas, Sr Damencina and Sr Gaudentia Meier arrived in PNG in 1963. 

They helped set up schools, health centres and trained young girls to cook and sew.They even guided them to become nuns.

Sr Gaudentia and Sr Lukas will be celebrating their golden jubilee.

Sr Damascina is leaving because of medical reasons after serving the people of the Mendi Diocese for more than 40 years. 

Lukas and Gaudentia settled in the Mendi Diocese after their arrival. 

They lived in Det travelling the Poroma valley, the Pomberel parish in the Nembi Plateau and Nipa parish besides Mendi.

Sr Lukas was a teacher by profession and started the Det Primary School while her colleagues started the Kum community and Soi primary schools.

Sr Gaudentia worked as a midwife at the Det health centre and later started the first Nurse Aide School in 1974. 

The Nurse Aide School was converted into the Kumin Community Health Workers Training School.

Sr Damascina was known as a patient carpenter, painter and mender apart from her pastoral work. 

She had gifted hands to mend broken statutes and decorations on liturgical garments. 

Their work contributed must to the Catholic Diocese of Mendi and saved the lives of many people. 

Hundreds attended the farewell gathering. 

Health workers in the diocese took a break from work to join the founder of the health services HIV AIDS programme and the Nurse Training College Sr Gaudentia Meier. Two cows and 22 pigs were slaughtered for the feast.

The celebration ended with a Eucharistic celebration. 

The three sisters left last Monday.