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    Our dear departed

    André Bogaert

    André Bogaert

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallAndré Bogaert (1937-2022)

    Born in Wetteren (Belgium) on May 9, 1937
    First vows on September 8, 1956
    Ordained a priest on August 6, 1961
    Missionary in Japan.
    Died in Nibuno, Himeji city (Japan) on July 18, 2022,
    at the age of 85.

    André decided to become a CICM missionary after graduating from high school and entered the Novitiate in 1955. His parents enthusiastically supported his decision, as they already had two daughters in the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity. His father, who had been ill for some time, was called to heaven a few weeks after his ordination as a priest in 1961. André’s father must have used whatever strength he had left to attend the first Eucharistic Celebration with his son at the altar.

    André arrived in Japan in 1962 and began studying Japanese at the CICM House in Nibuno. I happened to be in charge of Nibuno parish at the time, filling in for the pastor who was on leave in Belgium. We lived together for a few months before I was sent to Himeji’s Junshin Gakuin High School in 1963. Our paths diverged, and we only met occasionally for a celebration or a retreat. André was to work as an assistant and pastor in Tottori, Okayama, Kongo, Nibuno, and Tokyo (Matsubara parish).

    In 2017, I retired from Junshin Gakuin and joined the community at the Nibuno Residence, where André had been rector since 2008. We got to know each other in a personal relationship there. André was more like a friend than a superior. He recognized and accepted his limitations and reliance on others. Perhaps this is why he did not impose his own ideas on the elder confreres and the personnel who look after our daily needs. He loved Japan and the Japanese admired his approach. He was interested in what was happening both locally and abroad, but he was most fond of music. He enjoyed attending live performances and often played the piano for relaxation.

    The meeting with Mother Teresa in Calcutta was another huge breakthrough in André’s missionary life. In 1979, a Japanese Catholic filmmaker asked him to accompany him as an interpreter in order to realize a documentary film about Mother Teresa’s life and work. This marked the start of a long friendship with Mother Teresa. He accompanied her again in 1981 when she visited Japan. He had started a group of internationally organized Mother Teresa Cooperators in his parish a few years before. He expanded it with new groups throughout Japan and continued to attend their meetings and guide the members until his death.

    André was a firm believer in the power of prayer and love. May his soul rest in peace.  

    Toon Margot