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    Our dear departed

    Joseph Noël

    Joseph Noël

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    Frederic Vital Mees small

    Joseph Noël


    Born in Châtelet (Belgium) on April 2, 1933
    First vows on September 8, 1952
    Ordained a priest on December 8, 1958
    He was a missionary in Congo (Boma), Chad, and Belgium.
    Died in Embourg (Belgium) on 7 January 2023 at the age of 89.


    Joseph was the youngest of eight children. He had moved to the minor seminary of Bonne Espérance with his brothers, to which he had always remained connected. He did not follow in the footsteps of his two older brothers, both priests in the Diocese of Tournai. On the other hand, Joseph had knocked on the door of CICM to answer the Lord’s call. He completed all of his studies in Jambes.

    On December 8, 1957, he and his brother Charles were ordained to the priesthood in the Carmelite Convent, where his nun sister lived.

    Joseph, who was sent to Boma, DR Congo, was always willing to go where others would not. He rendered many services in different parts of the diocese. This demonstrates his availability.

    Noël responded wholeheartedly when he was called to go to Chad. As a result, he welcomed and visited families and basic communities in Chagoua for ten years.

    He returned to Belgium in 2001 as Rector and rendered many services to the senior confreres.

    But his health was deteriorating, and in the weeks following a fall, he had difficulty breathing; his heart was worn out. Finally, he died in a nursing home in Mehagne.

    Joseph never built or invented new methods. Nonetheless, he was always by your side, ready to take any initiative, trusting you, encouraging you, and, when necessary, cheering you up!

    His ideal of life was to be a humble servant, following Jesus, whom he met daily in Gospel prayer. As a result, his way of life was to serve without boasting but with discretion and humility. His superiors knew they could always count on his generous “yes.” Among the many services he was entrusted with, we must mention his departure for Chad. In fact, the CICM had decided to respond positively to the call of the Bishop of N’Djamena for volunteers...

    Joseph accepted this new and daring destination: a new country, a new culture, a new language, a Muslim majority population, and confreres he had never met! A true adventure.

    Nonetheless, Joseph paused, considered everything that would be expected of him if he was given a responsibility, and asked himself, “Will I be able to do it?” “This is because everything had to be taken care of for him! Every time he planned a trip to the villages, a wedding, or any liturgical service, he used little bookmarks stuck to this page or that place to ensure he did not forget anything! I would also like to emphasize how attentive Joseph was to the needs of others, how concerned he was for their well-being, and how much he respected their dignity... He even became scandalized and enraged when he perceived a “little one” being despised or exploited. Joseph welcomed visitors until the end, even though he could hardly walk. So, he would drag himself to set the table, put away the dishes, and forego a nap in order to continue chatting with a single visitor.

    Bernard Parmentier and Jacques Brisbois