PNG Stories

Two new Fact Sheets about the Presentation Sisters in PNG 

Just click the link below to open. Once open, click on the download icon/button in top right corner to open a full pdf version.

(1) The Story of the Presentation Sisters in Paupa New Guinea

(2) The trials & perils of getting around in PNG


July 2013: The Perils of Travel in Papua New Guinea

“Nothing less than a helicopter, Army Duck or jeep, would help alleviate the pain of transport in regional Papua New Guinea! Since we didn’t have any such mode of transport available to us, like others in the locality, we had to rely on thetruck or occasionally a boat when on the coast.”

Sr Margaret Mary, who has now returned to Australia after living with the Presentation Sisters in Papua New Guinea for many years, has spoken of the difficulties of transportation in the region. There is no air link between Wewak and Aitape so most people travel by road. On this route there are at least twenty six rivers to cross. Some of these rivers do not have bridges and those that do have a bridge are often unreliable after heavy flooding.

When I say we ‘travel by road’ the term ‘road’ is used loosely! If the truck slides into a deep rut the tactics of getting it free are simple. All passengers alight and shovels and ropes are handed out. Some assist by digging around the wheels whilst the remaining passengers either pull from the front or push from the rear. This operation can take hours and only the driver is spared a mud bath!

Bridges in Papua New Guinea are an interesting phenomenon. Some shake in their foundations, others have all the sleepers removed for firewood in the villages, others don’t meet in the middle but the most common bridge just has the iron tracks and NOTHING else.

Can you imagine a truck carrying a drum of diesel, timber, food and many passengers trying to wield that amount of cargo and at the same keeping on the iron tracks? One false move and all land in the river. No wonder some passengers feign sleep when things become too hairy!

Rivers are often in flood so it is not advisable to cross when this is the situation. So we wait and wait and watch the passing parade of floating large trees, peoples’ humble abodes and dead animals including many snakes. Usually people bring food with them and watch with us until day break…on the first day and sometimes the second day.

At the end of a trip the truck is ready for a major overhaul. This often runs into thousands of Kina. A truck is the life line.

by Sr. Margaret Mary Crouch


June 2013: Paupa New Guinea – “Madonna of Hope”

The “Madonna of Hope” is the art work of Sr. Heather.We ask visitors to respect her art work.



Sr Heather Burke, Presentation Sister and artist, has painted a Madonna and Child in the context of  Papua New Guinea culture and has called her work Madonna of Hope.

“I choose to work from a photo, selected among many, of this particular woman because of the quiet, meditative serenity which pervades herself and her child. The child is very secure in his Mother’s embrace and the expression of the love between them is very evident. It seems to me, also, that her soft smile suggests confidence and hope for the future.”

Sr Heather added, “In the background of my work, Madonna of Hope, one of the branches forms a cross with another tree trunk, suggesting the reality of suffering to come in the life of Mary and her child, and in the lives of the people of Papua New Guinea especially the women”.

Sr Margaret Mary pbvm, upon her return to Australia after many years of living and working in Papua New Guinea, asked Heather to give her talent to creating this beautiful art work. The intention was that the painting would go to the Sisters in New Guinea to be an inspiration to them, as it would be closer to their hearts and their understanding in contrast to a western style Madonna.

“I hope all who dwell on this painting will find there the hope and serenity I tried to capture,” said Sr Heather.

Due to difficulties of transportation and concerns of deterioration of this art work in an equatorial climate, the original painting is now held in Wagga.  Printed copies will be sent to the Sisters in Papua New Guinea.

The “Madonna of Hope” is the art work of Sr. Heather and we ask visitors to respect her art work.

Sr Heather has 3 paintings on the online Art Gallery Giclee Canvas Prints. The Product ID for the “Madonna of Hope” is 3136 HB.
To order a copy of the “Madonna of Hope”, on printed on canvas or Fine Art paper, please click the following link:



March 2013: PNG Sister visits Nagle Centre in Sydney

Imelda Suyai, a Presentation Sister from PNG, is currently in Australia to attend a course at Marymount Mercy Centre, Castle Hill NSW. Imelda is the PNG Sister in charge of the Candidates. Prior to her commencement at Marymount, Imelda visited the Nagle Centre Family Care and Support Centre at Campbelltown. Imelda wrote of her experience…

I went with Sr Cecilia Wiltshire to visit The Nagle Centre to see where Sr Cecilia works and learn about the ministries there. I was very pleased to meet each person that works there and see how happy they are in their work. I could see they are very good people sharing their knowledge in helping the poor people who are really in need. As a Presentation Sister I was very touched by their great work and support. I pray for the Lord to bless them and their families. I thank them for the opportunity to meet the staff and learn about the ministries.

by Imelda Suyai pbvm


Feb 2013: PNG Sister reflects on her IPA Assembly experience

I was lucky to go with Antonia and Bernie to the International Presentation Association (IPA) Assembly in Newfoundland (Canada) in September 2012. It was my first time to leave PNG.

The gathering of over 70 sisters and associates came from many countries all over the world. The first day we had a ritual commemorating the arrival of the first four Irish sisters who sailed from Ireland to Newfoundland in 1833. It was a very significant day for us all, and Presentation history. I was affected emotionally as I listened to the letters of those early sisters who went from Galway to start the first Presentation community outside of Ireland. It helped all of us there to feel the spirit of unity in our Presentation family throughout the world.

I learnt a lot from hearing all the reports, plans and hopes from leaders and justice reps from so many countries, including our NGO Representative who works in the UN in New York.

On the way home I stayed in Port Moresby for a month with Sr Mary McCarthy. One of my activities there was to help each week at the Cheshire Home which takes care of 22 very badly disabled people. It was a challenging experience for me, especially the first day, because the residents are not able to help themselves but have carers who bath, clothe and feed them every day. I felt Nano would be glad that I had this time at this place. I wish we had a Cheshire Home in Aitape.

by Lawrencia


Feb 2013: Novices welcomed in PNG

Clemencia Wasu, Judith Yerim and I said goodbye to the Candidates’ House on 13 October 2012 and moved to the Novitiate. Srs Imelda and Francesca (and Tasin our wasman – watchdog) took us across the bridge to the Novitiate where Srs Regina G and Marion welcomed us to our new community.

The first week we settled in and prepared for our Reception paraliturgy on 20 October. We were received as Novices on Mission Sunday. Sr Antonia questioned us about our desire to enter the Novitiate and our willingness to be fully part of the Novitiate program. Sr Francesca had made our new uniforms. Sr Felicity blessed them then Sr Fran presented them to us. Then Sr Antonia presented us with the PNG Presentation Constitutions.


We changed into our uniforms (for Sunday Mass and special occasions) and we did a role play about Jesus calling four of the apostles who were fishermen. We shared our special symbols with everyone there in the chapel, then after the blessing we enjoyed some light refreshments.

By Maria Kauge


As Novices, Clemencia, Judith and Maria will spend time in study and prayer to learn more about themselves, the community, the charism of Nano Nagle and their relationship with Jesus. At the end of the two year novitiate, they can choose to take the next step of commitment and make temporary vows. We pray for these women during this time.


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