Mission Of SMM Indonesia From A Historical Perspective


The presence of SMM in Indonesia cannot be separated from mission work. It was the mission that brought SMM to work in Indonesia. Seeing the presence of SMM from a mission perspective would like to rediscover the missionary spirit that was lived by the pioneering missionaries of SMM Indonesia and at the same time reinforce the union's missionary identity for us, today's Montfortians.

II. Overview of the Presence of SMM in Indonesia

The Company of Mary is present in Indonesia based on the need for missionaries in the Apostolic Prefecture of Borneo, which since 1905 has been the responsibility of the Capuchins. It is noted that the first correspondence with the SMM was carried out by the leadership of the Dutch Capuchins in 1924. The effort to convince the Montfortians to attend and work and then continue in 1936 was still from the leadership of the Capuchin Belanjda. In the same year, the Apostolic Prefect of Kalimantan, Mgr. Valenberg wrote the same request to the Dutch SMM to take over part of the mission in West Kalimantan, namely the Sintang residency area. SMM Netherlands took 4 years to consider the offer. This correspondence was realized in 1939 when 3 missionaries: P. H. L'Ortye, P. Jan Linssen, and Br. Bruno was sent to West Kalimantan.

Hal penting yang perlu kita catat dibalik perutusan para montfortan ini adalah bahwa misi di Kalimantan Barat: wilayah Sintang dan Putussibau dipersembahkan dalam lindungan Santa Maria: Santa Maria Bintang Laut dan Bunda Maria dari Scherpenheuvel. Tentang ini memang tidak mendapat tempat yang besar dalam penulisan sejarah SMM oleh Pater Piet. Namun, sekelumit cerita perjalanan awal para montfortan pertama ini mengingatkan akan kesatuan yang tidak terpisahkan dari identitas montfortan sendiri, seperti yang dirindukan oleh Montfort: Misionaris dan Anak Maria.

The missionary journey of the early Montfortians is a long and decisive story in the life and work of SMM Indonesia today. Being in a new place with all its challenges is not easy and easy. The missionary spirit of the early Montfortians did not subside amid all the limitations they experienced and felt.

Furthermore, the first years at the Pontianak Vicariate (1939-1947) were very difficult and challenging years. A vast field with limited energy demands a lot of sacrifices. Not to mention the limited facilities and infrastructure. Despite the addition of new power in later years, the vast and heavy territory remains a challenge in itself in the journey of the Montfortians. Not to mention the problems of politics and colonialism also colored the difficult situation in the early years of the presence of the Montfortians.

However, the missionary zeal that is unquenchable by the circumstances and difficulties in the mission land is a testimony that will never go away. It is appropriate to look at the passion and life testimony of these early Montfortians as evidence that missionary work is not about projects and pastoral methods alone. It is about Christ and His Church. The testimonies of the early Montfortians undergoing missionary work in Sintang and Putussibau remind us of Montfort's own words: “If humans had handled it first nothing would have happened; if man intervenes and tampers with his possessions with yours, he will destroy everything, he will confuse everything” (DM 26).

This mission as God's mission is what directs the steps of the Montfortians to build a mission in Sintang with all its challenges. God's mission encourages Montfortians to read situations and circumstances and think of appropriate methods to respond to situations and circumstances. The period 1948-1958 was an important period in the history of Montfortian in Indonesia. The expansion of pastoral work is carried out based on sensitivity to the needs of the people, not just fulfilling a work contract with the Apostolic Vicariate to take over the Sintang and Kapuas Hulu mission areas. This became one of the important criteria in the missionary journey of the Montfortians. This criterion cannot be underestimated, for it once again echoes Montfort's own life. We remember Montfort's mission as an Apostolic missionary. He was sent by the Pope to go on a mission in France, despite his longing to go on a mission abroad. The urgent need for renewal of the Christian life in his day became Montfort's first criterion for all of his missionary work.

The journey of SMM in Indonesia through difficult phases cannot be separated from the creative dynamics in maintaining an identity as a missionary of the Union of Mary. There are many notes in Fr. Piet's book that show that identity as a Montfortian is responded to creatively and dynamically. Things that are quite striking, for example, are the problems faced with the lifestyle of the Montfortians in the pastoral field and those in the monastery. A struggle that until now may still be enough to color the dynamics of SMM Indonesia's journey. In this dynamic, we find the importance of self-renewal and the importance of identity as missionaries of the Society of Mary in mission. This creative and dynamic way of living this identity has also been answered thoroughly by the Union through constitutional revisions: in 1971, 1975, and 1994. These revisions show that identity as a Montfortian cannot be ignored in its mission and at the same time, identity as a Montfortian is an endless struggle.

In carrying out their mission work in Sintang and Kapuas Hulu, as well as their development towards Melawi, the Montfortians demonstrated the importance of cooperation and the spirit of freelancing. In terms of cooperation, we need to note how the missions in Sintang and Kapuas Hulu with a wide reach encourage intensive and well-run cooperation with other congregations. Collaboration cannot be taken lightly, because it shows that the Montfortians are not building the Montfortian empire in Sintang and Kapuas Hulu. The Montfortians carried out the missionary work that Montfort himself, as Founding Father, had received from the Church. It was this awareness that encouraged a fraternal collaboration and overcame differences in pastoral methods with the congregations that later worked in Sintang Diocese: OMI, SVD, and Passionis. A collaboration that had previously been shown with the SMFA Sisters, who had already been present in the Sintang and Kapuas Hulu areas.

