zondag 5 februari 2012


In our European country of the Netherlands it is uite suspect to talk about miracles. People easily use terminology like charlatanism and suggest that we use healthy science or go to well educated medical doctors instead of believing supernatural theories. But in modern Indonesia miracles are nearly affairs. In my present research on the history of Catholics in Indonesia,  I meet them nearly every day. One of these is a Dutch born lay brother of the SSCC order, Jan Heuts, a qualified carpenter. He orked since the 1970s in the island of Bangka and developed paranormal gifts, searching for water and providing alternative health care. No he is called Yanuarius Husada (after the Sanskrit word for medicine or Husada and is still practising his medical service for many people in Indonesia.
Another member of the SSCC order was the priest Rolf Reichenbach, of German origin, who worked in the diocese of Pangkalpinang for a long time and became a charismatic preacher and healer.
One of the best known Catholic healers is the diocesan priest from Tanimbar, Yosep Somar. He is described by anthropologist Paskalis Laksono in his book on Kei culture from a meeting in 1989. I wrote about him to John Prior and received this answer:
I met Somar many years ago. He was employed (among so many others) by Ibu Tien at the Presidential palace. I jokingly said that he has sinned against the Holy Spirit by restoring her health and not putting a knife into her husband! Yes, he was well known as a para-normal healer (using photos etc.).

But one of the most astonishing stories is about a Jesuit priests from India, James Bharataputra. Born in 1937 he came to Medan in 1972 to serve the small community of Tamil Catholics in this region (already mentioned in vol. I:30, 59, 64-5; also vol II, 333). He started to build a grandiose church in 2000. He had Tamil and Chinese sponsors in various places of Indonesia and abroad. One day he had Rp 10 million  in his room, hile staying in a friend's house (about € 1000). He had to go to Jakarta and hile travelling the room was set in fire. Everything was lost, but only the mopney was found intact among the rubble. This became known and people asked for this miraculous money and gave him more until he received much money from all kind of donators and in 2004 his Indonesian replica of the Indian place of pilgrimage Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni was finished.
The photographs here are taken from an interesting article in the academic journal Archipel (no 82, 2011) by Daniel Perret. I could not make the quality better, but in the original journal they are perfect!

So, what about miracles? In Indonesia quite a few people are still fond of spectacular stories and events, while we dream sometimes also of similar stories.

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