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Canonical Visit to the Province of Vlaanderen (Brs)

The canonical visit to Flanders took place March 21 through 30. Camille Sapu and Felipe F. Lazcano, the ones doing the visit had already begun their visit when they went to see Angelo Marcandella,  who lives in Castell’Arquato (Piacenza) and is the last brother of the Province in Italy.

The visits got underway after meeting with the government. Actually there are thirty members, eight in nursing homes, ten living alone “outside the walls,” one in the vice province of Columbia and one in a special situation. In fact, Louvain is the only local community, given that the houses of Aarschot and Kortrijk closed recently.

The visitors encouraged the community not to lose spirit and to continue to be sscc religious to the end. They made different proposals to maintain and even increase the communal aspect of the group in Louvain and in the remainder of the Province. Likewise, they encouraged all to follow through on the pastoral activities in which they are presently engaged.

The Province is in dialog with the Catholic University of Louvain (KUL) to come to an agreement about the future of the Congregational effects, including the chapel and crypt where St. Damien is buried, and on the continuity of the inspiration and spirituality of Damien. What is desirable for the future is that the brothers and the University maintain the present work and even increase it as much as possible. Once the presence of the Congregation will have passed,  the KUL will be responsible to carry on the work. The Province understands that this is the most adequate way to give permanence to the figure of Damien.

During the visit,  the conversation with the brothers revolved around the question, given the present circumstances,  of the most suitable structure for the group. The proposal of the General Government  is to become a delegation.

At the final assembly of the canonical visit, Gilbert van Decker in the name of the Province thanked the visitors for the service that they had rendered.