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    Walter D’heedene

    Walter D’heedene

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    Walter D'heedene


    Born in Lichtervelde (Belgium) on April 2, 1941
    First vows on September 8, 1962
    Ordained a priest on August 6, 1967
    He was a missionary in the USA, Rome, and Belgium.
    Died in Torhout (Belgium) on December 10, 2022, at the age of 81.


    “Life is a verb” is what Walter learned in his father’s bakery, where the day harvests the fruits of a hard night’s work. There, he learned the importance of consistency and loyalty at work.

    For Walter, Torhout High School was, above all, the adventure of the art group Thor. “Live nobly, strive to rise, never bow own, rise forever,” was the group’s principle. There he learned to speak his own language with choreographer Heiko Kolt: the language of the body and the language of the flag. He was trained and coached there to be in tune with each other as a close-knit team, absorbed in a rhythmic game. The dance and the flag took him around the world, even to Pope Pius XII in Rome. Perhaps it was Thor who opened his eyes to the world.

    Walter moved to Scheut, and the flag stayed in Torhout, but he never gave up dancing. He performed beautiful dances with about five other members during various performances around Mission Sunday. Then, one night, he wanted to tap dance on a barrel during a wild night.

    Walter carried the message of the arts group to the United States of America like a precious treasure. He used the talents of many parishioners for liturgy, catechesis, and diaconal service in the parish in San Antonio, Texas, and so many other places. He was deeply committed to organizing the local people for greater justice and improving the lives of the poor. He accomplished this through the power of the Spirit of Jesus, who animated him.

    No one was surprised when Walter became Provincial Superior. He used his talents to encourage his confreres. After his term as Provincial Superior, Walter was appointed Secretary General of the CICM in Rome. After six years of service in the CICM General Secretariat, he returned to San Antonio.

    Of course, Walter was no longer the young man of long ago, and the years had taken their toll on his health. So in 2018, he returned to Torhout sick. Together with his sister Lena, we had to see how the disease took him completely. But Walter remained this wonderful person. His eyes continued to shine until they went out. Then he was prepared for the last journey. May his soul rest in peace.

    Arnold Quartier