History of SMM Comes to Indonesia

SMM to Indonesia aimed at spreading the works of the Montfortans and the spirituality of Saint Montfort.

It is better if we look specifically at the development of SMM in the Netherlands. From the beginning, the SMM was conceived as the Congregation for the French. Thus, when they entered the Netherlands in 1881 they brought in candidates from France. It was only a few years later that they accepted non-French candidates. The influx of candidates from the Netherlands prompted them to open an Apostolic School in Schimmert in 1883. The rapid development of SMM in the Netherlands made them a new province in 1905. The difficult situation in France brought great blessings to the Church and SMM because it was from here that hundreds of missionaries spread throughout the world. the world including Indonesia.

The Dutch Montfortians entered Indonesia in 1939[1]The three pioneering missionaries Fr. Harry L'Ortye, Fr. Jan Linsen, and Br. Bruno arrived in Pontianak on April 7, 1939. After staying 10 days in Pontianak they crossed the Kapuas River and arrived in Sintang on April 20. From Sintang they sailed on to Kapuas Hulu and arrived at Bika Parish on April 29. Bika-Nazaret became the first residence of the Montfortians in Indonesia. World War II in 1952-1945 dragged Dutch missionaries including SMM to a detention camp in Kuching, Malaysia. camp penahanan di Kuching, Malaysia.

After returning from detention in Kuching, the leader of SMM Indonesia, P. L'Ortye settled in Sintang and made it the center of mission activities. In 1946 P. Jan Linsen started a new work in Putussibau. Putussibau is a historical place for SMM because it is the first parish founded by SMM in Indonesia. The other parishes (Bika, Sejiram, Martinus, etc.) simply continued the work that the Capuchin missionaries had started. In the same year, SMM took over the services of Martinus Parish (April), then Sejiram (July). With the flow of new missionaries from the Netherlands, at the end of 1946, the entire Sintang mission area was taken over by SMM from the hands of the Capuchins.

Sejak awal 1947 SMM mulai mengarah ke Sungai Melawi.  Paroki pertama di wilayah Melawi di resmikan tahun 1950 di Nanga Serawai. Empat tahun kemudian Nanga Pinoh juga diresmikan sebagai paroki. Sementara itu wilayah misi Sintang mulai membentuk hirarki Gereja. Mula-mula menjadi Prefektur Apostolik (1948) dengan Mgr. Lambertus van Kessel SMM sebagai Prefeknya. Tahun 1956 ditingkatkan menjadi Vikariat Apostolik dengan Vicarisnya tetap Mgr. Lambertus van Kessel SMM. Dan ketika Sintang secara resmi menjadi sebuah keuskupan tahun 1961, Mgr. Lambertus van Kessel SMM menjadi Uskup pertama Keuskupan Sintang.

Diplomatic tensions between the Dutch and Indonesian governments hindered the movement of Dutch missionaries in Indonesia. To deal with this difficulty, the work of the Indonesian SMM mission was taken by Montforitan America (1959-1973). History records that 6 priests and an American Montfortian brother have worked in Indonesia. After Indonesia-Dutch relations improved again, the American Montfortians left Kalimantan and accepted a new mission in Latin America

Since they arrived in Indonesia in 1939, the Montfortians have only thought about serving the people. They built schools, built churches, opened clinics, ministered to the sick, and so on. After the Second Vatican Council, the flow of missionaries from the Netherlands decreased. To maintain the continuity of its missionary work and respond to the desire of Indonesian sons to become monks, SMM in Indonesia is thinking of starting formation work.

The first Daya' who became SMM was P. Aloysius Ding.[2] The formation of SMM Indonesia officially started in 1979 in Putussibau with the only candidate, Aloisius Djamal. He was a prospective brother who remained in a temporary vow for 8 years but resigned before taking his permanent vows in 1989. Then the novitiate was transferred to Sintang (1983) with the candidates being several Putera Daya' and transmigrants from Java. When P. Piet Derckx, SMM was asked to become Chancellor of the Sintang Diocese of Bandung (1984), he brought with him two SMM postulants. To accompany P. Piet Drckx, in 1985 P. Wim Peeters, SMM brought the Montfortian Novices to Bandung. Thus, since 1985 the formation of SMM Indonesia is officially located in Bandung. These two Montfortians from the Netherlands must be recognized as laying the foundation for the formation of SMM Indonesia.

 Banyaknya para peminat dari seluruh wilayah Nusantara untuk bergabung menjadi SMM, sementara Novisiat Montfortan di Bandung mempunyai daya tampung yang terbatas, maka pada tahun 2002 rumah novisiat dipindahkan dari Bandung ke Keuskupan Ruteng di Pulau Flores. Sekali lagi P. Wim Peeters membawa rombongan para novisnya dan kali ini dari Bandung ke Ruteng. Dengan dimulainya Novisiat Montfortan di Ruteng, calon skolastik pun bertambah dan Seminari Montfort di Bandung terasa kecil. Untuk itu SMM Indonesia memikirkan untuk mencari lokasi dan wilayah baru untuk membangun skolastikat. Sejak tahun 2004 SMM mulai membentuk komunitas formasi di Malang dan tahun 2005 Seminari Montfort secara resmi dan defenitif  dipindahkan dari Bandung ke Malang.

The work of Montfortian Indonesia has produced visible fruits. The Union of Maria Montfortian is the foundation of the Sintang Diocese Church. The construction of primary and secondary schools has increased the human resources of the local community. In addition, the Montfortians themselves, succeeded in educating indigenous sons who continued their work in Indonesia and even had missions abroad.

By the end of 2013, SMM Indonesia had produced 50[3] imam dan bruder pribumi berkaul kekal.  Sementara itu ada puluhan frater yang sedang belajar di Novisiat dan Skolastikat. Sejak tahun 2003 kepemimpinan SMM Indonesia sudah diambil alih oleh Montfortan pribumi. Berbagai karya di bidang formasi, paroki dan kategorial pun semuanya ditangani Montfortan pribumi Indonesia.[4] Montfortian Indonesia has also started working abroad. Since 2000, SMM Indonesia has sent personnel to Papua New Guinea and in 2010 to Ecuador and some have even been elected as members of the central leadership board in Rome. In 2016 the confreres began to be sent to Nicaragua (Fr. Zakarias Beong and Fr. Jefro Daman, SMM)

In addition to encouraging developments, SMM Indonesia also experienced various problems. The biggest problem is the maturity of its members. This can be seen from the presence of confreres taking eternal vows who take off their robes. The candidates in the formation house also felt a bit easy to change direction, even those who had entered the final stages. Thus, the Celebration of 75 years of SMM Indonesia in 2014, in addition to being a celebration of gratitude full of joy and pride, is also an opportunity to improve oneself, build oneself to become a tough, responsive, and responsible Montfortian to uphold the Kingdom of God with the Virgin Mary.

[1] The journey of SMM Indonesia can be seen in Piet Derckx, Sejarah dimulainya Montfortan Hidup, dan Berkarya di Indonesia, Marian Spirituality Center, Bandung, 2008

[2] Father Ding was the first Dayak priest. He was ordained a priest on 16 September 1945 in Flores. Because he wanted to become an SMM, he entered the Montfortian Novitiate in the Netherlands in 1948. On September 8, 1949, he took his monastic vows and became a priest of SMM.

[3] This figure includes those who have died and left the priesthood.

[4] Continue to acknowledge and appreciate the presence of 4 Dutch Montfortians who accompany and become "parents" for young Montfortians.