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    Joseph Jules Dewaele

    Joseph Jules Dewaele

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallJoseph Jules Dewaele (1924-2021)

     

    Born in Wargem, West Flanders (B) on March 19, 1924
    First Vows on September 8, 1944
    Ordained Priest on July 31, 1949
    Missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo and United States of America
    Died in Arlington, USA
    on March 9, 2021 at the age of 96


    Joseph’s mother, Clara Himpe Dewaele, had an aunt who was a missionary in the Philippines. She strongly encouraged Joseph to become a CICM missionary. He decided to enter the Congregation. After his ordination, he studied Psychology for one year in Louvain, Belgium. In 1951 he was assigned to what was then known as the

    Belgian Congo. He was appointed Director of mission schools which required a great deal of travel, to review the performance of the schools in the countryside. His duties entailed recalling or appointing principals to these schools.

    In the process of fulfilling his tasks, he learned the Ciluba language. He lived throughout the political and social chaos the country endured immediately after independence. He eventually returned to Belgium, where the Superior General offered him the opportunity to teach in a newly formed center of education. Finally, he left Belgium and was assigned to teach at Archbishop Wood High School in Philadelphia. There he taught French for 6–7 years, becoming the Director of the foreign language department. After Philadelphia, he went to Oxnard, California as Pastor. From there he went to Texas as Pastor of a local church.

    A few years later, he was assigned to work with a local diocesan priest in New Haven, Connecticut. There he thrived, cultivating wonderful relationships with the local clergy and parishioners. Being a highly cultured person, he flourished there, going often to New York City to attend concerts, operas and plays on Broadway. He enjoyed the New York cultural scene.

    He retired at Dominion House in Missionhurst. Although Joseph was a man of great intelligence and cultural interests, he never forgot his rural Flemish roots, and was always proud of his father’s prosperous farm. Despite his acquired sophistication, at heart, he was always a farmer’s son and loved his family dearly. May Joseph rest in the Mercy of God. 

    Ricardo Terga, CICM




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