† Fr. Joseph HENDRIKS sscc (Hawaii)
On 3 November 2008, at the age of eighty-six, our beloved brother,
Fr. Joseph Hendriks, ss.cc. passed unto the Lord at St. Patrick Monastery, Honolulu, Hawaii in the early hours of the morning. He was so grateful for the prayers and well wishes as conveyed to him by Father Provincial who visited him on Sunday afternoon.
Father Hendriks was born in Overpelt, Belgium on April 14, 1922. His parents were Joseph Hendriks and Maria Henrica Philippe. Hendriks attended a diocesan high school and graduated from St. Hubertus College, Neerpelt in 1941.
His fond recollection of those years was the war that began on May 10, 1940. He left for France but after seventeen days the war ended and he was able to return home to complete his college courses.
His family received the monthly magazine entitled “St. Joseph” in which he read with enthusiasm the articles about Father Damien and the missions in the Congo. Father said that this was his first contact with the Sacred Hearts Congregation. He recalled that on May 6, 1936, he wanted but was unable to go to Antwerp to witness the arrival of Father Damien’s remains.
During his senior year in college, Father wrote to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in Tremelo and was invited to make a visitation. He said he fell in love at first sight and entered on Septemer 5, 1941 and has been happy ever since. Two Sacred Hearts Fathers, George Delepelaere and Henri Systermans were a great influence and positive example for him.
Father made his first vows at Tremelo on September 15, 1942. He was ordained in Zandhoven, Belgium on March 13, 1948. He was overly excited when he was given his obedience to Hawaii and arrived in Honolulu on July 23, 1949. His first assignment was to St. Joseph Church, Waipahu. Two years later, he was assigned to Sacred Hearts Novitiate, Hauula, as a teacher. A year later, Father Hendriks returned to parochial ministry and was assigned to parishes on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Kalaupapa, Molokai.
Father said that some of the exciting things that he experienced as a priest in Hawaii were: prison ministry at Kalihi; a suicide on his bed in Paia, Maui; the Damien Museum at St. Patrick Church, Honolulu on November 11, 1977; and the forthcoming canonization of Blessed Damien. He also attended the Priests retreat in Steubenville, Ohio and was deeply touched that he felt he had become “mildly” charismatic!
The Province of Hawaii is deeply grateful for Father Hendriks’ hobby of collecting memorial cards of deceased priests and religious who died in Hawaii and placed them in albums that are now in the province’s archives. His first card was of Father Maximin Alff who died in 1923 and the last will be his very own.
Funeral services are being handled by Borthwick Mortuary and the date is pending at this time.
Eternal rest grant unto your servant, Joseph Hendriks, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him forever.