Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Image of Bl Peter Donders discovered

The Brabants Dagblad of 26 May, 2009, reports the discovery of an interesting photograph of Blessed Peter Donders in Tilburg, Holland. The image was discovered by the project "Born in 1809". The rare card and picture come from a collection belonging to an 80 year old resident of Amsterdam, Mr Lau Trompenaars, who has collected around 1.4 Million memorial cards (!). A better version of the card may be viewed, and the original report found, by clicking here.

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Friday, 14 August 2009

Rev. Fr Theophile Couvreur, C.SS.R. (1863-1939)

Father was born at Cuesmes on 14 July 1863, professed as a Redemptorist in 1881 and ordained to the priesthood in 1889.

For all those who knew him, the venerated priest would always be "the good Fr Couvreur." His goodness, consist-ing at one and the same time of natural cordiality and super-natural charity, mani-fested itself in his priestly life of ceaseless devotion during half a century.

He was devoted to the hard work of the Parish Missions and retreats as well as to persons of every condition, priests, religious, pious souls who were placed in great numbers under his direction. His solicitude extended also not only to the works and associations which he directed with such success but also to the Foreign Missions confided to the Redemptorist Belgian Province and of which he was for many years the procurator (that is he provided from Belgium for the physical needs of the Missions in the Congo, Canada, West Indies etc.)

To the merits he amassed over nearly sixty years of religious life, Fr Couvreur could add those of his great physical sufferings which permitted him to live the doctrine of union with the Victim Jesus, the proffered theme of his ascetic teaching.

He died at the Monastery of Brussels on 13 September, 1939 and his memory was held in honour by his confreres and the faithful who had lived under the influence of his exemplary piety and his comforting kindness. †
(From Father's mortuary card.)

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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Rev Fr Maurice de Meulemeester, C.SS.R. (1879-1961)

Father de Meulemeester, who may be noted as a Necrologist par excellence, was born at Ghent, Flanders, on 30 June 1879. He was ordained to the diocesan priesthood in 1902 but quickly entered the Redemptorists and was professed in 1906. He soon became a professor of Church History and later General Archivist and director of the Redemptorist Historical Institute. He was also Provincial Archivist of the Belgium Province and director of the Redemptorist Oblates.

Father was a priest of great quality and a first class religious. After brilliant studies in Ghent and his ordination, he was private tutor to the Ghellinck Vaernewyck family who retained a devoted attachment to him until the end of his days, something he found a precious comfort.

Father de Meulemeester distinguished himself by an incessant spirit of work. Until his final days he was always glued to his desk where he composed a great number of biographies and histories of various religious congregations

As Archivist General he was very competent and composed a book on the origins of the Redemptorists and a monumental "General Bibliography of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer." He also produced a very large number of choice articles for various historical reviews. The characteristic value of these studies was their objectivity. Father maintained an intransigent cult of the truth. He took for himself, and admitted also, no liberties with his subject. He sacrificed all to the truth and reserved no monopoly of truth to himself. He respected the historical opinions of others but he disclosed to no one his personal opinion neither would he let it be betrayed for any motive.

He was much focused on God. Of a very delicate conscience he lived through some painful spiritual periods but in the evening of his life he found great peace – the reward of the soul who had never doubted the infinite goodness of Our Lord.

He loved to immerse himself in prayer and had a marked taste for the contemplative life. All this, rather than stilting his active apostolate – which he exercised by many and long years of preaching – rather deepened and supernaturalized them. An example here would be his book "O My God, Trinity Whom I Adore," an admirable commentary on the prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Very attached to the traditions of his Order, he was most fervent at his Mass and Breviary, while cultivating a deep filial piety towards Our Blessed Lady. He desired to die on a day consecrated to Her, and it was indeed on a Saturday the She came to "pick" him for the Heavenly Garden while the Magnificat was being recited around his deathbed. This occurred at the Institute of Our Lady of the Presentation in Beveren (Wavre), Belgium on 15 April 1961. †
(After a memorial card)

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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Rev Fr Louis Gallis, C.SS.R. (1822-1886)

Father Gallis was born at Antwerp, Flanders on 21 November, 1822. He was ordained to the secular priesthood in Malines on 6 June, 1862, and became a professor at the Minor Seminary of Hoogstraten. He was professed as a Redemptorist on 15 October 1853.

Father's apostolate was fertile, laborious and indefatigable. For 31 years his voice resounded throughout all of Flemish Belgium. God gave him remarkable apostolic gifts, a vibrant and sonorous voice, a popular style, courage in the face of difficulties and a great goodness towards poor sinners.

The edifying example of the Holy Family Confraternity in St Trond was his work. He was both the example and the joy of his confreres through his religious virtues. He died on the "battle-field" on 12 March 1886 in the Antwerp Monastery on the first day of the Mission. Death did not frighten him. He was prepared. He was buried at Hoboken.

"May his works praise him amidst the assemblies of the people." †

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Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Deacon Jozef Dupont, C.SS.R. (1893-1916)

Deacon Jozef Dupont was born at Antwerp, Flanders, on 31 January, 1893. He was professed as a Redemptorist on 29 September 1913. He died on the battlefield where he, like so many Flemish Redemptorists, served as a stretcher-bearer in World War I, on 20 December 1916. The beautiful image we reproduce here is from his mortuary card and represents him in his habit with the Red Cross arm-band. †

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Sunday, 2 August 2009

Deacon Maurice Hucq, C.SS.R. (1889-1917)

Deacon Maurice Hucq was born at Hingeon, near Brussels, Belgium, on 26 October 1889. He made his profession on 9 September 1907, and was ordained sub-deacon and deacon on 18 and 19 September 1915. He appeared to have been chosen for a spiritual career rich in benefits for the salvation of souls if one considers his gifts of mind and soul. Death came to cut off his work at its beginnings.

His soul, transported by a loving admiration for the Good and Beautiful, was entirely directed towards higher causes. As deacon he aspired to the priesthood in order to consecrate himself to bringing back to the Ark of the Catholic Church all the disunited.

As a Redemptorist he cherished the Redemptorist Congregation as his Mother and had at heart its beauty and grandeur, and even a prolonged absence from regularity (in the army) did nothing to cool his affection.

As a Belgian he loved his Fatherland to the point of signing up in the service of the wounded as a stretcher-bearer, without recoiling from even the sacrifice of his life. Jesus and Mary hastened to call unto themselves this faithful servant in order to crown him with the crown of perseverance.

Always held in tender affection by his family and well loved by his confreres, he left as his heritage his great and ardent aspirations and the example of his dedication to those noble causes so worthy of a magnanimous religious.

He was killed on the battlefield on Saturday, 1st December 1917 and buried at Hoogstade on 3 December. †

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