Sunday, January 1, 2012


Fr. Petrus Noyen, SVD, was born in the Netherlands on September 3, 1870. He wa an SVD missionary in China for 17 years. On the beginning of 1911, he left China for Steyl, Netherlands, on behalf of his missionary friends in the land of the red dragon, taking part at the first General Chapter. In that chapter, Fr. Nicolaus Blum, SVD, was elected as the second Superior General of the SVD, replacing St. Arnold Janssen who died in 1909. After the Chapter, other delegates hurried going back to their mission countries, while Fr. Noyen still living some time in Europe for the Chinese mission propaganda. In his journey for this mission, he visited Rome and succeeded meeting Pope Pius X. When in Rome, he received the news that turned his heart very sad. He was not allowed to return to China, because the SVD of Holland determined him to open a formation house in Uden. On September 8, 1911, the first formation house in Uden, Holland, was inaugurated and he became the first rector.

On February 8, 1912, Steyl received a decree from Propaganda Fide stating that SVD was assigned to handle the mission in the “Lesser Sunda Islands”, in Hindia. Again the SVD leaders looked at Fr. Noyen for this task, because he had mission experience during 17 years in China. So on December 9, 1912, Fr. Noyen left Steyl for Marseille in France and on December 12, 1912, he boarded a steamer named, 'Kawi', sailing for the new mission land. The ‘Kawi’ arrived in Batavia (Jakarta during Dutch time) on January 4, 1913. After meeting  Msgr. Luijpen, SJ, the Vicar Apostolic of Batavia and visited a Dutch school in Muntilan, he boarded the van Twist Duijmaar from Surabaya to the island of Timor on January 12, 1913. A week later, the ship arrived in Kupang on January 18, 1913. Fr. Noyen reported his journey to the Resident van Rietschoten, then went on his trip to the East and on January 20, 1913, the ship successfully docked at the port Atapupu. Fr. Noyen went ashore in the new land of his mission, Sandalwood homeland. Fr. Mathijsen, SJ, and Br. Moecle, SJ, was surprised to see Fr. Noyen alone off the boat. For news that they had received previously, the first SVD missionaries that entourage will arrive in Atapupu, there should be five people. Br. Moecle was a bit disappointed because he had set up five rooms and even borrowed some beds from the military barracks. And the more sad was, Br. Moecle had to carry his suitcase back to Lahurus because he could not depart with the same ship. And also the fare well ceremony with the people was carried out before the Fr. Noyen arrived. Apparently, the letter of notification of the delay of the other four SVD missionaries, newly arrived on the same day via ship carrying Fr Noyen.

A week later, on January 27, 1913, Fr. Noyen rode to the mission center of the island of Timor in Lahurus and directly learn Tetun, the native tongue in the region. Two months later, he led the Stations of the Cross firstly, in the new language he was learned. Three months later he was able to hear confessions and on the day of Pentecost, May 11, 1913, Fr. Noyen was first preached in Tetun. Meanwhile, when in China, things like that he could only did after two years. On February 18, 1913, arrived in Atapupu, Br. Kalikstus, SVD from Papua New Guinea, after being a missionary there for 9 years. Prior to PNG, Br. Kalikstus was a missionary in Togo, Africa. Fr. Noyen and Br. Kalikstus were the first two SVD missionaries who received the letter of transfering the mission territory on the island of Timor from the hands of the Jesuit missionaries: Fr. Mathijsen and Br. Moecle, on March 1, 1913. The day of March 1, 1913 was dated as the historic day or the starting point of SVD mission in Indonesia. Two months later, on May 14, 1913, arrived in Atapupu, Fr. Arnold Verstraelen, SVD (former missionary in Togo, Africa, 1907-1912) and Br. Lusian, SVD, the architect of the first permanent church and the building of the SSpS Sisters in Lahurus. May 20, 1913, Fr. Noyen and about 100 Catholics people from Lahurus, ushered Fr. Mathijsen, SJ, into Atapupu port. Fr. Mathijsen, SJ, left Lahurus after serving his missionary work there more than 25 years. At 14 PM, the group has met the dock, but suddenly came a telegram that the expected ship will arrive two days later. "No wonder, because it was", Fr. Noyen wrote in his diary. "Dutch shipping agent, KPM (Koninklijke Maatschappij Paketvaart), should be called: KPM, 'Kom Pas Morgen'(will come tomorrow)". *** (Prisco Virgo)

(Adopted from the Diary of Fr. Petrus Noyen, SVD, as recorded by Br. Peter Laan, SVD and translated into Indonesian by Fr. Herman Embuiru, SVD, and became the book of the History of the Catholic Church in Timor, Volume 2, pages, 796-856).

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