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    Our dear departed

    Jan Aerts

    Jan Aerts

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    Jan Aerts (1938-2021)15_AERTS_web.jpg


    Born in Broekhuizen (Netherlands) on July 13, 1938.

    He was a missionary in Congo (Kinshasa) and the Netherlands.

    Died in Breda (Netherlands) on November 11, 2021

    at the age of 83.


    Brother Jan Aerts is the youngest son of Johannes Henricus Hubertus Aerts and Antonetta Francisca Gerarda Maria Aerts.

    He spent his childhood on the parental farm during the five years of the Second World War and at the elementary school in Broekhuizen.

    A tiny flame started to kindle in him, and he dreamt of becoming a missionary. Jan followed his first training in the old Sparrendaal. But before that, he pursued carpentry training at the technical school in Boxtel. After his first vows, he went to Kortrijk for further training in the technical field.

    In 1964, Jan was sent to the Congo (Kinshasa). His first appointment was at the CICM garage in Limete (Kinshasa). It was there that he learned to put theory into practice. He had his work cut out for him and cared for employees who served all the religious institutes in Kinshasa. Jan did this work until 1968.

    After that, Jan specialized in repairing all kinds of household appliances. He surrounded himself with a small group of employees. He traveled to help the religious institutes based in Kinshasa from his own workshop furnished with storage. This earned him the nickname Jan, the flying Dutchman.

    Jan was a hard worker, demanding, and always available. In relating to employees, he was sometimes brutal. This character caused a strained relationship with the employees.

    Forced by circumstances, Jan returned to the CICM garage in Limite in 1974, where he continued to work until his final return to the Netherlands in 1985.

    Back in the Netherlands, Jan lived in Sparrendaal. He tried to continue his missionary life by doing noble service in Tilburg, Rotterdam, and Vught.

    So when the CICM moved from Sparrendaal to Teteringen, Jan did much work. He tirelessly dragged tables, chairs, beds, and cupboards from Sparrendaal to Teteringen.

    In Teteringen, Jan continued to live his missionary charism. His main activity was to get in touch with people who needed help, particularly the sick. He also went out on his bicycle to collect discarded cans and plastic, picking them up with a dowel, a kind of telescopic arm. He had two large plastic bags hanging from his handlebars, where he kept everything. This is how he got the nickname “the can man.”

    But his health began to deteriorate. He underwent a severe ear operation. Then, his legs hurt, rendering it more and more difficult for him to walk. With the help of a walker, he tried to stay mobile as long as possible. Unfortunately, Jan’s mental state deteriorated, and his doctor sent him to Thebe-Lucia, an institution where he was offered the best help. We visited him every week. The last time we saw him, he was pleased and cheerful.

    Unfortunately, the enemy of us all, Covid-19, got hold of him too, with fatal results. In the early morning of Thursday, November 11, our Lord came to put him out of his misery.

    Jan, thank you for everything, especially your smile, service, and availability for others.

    May you now rest in the loving arms of the Lord. 

    Jan Mocking