East Timor is a country in East Asia, close to Australia. A former Portuguese colony which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and declared its independence in 1999 East Timor is a new country with a population of 1.2 million, where 99% of the population are Catholics (despite a strong native religious tradition of animism) and most of the people are living in poverty.

The Dominicans arrived in Timor in the 16th century, but, when Portugal expelled all religious orders from Portugal’s territory in 1834, the Dominicans in East Timor had to leave too.

Our Province went back to in 2013 and started working for one diocese, in a remote place where the presence of the church had not been well established. We worked in a parish covering ten villages, a population of around 12,000, poor schools, and very bad roads. The access to some of them is still only on foot, and the Christians communities are not well established yet, since in the past there were no priests in the area. We also work in a diocesan school with more than 500 students. In the last 9 years, the brothers have improved the student’s level of preparation, recruiting new teacher who were better qualified and improving the facilities. Many of the students have been able to attend university with very good results.

We have our central house in the capital, Dili, which was inaugurated in 2020 and is the house of formation. In the last 9 years, around 20 young people have been living there, preparing to join the Dominicans. 13 students are already in the Dominican studentate in Macao; every year more and more young people want to join the Dominicans. The brothers teach and are spiritual directors in both the local seminar and in universities; they also run the chaplaincy in one of the universities.

Currently 5 brothers priests work in this mission, 3 young people are doing their novitiate and 7 young people are aspirants. Another 12 student brothers have already professed vows and are living in our studentate, the priory in Macau.