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Carmelites escape volcanic eruptions in Indonesia

Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi

Members of the Carmelite Family are among those affected by the recent volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi in Indonesia.

According to BBC reports, at least 259 people have been killed since Mount Merapi began erupting on 26 October. Most of those who died were killed in the biggest eruption on 5 November, when Mount Merapi shot out jets of boiling gas and rock.

One of those injured that day was Carmelite friar Fr Agustinus Sutiono, O.Carm Agustinus is a member of the Indonesian Province of Carmelites - the largest in the Order. Agustinus is resident in the British Province, at the Carmelite friary in Walworth, South London, whilst he researches a doctorate at York St John University into the indigenous religious beliefs of his fellow Indonesians.

Agustinus sent a message on 5 November to the Prior of Walworth, Fr Francis Kemsley, O.Carm, to say that he was fine, but had been forced by the eruptions to abandon his research in Yogyakarta at the base of Mount Marapi where many of the families whom he had been interviewing had had to leave their villages to avoid the hot ash and mud flows. He is continuing his research in Jakarta whilst working with volunteers to help the victims of the disaster find food.

Another member of the Order affected by the volcanic activity has been Fr Albertus Magnus Herwanta, O.Carm, who as Councillor General for Asia-Australia-Oceania is a member of the Order's General Curia in Rome. When the eruptions began he was visiting members of his family who have had to abandon their homes.

Three weeks after the eruptions began, thousands of villagers are beginning to return to their homes, following a decline in volcanic activity.

We continue to offer prayers for the safety and well-being of our Carmelite brothers and sisters, and all the people of Indonesia.

Source: Carmelites