Thursday, 21 October 2010

Rev. Br Joseph Van Hoeydonck, C.SS.R. (1870-1898)

Professed Student of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Born in Donck (Province of Anvers) on 4th September 1870. Died 31st August 1898
‘Loved by God and by men, his memory is a blessing’ (Eccl 45) RIP

Joseph Constant Van Hoeydonck, learnt early in the stories of the Saints the solid maxims of true sanctity. Innocence, mortification, piety, such is the faithful resume of his first years. The rest of his life was the echo also of saintly premises. At hardly 14 years old, he was profoundly touched by the grace of a Mission and understood the light of faith, that God had called him to the Religious life. Faithful to respond to the voice on high, he struggled with energy and constancy against the numerous obstacles, which opposed the realisation of his design. His firmness carried him on and on the day of the Nativity of Our Lady 1887 he reached the portals of the Monastery of St. Trond. A fervent Noviciate was the fruit of his first enthusiasm. On Easter Sunday 1890, he made his Religious oblation with generosity and unmistakable consolation. The Lord accepted his sacrifice, but soon asked of him the full and entire consummation. In effect he sent the young Religious a long and painful illness. It’s that which illuminated his virtues above all. In the midst of the most excruciating pains, he always showed an admirable patience. At the point of death, he pronounced his vows before all; at its approach, he could make the remarkable declaration which sufficed to raise St. John Berchmans to the Altars: - ‘Never have I voluntarily transgressed a single one of my Rules’.

Sweet Mary, whom the orphan at the tenderest age had chosen to take the place of his mother, did not abandon him at the supreme hour. Just as one of Confreres was astonished at his request for ‘the Magnificat’, the Queen of Heaven appeared to him, consoled him and undoubtedly came to invite him to follow her to Paradise, because a few moments later he bowed his head and slept peacefully in the Lord. It was on Saturday August 31st August 1898. †

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