2022-05-25 EAST TIMOR

Marist Teachers’ College in Bacau give a farewell ceremony for one its founders

Over four hundred members of the Marist Teachers’ College in Bacau (East Timor) gathered on May 7 to held a farewell ceremony in honour of Margie Beck, College’s Vice-Director for over the past twenty years, having arrived to Timor-Leste in 2002 at the invitation of the founding Director, Br Mark Paul.  Margie now prepares to return to Australia. She leaves behind an impressive legacy which saw her awarded an Order of Australia in October 2020, presented by Australia’s Ambassador to Timor, Peter Roberts, she has co-authored several books about education in Timor-Leste, written in journals published in Hong Kong, and she has prepared 16 graduation ceremonies for over 800 students.

Along with Br Mark Paul, Br Tony d’Arbon and his colleagues from ACU, Margie, lay Marist, was one of the firts who assisted in the creation and establishment of the Catholic Teachers College in Bacau. It was officially opened in October 2003, in the presence of the local Bishop, Bishop Don Basilio do Nascimento, President, Xanana Gusmão, and Prime Minister, Mari Alkateri, and given the Portuguese title of ‘Instituto Católico para a Formação de Professores’ – although people, then and now, often refer to it simply as ‘Marista’.

Farewell ceremony

Following the opening prayer by Padre Avelino Lemos, the Director of Catholic Education of the Diocese of Baucau, and representative of the Administrator of the Diocese, Padre Alipio Pinto Gusmão, Br Peter Corr, the President of the Marist Foundation and Marist Community Leader, gave the welcoming address and focussed on Margie’s great commitment to the Marist mission in Timor.

Br Paul Gilchrist, Director of the Institute, then spoke on behalf of the staff and students and talked about Margie’s incredible generosity and kindness to people. Besides her considerable input into the academic life of the Institute, Margie has also been the in-house medical officer, hospitality coordinator, and social worker.

After thanking everyone for their affection Margie also expressed her great satisfaction at being at the forefront of the Marist Mission to Timor-Leste, which started when the first Brothers arrived in Baucau, just four months after Independence, in September 2002.

“Loyal deputy to four Directors, Br Mark Paul, Br Fons Van Rooij, Br Peter Corr and Br Paul Gilchrist, Margie has very much been the cornerstone from which the Institute has been built. We congratulate and thank Margie for all that she has given to the Institute and to the Marist Mission. Our best wishes and gratitude go with her”, said Br Paul Gilchrist.


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