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    André Broekaert

    André Broekaert

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    André Broekaert (1926-2021)Frederic Vital Mees small

     

    Born in Ronse (Belgium) on March 22, 1926.

    He was a missionary in Belgium and Japan.

    Died in Nibuno, Himeji (Japan) on October 19, 2021,

    at the age of 95.

     

    After his fourth year of theology, André earned two Licentiate degrees (in Political Science and Social Science) at the Catholic University of Leuven. He left for Japan in September 1953. As the mission in Japan was expanding rapidly during the post-war period, he did not have time to learn the local language. So, he immediately began working as a co-pastor in Himeji.

    He was the parish priest of the Sakai Church and chaplain of Sakai prison from 1958 to 1964. Despite his busy schedule, he accepted taking up responsibilities in the CICM Province of Japan as a member of the Provincial Council and as the vice Provincial.

    André served respectively as rector of our CICM community in Tokyo and as parish priest in Kakogawa from 1964 to 1969. During this time, he got acquainted with the “Movement for a Better World,” which inspired him to preach retreats wherein he tried to convey the ideas of the Second Vatican Council. André often used the following phrase in his retreats: “Love is not a simple feeling, but a decision.”

    André returned to Flanders and continued his missionary life from 1964 to 1977. At first, he became a collaborator of the Ongoing Formation team and then was appointed Provincial Superior of the CICM Province of Noordbelgische (NB) in 1971. It was a turbulent post-conciliar period. At the same time, the structural foundations of the CICM house in Scheut were shaking, which led to the demolition of the chapel in Scheut with its two iconic towers.

    Back in Japan, he was appointed parish priest in Sakai from 1977 to 1981. He was again appointed to the Provincial Council. And, for 30 years, he was a member of the Finance Commission. He lived and worked in Oriens Institute in Tokyo, first as Treasurer and then as Director, a position he combined with preaching retreats for confreres in the Far East from 1982 to 1989.

    André worked as the parish priest in three parishes in the Osaka area: Himesato, Kongo, and Senri New Town from 1989 to 2011. He was known to enjoy playing the card game “patience.” Towards the end of his life, he indeed had to exercise a lot of patience. In 2011, he retired to our residence in Nibuno. At the end of his life, he refused to be hospitalized and opted for home care.

    May he now enter the house of the Father. 

    Werner Lesage

     
     

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