Petrus Donders archives added to Unesco MOWLAC Register
The archives of Father Petrus Donders was officially added to the Unesco MOWLAC Register in October. Reports indicate that 14 meters of archives from the canonized Donders consisted of documents and letters that had been written by hand and books. This recognition will put Suriname on the map and will also give greater publicity to the charity work that Father Donders did among the lepers in Suriname.
The Bishop of Paramaribo, Karel Choennie, on Wednesday received the certificate that indicates that the Archives of Father Petrus Donders have been added to the Unesco MOWLAC Register. The certificate was given to him by Rita Tjien FoohHardjomohamad, chairman of the Regional Committee Unesco Memory of the World for Latin America and the Caribbean. Choennie pointed out that this recognition is also very special to the Roman Catholic community and the diocese in Suriname.
According to Bishop Choennie, Father Donder’s collection will be stored safely in the archives of the Roman Catholic Diocese Paramaribo. Reports indicate that officials of the National Archives Bureau gave the Diocese the green light to store the archives in their facility. Bishop Choennie explained that the next step is to digitize the entire collection of Father Donders. Most of the documents are currently fragile. The digitization of the collection will make it easier for the public to gain access to it and will also make it easier for the Diocese to safely store the collection for much longer.
Father Petrus Donders was a Roman Catholic priest who lived from 1809 until 1887. From 1867 to 1887 he lived and worked at Batavia which was a shelter for lepers located along the Coppename River. Petrus Donders had lived and worked among the nation’s lepers at Batavia for 27 years.