Letters to Mary: A Missionary Writes Home from New Guinea, 1959-1963

Letters to Mary: A Missionary Writes Home from New Guinea, 1959-1963

by Pamela Shaffer


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Product description...

New Guinea Missionary Writes to His Sister, 1959–63

The letters of Monsignor Firmin M. Schmidt are a firsthand account of the experiences of an administrator of a Capuchin Franciscan mission in the early 1960s. Written almost sixty years ago to Mary C. Schmidt, his sister, the letters offer a singular perspective regarding missionary work in the New Guinea Highlands. Letters to Mary: A Missionary Writes Home from New Guinea, 1959–1963 presents a selection of fifty-five of the many letters he wrote to Mary. Having served as a priest of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), Capuchin, Fr. Firmin M. Schmidt was ordained a Monsignor and appointed the head of the Capuchin Franciscan Mission in Papua New Guinea in 1959, spending thirty-six years administering the Mission. The Papuan Highlands were among the last places on earth to be subject to the influences of Europeans, with parts opened up by Australians only after World War II. The letters provide information about the numerous challenges facing the head of a Catholic mission in the Highlands, including staffing, travel in mountainous terrain to outstations, being accessible only by air, etc. The letters also tell about his new experiences with the Papuans, including details about their culture. In addition to the letters, the book provides an introduction that tells of Msgr. Firmin’s family background and education. In addition, three appendices follow the letters: an account of the founding of the Capuchin Franciscan Mission in Papua, anthropological information about the culture of the Papuans, and a brief history of European contact/colonization in Papua.

Product details...

Format: 6 x 9 Color Dust-Jacketed Hardback, 259 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Jan 06, 2021)
ISBN10: 1977232752
ISBN13: 9781977232755

Author Information...

Bishop Firmin Schmidt’s niece, Pamela Shaffer, earned MA and PhD degrees from the University of Arkansas, specializing in Medieval Literature and Linguistics in her PhD work. She taught English Literature and Language at Fort Hays State University for thirty-six years and retired from her position as Professor in 2013.
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