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    Our dear departed

    Jozef Van Dooren

    Jozef Van Dooren

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    Frederic Vital Mees smallJozef Van Dooren (1934-2022)


    Born in Turnhout (Belgium) on September 6, 1934
    First vows on September 8, 1953
    Ordained a priest on August 3, 1958
    Missionary in DR Congo (Kasayi) and Belgium.
    Died in Schilde (Belgium) on October 2, 2022,
    at the age of 88.


    Jozef was born and raised in Turnhout in the family of René Van Dooren and Clara Gils. Following graduation from the Sint-Jozefs High School in his hometown, he entered the Novitiate in Scheut in 1952. He studied philosophy in Nechin and Scheut. He then studied theology in Kessel-Lo and Louvain. In 1959, he was sent as a missionary to the Congo.

    His first mission station was Ngandajika. He was an itinerant priest and a university professor. It was the time of independence, and riots erupted here and there. With his confreres, Jozef was rescued from a gang. He was then appointed Director of the Tshilomba Teachers’ Training College. He encountered difficulties and was visited by armed robbers there as well. He returned to Ngandajika after two years.

    Jozef had other commitments after these turbulent years. In 1972, he was appointed pastor of the Kamiji Mission. He stayed for several years. He was then appointed pastor in Luputa while also being in charge of the Procure. Jozef could rely on a loyal and competent staff to do the majority of the work. He was appointed to the Provincial House in Mbuji-Mayi from Luputa to perform various services. He could also count on the help of a competent staff there. He was then assigned to the Magasin of the Procure in Kinshasa. He felt comfortable in the confreres’ community. He was allowed to return to Mbuji-Mayi after four years until his final return to Belgium. Jozef was pleasant with others and enjoyed the order. He was also appointed to the Provincial Government several times.

    For about five years, Jozef was Treasurer of the Schilde House in Belgium. Things calmed down after his brother, who was also a priest, died. Jozef’s situation had become increasingly difficult, and he had begun to retire in the last few months. On the feast of the guardian angels, his guardian angel accompanied him on his final journey to the heavenly Father. May he now rest in peace. 

    Karel Van Laer and Luc Colla