Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stained glass

I am in Port Moresby this week, but have scheduled a series a posts with the story of Peter ToRot, and some photos from his Memorial Basilica at Rakunai.



Some of the lovely stained-glass in the Church.

Peter ToRot was born in Rakunai in 1912. In 1930, at the age of 18, he enrolled at St Paul's Mission School for training catechists and in 1933 obtained his diploma. When he had completed his studies, Peter was assigned to the mission in his own village, and so began his work.

The decisive turning point in Peter To Rot's life and mission occurred in 1942. After the Japanese occupation, all the missionaries and mission staff were imprisoned in a concentration camp. So Peter remained alone. During the war he was the only spiritual guide for Catholics in the Rakunai district. With his constant presence, he provided prayer services, catechetical instruction, the administration of Baptism, the preservation and distribution of the Eucharist to the sick and the dying, and assistance to the poor. On the outskirts of Rakunai, he built a church for the Catholic community from branches, the only material available. The main church had been destroyed by the Japanese.

At the start of the Japanese occupation, he was on good terms with the military authorities. This sort of friendly relationship with the inhabitants ceased in 1942 after the Japanese suffered some military reverses. At that point the military police replaced the local authorities, creating an atmosphere of repression.

This information came from this Internet site.

14 comments:

M.Benaut said...

The link is well worth reading to the end. Peter's life was cut short; brutally.

The wartime history of East New Britain may not be well known, especially to the current generation.

You photos show how he is now so-well remembered, and deservedly so.

Abraham Lincoln said...

The Japanese occupation of many islands was brutal at best worse in some instances.

As it turns out, I did know an elderly Japanese man, from Tokyo, who was stationed on Rabaul during the war. He said he ruined his back carrying heavy loads. I assume he has passed away now.

Anyway, I read the text by highlighting it as it was too dark to read otherwise. It was interesting too.

Nice post.

Jules said...

M B - it is very interesting and this week I have planned a series of posts with the whole story recounted. i will be away but have scheduled the rest of the posts - stay tuned!!!

Abe - sorry about the text - the post was a scheduled one so didn't see it until this morning - have changed the colour & size so it can be read easier!!!

CaBaCuRl said...

That's a magnificent church....those spectacular windows do a brave man great honour & respect. I agree with M B.that the link is worth reading for an insight into a courageous life.

Squirrel said...

Great photos, and always good to read about a brave saintly sort of person, It looks like a peaceful place-- the shot of the indoor space --airy but serene at the same time.

Hilda said...

Oh wow, is that glass all around? It's lovely, especially the stained glass.

I discovered just a few years ago that the Philippine Jesuits have a school for pastoral studies which is well-known among PNG Catholic priests (more well-known there than in the Philippines, apparently). No wonder I see so many of them in the campus.

babooshka said...

The glass is so delicate in detail. Fascinating story and look forward to thosother posts.

lv2scpbk said...

Beautiful stained glass.

GMG said...

Hi Jules!
Sorry for the absence these last weeks, but unfortunately it wasn’t due to some summer holidays… ;))
Thanks for your comments on Blogtrotter, now at the MoMA for Art and New York lovers! Hope you enjoy and wish you a great week! I’ll try to get back here to enjoy your pictures with some more time during the week!

USelaine said...

It is a beautiful church in every way. Thanks for bringing it to us.

alicesg said...

Very beautiful stained glass. It is sad about the Japanese occupation. Many suffered during the WW2. I know my grandparents and parents suffered much during the Japanese Occupation. I was not born then but life was not so rosy during my childhood cause the country was only beginning to be independent but now life is so much better and great.

"JEANNELLE" said...

The stained glass is lovely! The story is very interesting.

Squirrel said...

so many good pics --I like the statue of Peter and the bit of glass, they help tell the story in a poignant way.

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" was interested in this post - right up his alley what with his interest in WWII history...