TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Father Maurice Poinsot, commonly known by Taiwanese people as Pan Shi-guang (潘世光), who died in March at the age of 86, was commended by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday for his decades-long dedication to the Amis indigenous communities of Hualien County.
On behalf of the president, Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod handed the certificate of commendation to Father Poinsot’s successor, Father Lin Xing-liang (林信良), who took over the parish duties after the death of Father Poinsot.
“Father Poinsot called Hualien his home and the Amis people his family,” said Icyang, adding that he had made tremendous contributions to the Amis villages and people in Hualien, helping them to improve education, health, and economic conditions while also working to preserve the Amis culture.
Born in 1932 in France, Father Poinsot came to Taiwan at the age of 27. For over four decades, he had served at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Hualien’s Yuli Township, where several Amis villages are scattered in the mountains.
Before transport was well developed and when access to healthcare was limited, Poinsot as a young priest used to ride a scooter in the mountainous areas to attend to villagers’ needs. He established a health station where basic medical care was provided to local communities.
Ha also founded a kindergarten to provide access of education to children and helped organize the first credit cooperative to promote the habit of saving.
In addition, Father Poinsot spent 40 years studying and researching the Amis language. He later compiled an Amis-French dictionary with fellow French Father Louis Pourrias. The dictionary became an important reference for academic studies of the Amis language.
Father Poinsot was naturalized as a Taiwanese citizen, and received his first national identity card last September. In March, however, he died of lung cancer.
▶︎ Father Maurice Poinsot, or known by Taiwanese people as Pan Shi-guang (潘世光) (1932~2018) (Source: CNA)