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Celebration of 125 years of the congregation's mission in the Netherlands

On Friday 24 September in the Damien Centre in Sint Oedenrode (North Brabant) on a warm autumn day the 125th anniversary of the presence of the congregation in the Netherlands was formally celebrated. The celebration commemorated the arrival of the Belgian Father Wilhelm de Boeck with a handful of 9 Dutch pupils from the Damien Institute (apostolic school) in Arschot to the school in Grave on 11 June 1896. This marked the beginning of a missionary adventure for the congregation that was to take place in the Netherlands and beyond: Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, Cook Islands, Mozambique, Zambia.

In attendance were four brothers from the Teteringen community, three of the sscc sisters from Nuland, Martin Königstein (provincial) and Erich Britscho from the German province, and Jef Tips (superior of  the Flanders delegation) and Ferry Indrianto. Alumni of the schools of the congregation, especially the apostolic school of Sint Oedenrode (1923), former brothers of the congregation and their wives, members of the secular branch sscc were also present.  Alberto Toutin and Derek Laverty came on behalf of the General Government. 

In his words of welcome, Jan Wouters spoke with gratitude of the mission of the brothers of the congregation, their dedication to mission in so many different places and of their reflective accompaniment, with brothers who had dedicated themselves to missiology and the history of the missions.  On behalf of those present, Jan Wouters was presented with a candle embossed with a Sacred Hearts logo which he then lit.

There then followed a moment of prayer led by Theo Van Zoggel who on this day was also celebrating 65 years of religious profession.

This was followed by songs led by a group called Cohda Krek from the local area of North Brabant after which there was time for lunch.

In the afternoon, Jan Wouters took us on a journey through pictures of the 125 years of the Congregation's mission. After that there was the possibility to visit some of the rooms of the former Damien Sint Oedenrode Minor Seminary. Today this building houses the Damien Centre which is a place for people in social or psychological difficulty and other associations that are responsible for helping with the rehabilitation of people with addictions (drugs, alcohol).

For his part, the Superior General invited all present to see this feast as part of a long history which precedes us and which will survive us, wherever we continue to recognise God's action and to collaborate with it, as in the footsteps of Damien, Eustaquio and so many others. Available to God’s action, the Lord will help us to keep our candles burning.

Photo gallery in this link: https://cutt.ly/YExF7M7