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    Frans Van Oudenhove

    Frans Van Oudenhove

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      Frederic Vital Mees smallFrans Van Oudenhove (1941-2022) 

     Born in Rumbeke (Belgium), October  19, 1941

     He was a missionary in Congo (Kasayi) and Belgium.

     Died in Torhout (Belgium) on February 13, 2022, at the age of 80.

     

     

    Frans moved to Kasai, DR Congo, in 1970 and did what every other missionary before him had done: adapted to the climate and studied the language. Although his term was barely three years, he was appointed as a visiting priest in Tshikapa. He returned to Belgium unwell in early June 1973 and remained there until the end of his life. He bravely sought to return to everyday life after his near-miraculous recovery. For six years, he served as an associate priest at St. Catherine’s parish in Assebroek.

    Frans began focusing on less conventional forms of apostolate in 1980. He became a pastoral animator at the Brussels Integration Center “Foyer,” where he served on the board of directors for more than 30 years. Meanwhile, our Congregation grew to appreciate him: from 1982 to 1988, he served in the Flemish Province’s Provincial Government, first as a Vice-Provincial and then as a Provincial Superior. He took part in two major CICM General Chapters in 1981 and 1987, during which the Constitutions were adapted to the new orientations of the Second Vatican Council.

    From 1988 through 2000, Frans dedicated his best to the “League without a Name” (Bond Zonder Naam), first as a member, then as managing director, then as president of the board of directors, and last as a final leader, following the movement’s main inspirer in Flanders, Father Phil Bosmans. Phil Bosmans and Toon Hermans were the two individuals who taught him how to speak about God in simple words. For many years, he volunteered every week at Antwerp’s “Café Zonder Bier” (Coffee Without Beer). In this way, he was able to gain firsthand knowledge of the underprivileged and homeless. He was also the president and active member of the non-profit organization “Oude Baan” in Zondereigen-Baarle-Hertog for 20 years: a family replacement home for foster children.

    From 2000 onwards, Frans served the Province as Rector of our community in Schilde, Coordinator, and Curator of our Chinese museum in Brussels, Editorial Secretary of Scheutnieuws, and Rector in the Provincial House in Scheut-Anderlecht. Frans got to know a lot of people and confreres during his extended stay at the Provincial House.

    Frans joined our community in Torhout in 2018, where he died peacefully and gratefully. We will remember him as a man who, despite his poor health, understood how to keep up with the weak.  

    Werner Lesage


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