The Jesuits in Guyana
Interiors: Kurukabaru & Lethem

Presently the Jesuits working in the interior operate out of three centres. Aishalton in the deep south Rupununi: St Ignatius in Central Rupununi; and Kurukabaru in the Pakaraimas. Plans are in place to introduce a fourth centre at Karasabai in the foothills of the Pakaraimas.

In the South Rupununi Fr Peter Britt-Compton, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in 2009, continues to live among the Wapishana people to whom he has ministered with great love and dedication for many years. The communities he used to visit are now cared for by the youngest priest in the Guyana Region, Fr Amar Bage. The pastoral work of the Church in the deep South has been enriched in recent years by a community of Tildonk Ursuline sisters from the Ranchi region of India. These sisters were able with the help of Fr Oliver Rafferty and Fr Joseph Puli to reopen the convent in Aishalton, built many years previously by Fr Derrick Maitland for the Corpus Christi Carmelites. Prior to the arrival of the sisters, two Scarboro Lay Mission Volunteers, Maxine and Kate, had begun to develop excellent work among the women and girls of the community including a sewing centre and catechism classes.

In Central Rupununi the mission station of St Ignatius continues to flourish. Here Fr Joaquim De Mello and Fr Kuruvila are developing a ministry to the Macushi communities and to the rapidly expanding settlement of Lethem. Fr Kuruvila has special responsibility for investigating ways in which the Church can make a renewed contribute to the education of the region and has been involved in an extensive programme of visits. Jesuit Scholastics and lay missionary volunteers from Jesuit Missions have been involved in teaching work at St Ignatius Secondary School and it is hoped that the Church will be able find teachers to work in Aishalton as well in the near future. Fr Joaquim has done great work in reviving some of the projects begun by Fr Lajos Kiss. The wood work shop that had been standing idle has become a thriving centre for furniture making and the bee hives built by Lajos Kiss continue to produce large quantities of top quality honey.

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