The spirit of freedom is also shown by the Montfortians in their work in the upstream Sintang and Kapuas regions, which since 1948 have been Apostolic Prefectures and in 1961 their status was elevated to dioceses. We note this, for example, when the Montfortians gradually gave the responsibility for the journey of the Diocese of Sintang to the diocesan priests. Not an easy thing. As the Congregation that started and gave birth to Sintang as a diocese, the transition was certainly not easy. Some tensions adorn this transitional journey. But, positively, we need to read it from the free spirit. Freelancing is perhaps aptly described as the DNA of the Montfortians. The example and testimony of the life of Pastor Lambertus van den Boorn may strengthen this point.

When carrying out missionary work in Sintang, the Montfortians also realized the importance of empowering the faithful. The construction and establishment of schools handled by the Montfortians is an emancipatory and contextual vision. The Montfortians realize the importance of empowering the people and schools as a way for that empowerment.

III. Montfortian Indonesia: Constant in context

After seeing the above overview, it would be appropriate to look at the history of SMM Indonesia as a missionary journey to be constant in context. Constant in living the identity and important values as a Montfortian, and at the same time always creative and dynamic in context. Important values that shape identity as a Montfortian are values that are permanent and irreplaceable. Montfortian's identity has always been built on fixed values. Staying here means it can't be relative.

As fixed values, the accompanying consequence is that values are always a shared and personal struggle. Struggle together means, identity is built through the practice of correctio Fraternal. Not every confrere can show appreciation to the same level. Each person's character, culture, and social experiences lead to differences in appreciation. It is in this difference that the spirit of fraternal correction applies. Criticism and input may be placed to help each other

On the other hand, the struggle for identity as a Montfortian also encourages each individual to need to have an ongoing formation. Ongoing formation is a process of purification, not just self-realization. Of course, we all need to realize ourselves as individuals. However, this self-realization effort must be carried out to deepen the appreciation of these values as a mentor. In the ratio of the first volume, we find the icons of a Montfortian: Eyes directed to Wisdom, ears attentive to Mary's answer, a heart dedicated to Jesus and entrusted to Mary, mouth filled with the Word of the Gospel, hands raised in prayer, standing at feet the cross, keeping eyes on the reformer of the Church, Liberos, those whose steps are guided by the Holy Spirit, set out with others to proclaim the Good News of Christ to the poor and an icon of hope.

In connection with these icons, it should be noted that these icons are realized through all personal talents and talents. Therefore, these icons are passed in the spirit of continuous repentance to lead us to the life of our mission and mission. Becoming a Montfortian is a process that has been and has not been. That is, being a Montfortian missionary is always included in the appreciation of these icons with all their advantages and disadvantages.

This process is what we call the inward mission or in more familiar and biblical terms the process of discipleship. The process of assimilation of Montfortian icons is the process of becoming disciples, like the disciples of Jesus Christ who are formed through the halls of life and the example of the Master. This process of becoming a disciple cannot be ignored, because every outward mission is always an inward movement to explore oneself as a Montfortian. Every step of leaving "Jerusalem" always presupposes a phase or stage of becoming a disciple who is ready to be sent (staying in the senacle with Mary waiting for the Holy Spirit). The more able to live discipleship, the more capable a Montfortian is to anticipate the dangers that Pope Francis calls the dangers of insignificance as a Montfortian. Or the danger of losing one's identity as a Montfortian.

On the other hand, the phase of being a disciple (growing and developing in Montfortian values) at the same time demands a readiness to be blown in the direction of the Holy Spirit blowing. The mission is the fruit of discipleship. But at the same time, mission demands recognition of context. Context is not a simple term. The context contains at least 4 meanings: 1) personal and communal experience; 2) culture; 3) social location; 4) social change.

What is important from respecting context in our mission and realization of our icon as Montfortians is a matter of creativity and the relevance of our presence as Montofrtan. So pastoral a la Montfort is not about copying the ways and forms of Montfort's mission. Because if that happens then we will experience pastoral uncertainty. Montfort lived in his day. The form of the mission and the way Montfort's mission responded to the challenges of its time. It is impossible to take the form and manner of Montfort's mission for our different contexts and missions. But herein lies the meaning of creativity and contextualization.

Creativity is a pastoral way that is carried out in response to the context according to values as a Montfortian. So, creativity is a new way of being carried out in a pastoral way that respects the context and values that are formed in our icon as a Montfortian. Not surprisingly, reading the constitution, we find the following assertion: it is necessary periodically to investigate our various activities, to make a distinction between activities that follow the lines of the typical Montfortian tradition, and those that deviate from it. In other words, a new method or method is not just a matter of novelty. However, the question of how novelty is in the pastoral is still heeding the context and identity. Examples of this model are the rosary safari in Ruteng diocese, or the Marian statue procession at Putussibau Parish.

Contextualization can be understood in other terms, as inculturation. It is a matter of integrating gospel values into the context in which we work. So it's not just limited to culture. Inculturation from our perspective as Montfortians is to inculturate the gospel values embodied in the Montfortian spirituality so that it becomes a relevant lifestyle for the people we serve. An example is Self-Dedication, as a crystallization of the evangelical values captured by Montfort, we integrate them into the lives of the people we serve so that through self-dedication people today can live their Christian lives.

So, the term constant in context actually embraces two things in the same mission: the Montfortian mission. The first is the question of forming an identity as a disciple of Saint Montfort and the second is the act of leaving which is marked by creativity and contextualization or inculturation.

IV. Closing

Studying history, we can find that the early Montfortians have provided examples and examples of how their lives and testimonies became relevant to the people they served because they always flowed from their identity as Montfortians. New pastoral identities and forms must go together so that we can maintain the uniqueness of our presence as a Montfort in responding to the needs of the people.

Fr. Rafael Lepen, SMM