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    Our dear departed

    Jules Perpète

    Jules Perpète

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    Vincent Van MeelJules Perpète

    (1933 – 2024)

    ▪ Born in Esplechin, Belgium on July 4, 1933.
    ▪ First vows on September 8, 1954.
    ▪ Ordained priest on August 2, 1959.
    ▪ Missionary in Congo (Boma), Cameroon and Belgium.
    ▪ Died at Sint-Pieters-Leeuw (Zuun) on January 9, 2024, at the age of 90.


    Jules' father was a customs officer in Esplechin (Tournai), and from an early age, he followed his parents to Comines, where his father had been appointed customs officer on the Belgian-French border where the river Lys separated the two countries. He was the third of seven children. He completed all his primary and rhetoric studies at Saint Henry College in Comines.

    Feeling called by the Lord, Jules decided to become a priest, religious, and missionary of the Scheut, the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM). He did his novitiate and all his studies in Jambes.

    Ordained a priest on August 2, 1959, he left for the Congo in the diocese of Boma. From 1960 to 1976, he was a curate, itinerant priest, teacher, prefect of discipline, and then successively parish priest in Mbata-Siala, Kangu, Lukula, and Moanda.

    In 1977, Jules presented himself as a candidate for Cameroon, the new Mission country, where he remained until 1998.

    Jules was initially appointed to the large forest mission of Yokadouma in Cameroon, where Stefaan Wuyts was in charge. During his time there, Jules spent much of his time visiting pygmy encampments and assisting Stef with general pastoral duties.

    Afterwards, the bishop of Jules' diocese, Msgr. Lambertus J. van Heygen (CSSp) requested that Jules take responsibility for two parishes that the Spiritan Fathers had permanently abandoned: Mindourou and Kentzou. These parishes were in the middle of the forest, approximately 60 km south of Yokadouma. Upon arriving there, Jules felt as comfortable as a fish in water.

    In 1988, Jules, growing older, requested to return to Belgium permanently. He served as a bursar of our home in Jambes, rue du Plateau, from 1999 to 2002. Later, he became the chaplain at the Harscamp nursing home in Namur from 2002 to 2006. After that, he lived in the Jambes and Embourg communities and served as a Sunday vicar at Comines for around ten years, starting in 2006.

    After the closure of the Embourg home, Jules moved to Zuun on August 21, 2022. He quickly adjusted to his new nursing home and enjoyed spending time with his fellow residents. However, his health took a sudden turn for the worse after almost a year in the house. He felt disoriented and disconnected from his colleagues. According to him, something was not right in his mind. His appetite decreased gradually, and he eventually stopped eating altogether. Having lost all his strength, Jules peacefully passed away in his bed on January 9, 2024.

    Jules was a rather taciturn, no-nonsense confrere for whom only one thing mattered: to be a servant of the Lord in all his responsibilities. Even his spirituality was simple and down-to-earth. Prayer, alone or in the community, was essential to him, as it was his best support throughout his life. What mattered most to him was to remain faithful, against all odds, to his initial religious commitment as a servant of the Lord and his brothers and sisters in Christ. There was only one watchword for him: live and pray as befits a priest-religious-missionary.

    Jules, may the Lord welcome you into His Kingdom, where you can finally live face-to-face with Him.

    - Jean-Claude Soete                 §