Community Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Henck Arronstraat 74
Our community is serving in the Diocese of Paramaribo
Our mission in Suriname started on November 13, 2010, together with the celebration of the re-opening of the cathedral that was closed for nearly 22 years.
Suriname is situated between French Guiana to the east and Guyana to the west. The southern border is shared with Brazil and the northern border is the Atlantic coast. With only 165,000 square kilometers, it is the smallest sovereign country in South America. Suriname is a former Dutch colony that gained its independence peacefully on November 25, 1975.
Lying 2 to 5 degrees north of the equator, Suriname has a very hot and wet tropical climate, and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. Its average temperature ranges from 29 to 34 degrees Celsius (84 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit). Due to the high humidity, actual temperatures are distorted and may therefore feel up to 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the recorded temperature. The year has two wet seasons, from April to August and from November to February. It also has two dry seasons, from August to November and February to April.
Suriname’s religious makeup is heterogeneous and reflective of the country’s multicultural character. According to the 2012 census, 48.4% were Christians; 26.7% were Protestants (11.18% Pentecostal, 11.16% Moravian, and 4.4% of various other Protestant denominations) and 21.6% were Roman Catholics. Hindus formed the second-largest religious group in Suriname, comprising 22.3% of the population. Muslims constitute 13.9% of the population; they are largely of Javanese or Indian descent. Other religious groups include Winti (1.8%), an Afro-American religion practiced mostly by those of Maroon ancestry; Javanism (0.8%), a syncretic faith found among some Javanese Surinamese; and various indigenous folk traditions that are often incorporated into one of the larger religions (usually Christianity).
Dutch is the official language, and is the language of education, government, business, and the media. Over 60% of the population speaks Dutch as a mother tongue, and most of the rest speaks it as a second language. Suriname is the only Dutch-speaking country in South America as well as the only independent nation in the Americas where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population, and one of the two non-Romance-speaking countries in South America, the other being English-speaking Guyana.
Sranan Tongo, a local creole language originally spoken by the Creole population group, is the most widely used vernacular language in day-to-day life and business. It and Dutch are considered to be the two principal languages of Surinamese people; both are further influenced by other spoken languages. Sranan Tongo is often used interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting, where Dutch is seen as a prestige dialect and Sranan Tongo the common vernacular.
The population of Suriname is about 520,000. The national capital, Paramaribo, is by far the dominant urban area, accounting for nearly half of Suriname’s population and most of its urban residents; its population is greater than the next nine largest cities combined. Most municipalities are located within the capital’s metropolitan area, or along the densely populated coastline.
In 1865 the Redemptorist accepted the responsibilities from the Holy See of the Catholic Mission in Suriname. They laid the foundation of what would later be the Diocese of Paramaribo with the opening of schools, dorms, churches and mission posts in the interior of the country.
In the Cathedral that has now been raised to Basilica is the tomb of the Blessed Peter Donders, a redemptorist priest from Holland who worked for 27 years in a leper colony in Suriname.
The sisters’ apostolic works include:
Care of the girls in Maria Internaat (a girls dormitory)
Camps for boys and girls
Masses and apostolate with the
Spanish speaking community
Our Patroness | Our Lady of Perpetual Help
This title of Our Lady has been invoked for special aid since the 15th century alongside veneration of this image. Devotion spread among Roman Catholics through the Redemptorist priests, the same order that cultivated a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin in Suriname. The feast day of the image is celebrated on June 27.