Dili (Fides Service) – Some 120 students have enrolled for courses in domestic science, sowing and computer techniques, at a new Professional Training Centre run by the Canossian Sisters in Dili, capital of East Timor. The new centre, opened on 10 September by Archbishop Renato from Rome, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is named after Sister Erminia Cazzaniga and Sister Celeste de Carvalho, martyrs of East Timor’s independence, killed during riots following a referendum won by separatists in 1999.
“This is a lovely way to remember our sisters” the Canossian community in Dili tells Fides Service. “Both women were excellent teachers in love with youth and filled with enthusiasm and they continued to follow their pupils even when they had left school. We are very pleased about this new Centre. East Timor has great need for this type of initiatives, in a context of growing unemployment, scarcity of schools and hospitals, and we must work hard to give a future to the young people” says Sister Luigia Guerrini, a Missionary in East Timor for 30 years.
The new Professional Training Centre in Dili is funded by the Path to Peace Foundation based in New York established by Archbishop Martino when for many years he was the Holy See’s Observer to the United Nations in that city. The purpose of the Foundation is to support initiatives undertaken by the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. At the opening ceremony Archbishop Martino read a message from Pope John Paul for the occasion in which the Holy Father encourages the people of Timor “to continue along the path of true freedom within the international community and that it may be a country of justice and peace”. For his part Archbishop Martino said, among other things: “I hope the Centre may contribute to providing specific education for the local youth also in moral and religions principles, that they may ever more courageously resist the evils which try to destroy the rich spiritual patrimony of the people of East Timor”.
In 2000 Sister Erminia Cazzaniga and Sister Celeste de Carvalho were nominated Servants of Peace by the Path to Peace foundation.
Among the special guests at the inauguration ceremony, Timor’s President Xanana Gusmao Bishop Basilio do Nascimento, apostolic administrator of Dili. PA (Fides Service 18/9/2003 EM lines 39 Words: 395)