On 21 May 1923, the first community of the CMM brothers in Indonesia was opened, in Padang, West Sumatra. This year, the Province of Indonesia is celebrating its 100th anniversary. This, of course, will be celebrated grandly. The main celebrations will take place in and around the communities of Lembata, Balige, and Manado. On May 21, 2022, the jubilee year (100 years) of the Brothers CMM in Indonesia was officially opened. This certainly cannot be seen in isolation from the predecessors who were inspired by the spirituality of mercy and brotherhood when they set foot on the archipelago.
It all started in the city of Padang, on West Sumatra. On May 21, 1923, the Brothers Paulus Jacobs, Severinus Aarts, Hermenigildus Fromm, Theodatus van Oers, and Claudius Kok started their mission in Indonesia. They opened two primary schools: the European Primary School and the Dutch Chinese School. The influence of the Brothers CMM was great, especially in the areas of education and youth work. There was a liturgy group, a drama group, a choir, a music band, a sports team, a library and an English group. In 1924, the brothers’ school received a government grant and was recognized as the best school of the time.
In 1928 the Brothers CMM opened a MULO (junior high school) in Padang. After the Second World War this school developed into the ‘SMA (senior high school) Don Bosco Padang’. The situation in Indonesia at that time was not easy. In all parts of Indonesia, also in the city of Padang, there were riots. There were almost no Dutch brothers left in Padang, while there was scarcely any vocation among Indonesian boys. In December 1976 the CMM community in Padang was handed over to the diocese.
From Padang to Manado, Tomohon, Medan…
Meanwhile, the Congregation’s work had expanded to other parts of Indonesia. Already on September 4, 1924, the Brothers Ernest Adriaanse and Radulf Bax set foot in Manado and Tomohon. In Manado they took over the education at the Dutch Chinese School. In 1927 the brothers also started working in Medan, with Brother Hermenigild Mimpen as director of the Dutch Chinese School of Medan.
… And on
Gradually more and more communities in different parts of Indonesia were founded, and more and more Indonesian young men joined. At present there are about 120 brothers in Indonesia. They live and work in the Archdioceses of Medan, Semarang, Makassar and Kupang and the Dioceses of Manado, Sibolga, Banjarmasin, Tanjung Selor, Amboina and Larantuka.
There is good hope that the Congregation in Indonesia will continue to develop according to the expectations of the Founder, Bishop Joannes Zwijsen. “The joy and hope, the sorrow and anguish of the local church, of the universal church and of all people will also be ours” (Constitutions I, 177).
Brother Yonas Paso CMM, Indonesia
Image: The first five brothers in Indonesia, Padang 1923. CMM Central Archives.