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    Our dear departed

    Jean-Pierre Bénit

    Jean-Pierre Bénit

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    Frederic Vital Mees small

    Jean-Pierre Bénit


    Born in Mouscron (Belgium) on January 17, 1934.
    First vows on September 8, 1954
    Ordained a priest on August 2, 1959
    He was a missionary in Taiwan, Singapore, and Belgium.
    Died in Torhout Sint-Pieters-Leeuw (Belgium) on February 5, 2023, at the age of 89.


    From his Novitiate, Jean-Pierre had chosen to go to China to proclaim the Gospel. But after his ordination in 1959, China was closed to him because the communist regime had expelled all foreign missionaries. So he did not leave for China but for the Chinese. First, he was sent to Taiwan, where he served for a five-year term. Then, when he returned to Belgium on leave, he was asked to do missionary animation for three years. Then, he returned to Asia, this time to Singapore, where he worked for 17 years.

    Back in Belgium, after a year of missionary animation, he was part of the first CICM team appointed for the mission in France at the request of the new bishop of Pontoise. For 11 years, he was the parish priest in Goussainville, a suburb of Paris. In 1999, at the age of 65, he was appointed rector of the community of Jambes. At the age of 70, he was in charge of the China Museum in Scheut and the chaplaincy of a small nursing home. Since June 2021, he has been a member of the community of Zuun for post-operative rehabilitation.

    Jean-Pierre was always very close to his family. How many times did he tell us, always with emotion, about his mother and father? How many times did he tell us about his three brothers and his many nephews and nieces?

    But Jean-Pierre also had China and the Chinese in his heart. He admired their culture. To realize this, one only had to enter his room. Finally, he always had a deep attachment to the mission and his Congregation. Jean-Pierre left us a notebook with very precious notes, all from spiritual authors from the East and the West. We can see how he always nourished his spirituality and which ideas and authors he found interesting for his missionary commitment.

    It was very consciously and calmly, in the Chinese way, that Jean-Pierre prepared himself to meet the Lord. It is true that the Lord came to look for him at an hour that no one had anticipated. But I believe he was not surprised to find himself suddenly before God. He must have heard a voice saying: “Jean-Pierre, good servant, come and rejoice with your Lord.”

    Pierre Devogele