The Catholic Church in East Timor has been at the heart of the humanitarian operations in the wake of the country's political crises and ethnic violence. Sister Guilhermina’s story of bravery and outstanding service to the people is one of many.
When people fled violence, looting and arson attacks between April and June 2006, they sought shelter in a convent run by the Canossian Sisters. More than 8,000 people were formally registered at the site, but convent head Sister Guilhermina Marcal said the number swelled to up to 13,000 at night.
Sister Guilhermina visited New Zealand to brief NZ Parliamentarians in 2007 telling them that Security was still the most pressing problem for Timor-Leste. She and other convent nuns ran the camp by themselves for the first four months. Sister Guilhermina said the convent camp had problems with malaria, dengue fever, and diarrhea. She also said 1 in 7 of the IDP's in her camp had HIV or AIDS.
She was appointed in 2010 to the Commission for the Timorese National Police (PNTL) Promotion by the East Timor State Secretary for the Council of Ministers.