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    Our dear departed

    Gerard van Beers

    Gerard van Beers

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallGerard van Beers (1927-2020)

    Born in Vught (NL), December 14, 1927

    First vows on September 8, 1948

    Ordained a priest on August 2, 1953

    Missionary in Brazil and the Netherlands

    Died in Breda (NL) on 16 April 2020

    at the age of 92.

    Gerard van Beers was born and raised in Vught, where his father was sacristan in the “big” church. As Gerard liked to relate often, the newborn baby Gerard was carried to church by his father in a basket (like Moses' wicker basket), and at his baptism he was given the name of Gerard with whom he lived and with which we knew him.

    From a young age Gerard was allowed to help his father in church, and so the desire to become a priest grew in him. His uncle among the Norbertines would have liked to send him in that direction, but Gerard preferred to go to Sparrendaal. Becoming a missionary was his goal in life. After his studies and ordination, most of his classmates left for the mission, but Gerard was appointed tutor at the missionary college. He carried out this task with great enthusiasm for several years. He looked after the choir, was a leader in scouting, and led the manual labor.   
    However, when the college was recognized by the state, only qualified teachers were eligible to teach and its activities no longer corresponded to the curriculum. It was time to leave for the mission. However, during his examination he received a negative opinion and, as he himself says, he was not "fit for the tropics". Leaving for the mission was therefore not an option. Fortunately, the Dongen brothers were looking for a teacher and spiritual guide for their schools for mentally handicapped children. Gérard started working there with great enthusiasm. In that capacity, Gerard did a wonderful job.

    Gerard also liked to tell about his countless pilgrimages to Lourdes. This often included a visit to Nevers, where Bernadette lived and died. This marked Gerard more than Lourdes itself. Gerard died on April 16, feast of Blessed Bernadette of Lourdes.
    He retired to Teteringen five years ago. It was about time because his memory was starting to fail. He lost his way when cycling around Teteringen. But there were always confreres or nice people who brought him safely home. Gerard was a nice man who didn't bother anyone. He appreciated the loving care and attention of confreres and staff.

    However, our quarantine due to COVID-19 was too much for Gerard. He became completely confused and, to make matters worse, he had a stroke that caused him to fall repeatedly. On April 16, he passed away peacefully at Amphia Hospital in Breda.
    May he rest in peace. ■  by Joep van Gaalen