Carmelites visited Indonesia in the 17th century, when Blessed Dionysius of the Nativity and Redemptus of the Cross suffered martyrdom on Sumatra.
Having successfully contributed to the restoration of the Rio de Janeiro Province (Brazil), the Carmelites in the Netherlands turned their thoughts to undertaking the work of evangelisation in the Dutch East Indies. This decision was in no small part due to the mission-minded Bl. Titus Brandsma, at the time a member of the Provincial Council. In 1923 three Carmelites, including the superior, Fr. Clement van der Pas, arrived to take over from the Jesuits the island of Madura and the Eastern part of Java with headquarters in Malang. At the time less than 200 native Javanese were Catholic.
As more missionaries joined the work, the Carmelites opened new parishes and imported teaching Orders for schools. By 1927 the mission had become an apostolic prefecture with Van der Pas at its head. In 1937 the first Javanese Carmelite, Gerard Singgih Padmowyoto, was ordained. In 1939 Malang became an apostolic vicariate, and its vicar, Avertanus Albers, received episcopal consecration.
During the Japanese occupation in World War II, the Carmelites were interned and several suffered mistreatment and death. But the local seminary survived and after Indonesia became independent, the pace of growth accelerated. In 1960 Indonesia was made a commissariat general with Martin Sarka Dipojudo as commissary. In 1967 Andrew Harjaka was named head of the new province. When Franciscus Xaverius Hadisumarta succeeded Albers as bishop of Malang, the Carmelite apostolate in Indonesia may be said to have reached its maturity.
At present the Province of Indonesia has about 290 religious working in Indonesia, Australia, Great Britain, Germany and Italy.
For further information: Province of Indonesia
Provinsialat Ordo Karmel
Jl. Talang 3
Tel. 0341-574929 / 30