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    Our dear departed

    Leon Catrycke

    Leon Catrycke

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallLeon Catrycke (1943-2022)

    Born in Poperinge (Belgium) on May 27, 1943
    First vows on September 8, 1963
    Ordained a priest on August 4, 1968
    Missionary in DR Congo (Boma, Kasayi, and Kinshasa) and Belgium.
    Died in Torhout (Belgium) on July 2, 2022,
    at the age of 79.

    After his studies at the college in Poperinge, Leon started the Novitiate in Zuun. He studied philosophy for two years in Nijmegen and theology for four years in Jambes.

    Leon went to the Congo in 1969 to the Diocese of Boma, where he was an assistant priest in Boma and an itinerant priest in Vaku. He was known to be a hard worker and a fighter. He taught at Nguema Secondary School in the Diocese of Luiza in Western Kasai from 1971 to 1975. Leon was appointed itinerant priest in Ntambue Yangala in the same Diocese from 1975 to 1982 after his first leave in Belgium. From 1982 to 1984, he was the parish priest there.

    From 1984 on, Leon was more involved in the work of formation in the Congregation and held positions in CICM communities. For example, he was Socius and Treasurer of the Mbudi Novitiate in Kinshasa for seven years. He planted thousands of trees there with his novices and some workers. Then, he was the Provincial House’s Rector in Mbuji-Mayi in Eastern Kasai for nine years, and at the same time, he was the parish priest of Saint-Leonard Church. The construction company, which was building the new church at the time, had gone bankrupt. Despite his severe migraine attacks, Leon continued to build the church with some builders’ help.

    Leon was appointed Rector of our community in Torhout, Belgium, after a short term as the Prenovitiate Father Nkongolo’s Spiritual Director in Kinshasa. He accomplished this service with brilliance from 2001 to 2008. He had then become Vice-Rector in our house in Kortrijk. However, in 2017, he was asked for a second time to become rector of our house in Torhout, a task he performed until his final retirement in October 2020.

    Leon committed himself to take care of the garden in Torhout. One of the first things he did was to plant a tree. However, soon after, he became ill and knew he had less chance of recovery. He finally passed away peacefully after a long struggle on the morning of July 2. We will remember him as a trustworthy and faithful man.  

    Werner Lesage and Frans Van Humbeeck