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    Amand Heirman

    Amand Heirman

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    Amand Heirman (1862-1900). A CICM Martyr

    Chang Wen Chao Petrus

    Amand Heirman was born on October 24, 1862, in Berlare, Belgium. He was one of the seven children of Petrus Heirman and Maria Blanqaert. After finishing his humanities at the college of Eeklo and his philosophy at the Minor Seminary of Sint-Niklaas, he entered the CICM in 1883. He was ordained a priest on June 20, 1886 and pronounced his first vows on February 5, 1888. The following day he departed for China.

    For about ten years, he was ac­tive in Central Mongolia, which had about seven million inhabi­tants of which five million were Han Chinese and the rest Mongols. He founded the mis­sion of Ho-t’eou-wa (or P’ing-ti-nobo). In 1892-93, a severe famine ravaged the whole region. He was appointed Provincial Su­perior of Central Mongolia. At the beginning of 1898, he left for Belgium to attend the first Gene­ral Chapter of the Congregation, which would open on May 23.

    He remained in Belgium for some months to recover and rest. In 1899, he returned to Central Mongolia. He was assigned to work in the district of Tai-Hai (Daihai), where Jan Mallet was also active. During the months of June and July 1900, two attacks by the Boxers were repelled. In a letter of August 4, 1900, he wrote that he was preparing himself for death every day, especially now that the civil authorities had de­cided to expel all Europeans.

    As I wrote in the short biography of Jan Mallet that Armand Heirman and Jan Mallet were deceived by the mandarins. “Their guards first take them to Ning-yüan (Ningyuan) and later to Kuei-hua-ch’eng (Guihuacheng), where the Prefect received them in a friendly manner. But later on, leaving town, they were beaten to death by the soldiers”[1] on August 13, 1900.

    In the Elenchus Defunctorum of 2015, I read that the place of their martyrdom is Ning-Yüan-T’ing. In his article (see footnote 1), Daniel Verhelst does not state clearly where they were mar­tyred. Father Jeroom Heyndrickx writes that the place of their martyrdom is Ninyuanting,[2] which, I suppose, is the same place as found in the Elenchus Defunctorum of 2015. Whatever the name of the place of their martyrdom, their names are written in the Book of Life. They were faithful servants of God’s Reign. We hope that one day they will be added to the long list of saints who have walked in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ one day.


    André De Bleeker, cicm

    General Archivist

    [1] Daniel Verhelst, “Further Developments in China,” in Daniel Verhelst and Nestor Pycke, eds. C.I.C.M. Missionaries, Past and Present 1862-1987. History of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scheut/Missionhurst). Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1995, p. 90. See also Kamiel Crabbe, “Onze Martelaren”, in Missiën van Scheut, no. 6, juni 1950, p. 133.

    [2] Jeroom Heyndrickx, The Spirituality of Theofiel Verbist. Leuven : Ferdinand Verbiest Institute KU Leuven, 2018, p. 13.