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Timor-Leste Mission

br-carlitoThe Carmelite Friars have been in Timor-Leste (East Timor) since January 1999. Two friars from the Indonesian Province, Frs Gheta and Mandius, lived first with the Carmelite Sisters at Maubara about 60 kilometers from Dili. During the final stages of the struggle for independence they witnessed the suffering and hardship of the people and the destruction of the country. In 2000 Bishop Belo asked the Carmelites to go to Zumalai.

In January 2001, the Indonesian Carmelites asked the Australian Carmelites to take responsibility for the Timor-Leste mission and the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Zumalai. On 15 August 2001, the Australian Carmelites formally took responsibility for the Timor-Leste Mission.

20 years later, the Timor-Leste Mission is now firmly established with a formation program, a parish in Zumalai, and a community development program.

The Carmelite friars work closely with the Carmelite Sisters in providing pastoral care, health and education services and in community building.

Two Carmelite Centres - Dili & Zumalai


There are two main Carmelite centres in Timor-Leste. In Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste,

Titus Brandsma House in Fatuhada, a suburb in central Dili, serves as the mission centre and a transit house for Camrelites travelling to and fron the parish of Zumalai. As well as providing accommodation for Carmelites, there are rooms for Carmelite seminarians and for several Community Scholariship recipients from Zumalai.

At Hera, just outside Dili, the Saint Elijah community is the main formation house for young Carmelites in Timor-Leste. Here the novices and professed students live, work and study. The professed students preparing for ministry study at the Diocesan Seminary and other technical centres in Dili. The community has a library and a chapel.

In all, there are over 40 young Timorese Carmelites in formation.

Click here for further information on the Carmelites in Dili

The Parish of Zumalai

The Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Zumalai, is situated on the south coast of Timor-Leste, near the regional centre of Suai in Covalima Municipality. The parish comprises 8 villages, each of which have their own locally elected village chief and village council. The population is approximately 15,000 people and the median age in the community is 19.5 years old. The Carmelites visit each of the village centres to celebrate mass and the sacraments for the people. During the wet season it is only possible to visit some of the villages.

Connected to the Zumalai parish are three Catholic schools with over 500 students enrolled, and the Beato Tito Brandsma College boarding house which provides accommodation for 24 students each year from remote areas in Zumalai and throughout Timor-Leste.

Click here for further information about the Carmelites in Zumalai

Carmelite community development projects – Carmel Impact

After nearly 2 decades of consistent project work in Timor-Leste, The Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste established Carmel Impact in 2019, a charity organization dedicated to transforming lives and helping to build communities in East Timor – one of the poorest countries in the world. This work for change is achieved together with the help of supporters around the globe.

With a focus on education and youth, the aim is to create lasting, positive change in Timor-Leste. Carmel Impact is proud to build on the Carmelites’ legacy in the region, drawing on experience and a wealth of local knowledge. This long-term commitment has built strong relationships with local Timorese communities. Carmel Impact’s community building programs are designed to provide the people of Timor-Leste with the same fundamental human rights all people deserve.

Carmel Impact implements projects that are largely focused on the local rural communities in Zumalai and Hera. There are currently four key program areas:

  • Education = Freedom
  • Youth Engagement
  • Leadership for Change
  • Critical Emergency Response





Transforming Lives, Building Communities, Together

Carmelite Mission Support Groups

The Carmelites have established a number of support groups in Australia who are providing friendship and material support to help the people of Timor-Leste.

If you are interested in setting up a group to help the people of Timor-Leste, please use the link below.

For further information about the Carmelites in Timor-Leste, please contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
75 Wright Street
Middle Park Vic 3205

Telephone: (03) 9699 1922
Fax: (03) 9699 1944




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