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51 years of service in PNG


“I will miss Papua New Guinea,” said Sr Raymond Von Tils, MSC as she prepared to board her flight to return back to her native country, Germany. Sr Raymond has spent 51 years in Papua New Guinea, the majority of which was spent in Rabaul. 


Christened Anna Elisabeth Katarina Vontils, she was born on 9th April 1940 at Steden Jetzt Holste in a small village in North Germany. She is the eldest of ten children in her family. She completed her schooling and qualified herself in dentistry. While in school, she heard about the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was inspired by their work in faraway mission lands in Oceania. At the age of 21 in 1961, she joined the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


It was in 1968 that she was appointed to Papua New Guinea as a Dental Technician was needed in the Dentistry in Vunapope Hospital, East New Britain Province. Sr. Raymond spent 12 years in the dentistry working with the young women in the hospital known as Nursing Aids as they did not have any training at the time. According to Sr Raymond, it was the start of training of professional Nursing Aids which has now developed in the Community Health Worker Training Centre that is based in Lemakot, New Ireland Province. She then went on to handle the finances of the MSC Sisters in the province. Having no experience in the field, she managed to do some studies by correspondence through Australia. 


“This would not mean a job behind a desk in the office with paperwork,” said Sr Raymond. She added that part of her responsibility and duty was attending to the needs of the Sisters and staff in the outstations. For 10 years, she worked in the office in Rabaul then 3 years in Gerehu, Port Moresby and went on to spend another 6 years in Vunapope. 


With all her experience in the different fields, Sr Raymond was then asked to start a new community station in Gerehu in 1978 as the community leader. Joining her at that time were three PNG sisters. Then in 1986, she was appointed to start a new station in Lorengau, Manus Province. Unfortunately, the work in Manus lasted for only a year. 


“My time and ministry work here in Papua New Guinea was interesting and challenging. I enjoyed working with the young ladies and interacting with them. I developed a close relationship with businesses, friends and people I met. I return home thanking God for the years of ministry, the enjoyable experience I have had and the many people I have interacted with in Papua New Guinea,” said Sr. Raymond.


Sr Raymond and Sr Mechthild Schnieder MSC, Provincial of the German province left Port Moresby on 16th December carrying with them their bilums filled with fond memories of the wonderful years in Papua New Guinea.

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