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    Our dear departed

    Piet Coppens

    Piet Coppens

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallPiet Coppens (1927-2020)

    Born in Dinteloord (NL) on May 5, 1927
    First vows on September 8, 1948
    Ordained Priest on August 2, 1953
    Missionary in the Netherlands
    Died in Teteringen (NL) on October 26, 2020 at the age of 93.

    Piet was born in Dinteloord, West Brabant, where he cultivated a love for nature. Due to an unfortunate inci­dent, Piet lost the sight of his right eye. This eye continued to bother him for the rest of his life.
    Piet experienced the CICM mis­sionary life when he came to Sparrendaal in 1954 for a few years as a biology teacher. From 1957 to 1962, while studying at the University of Utrecht for a master's degree in biology, he taught biology to the “Msgr. Hamerhuis” philosophy stu­dents in Nijmegen. After completing his master's degree in biology, Piet be­came a full-time professor at the Mis­sion College in Sparrendaal (1962-1970).  When the Mission College closed its doors in 1970, he became a biology professor at Maurick College in Vught until 1986.
    He then became rector of the CICM community in Sparrendaal for priests and brothers (1986-1992) and the first director of the house for elderly religious in Sparrendaal (1992-1997). He also had time to devote his energy to his beloved garden. Every day, until an advanced age, you could find him in the garden or his greenhouse.
    Even though Piet had a hectic life as a scientist and teacher, he remained above all a Scheut missionary. For years he offered Sunday assistance to several neighboring parishes. And what about his missionary calling, which motivated him to join the Con­gregation of the Missionaries of Scheut in 1947? He spoke about it during the celebration of his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination in 2013: “I wanted to be a missionary. I wanted to go to China like Father Marinus van Heyst, a brother of my aunt. Circumstances changed my life a lot. But oh, that was apparently my path. It's good that way”.
    Piet, towards the end, at first had some difficulties to grow old, but fi­nally died as a satisfied man in his room in Park Zuiderhout in Teteringen. ■

    Herman Kronenberg