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    Raymond De Caluwé

    Raymond De Caluwé

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    Raymond De CaluweRaymond De Caluwé (1936-2024)

    Born in Wachtebeke, Belgium
    on January 16, 1936.
    First vows on September 8, 1977.
    Ordained as priest on May 27, 1961.
    Missionary in Haiti and in Belgium.
    Died in Ghent, Belgium on January 23, 2024, at the age of 88.

    Raymond completed his humanities studies at Sint-Lievens College in Ghent. He had a calling to become a priest, and so he enrolled in the Minor Seminary in Drongen for his Philosophy studies. Later, he moved to the Major Seminary in Ghent to pursue his studies in Theology and was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Ghent on May 27, 1961. Raymond went on to study Classical Philology at the Catholic University in Leuven.

    His first teaching appointment was at the Heilige Maagdcollege in Dendermonde from 1965 to 1976. He also served as a Sunday pastor in Denderbelle during the same period. In 1977, Raymond joined the Congregation CICM, having completed his novitiate in Arlington, USA. He was then sent to Haiti as a missionary.

    People called him Pè Remon. He was appointed to a parish in Hinche, pastor in Los Palis, and professor at the College St.-Martin de Porrès in Hinche. Raymond then served as pastor in Acul Samedi until 2004. Those are parishes in the interior of Haiti. He wrote, “Everyone there worked on the land and did something on the side.” Even the judge and the teacher were “peyzan” in their off hours. Raymond paid close attention to all those who earned their living in the fields and could empathize with those striving for better.

    In March 2004, he returned permanently to Belgium and served as a chaplain at Our Lady of Lourdes pilgrimage site in Oostakker for many years. Raymond stayed in touch with his family in Wachtebeke, where he was taken care of until his death. He was buried in Wachtebeke.

    During his time in Haiti, Raymond didn't initiate any major projects. However, he was known as a friendly person who was easy to approach and always interested in the challenges faced by his fellow human beings. He always tried to help them find a better life.

    Raymond had a very good pen and was a keen observer. He authored the book “Als de lambi roept,” published in 1989. The book tells the story of the rural people of Haiti, and while reading it, one can empathize with the struggles that Haitians face while working in the fields to make ends meet. Raymond admired the resilience of the rural Haitian people, whom he referred to as "of the hill country," and how they overcame life's hardships. After returning to Belgium, he listened to the stories of people who came on a pilgrimage to Oostakker. They shared their problems of illness and misfortune and sought strength and comfort from Mother Mary.

    In the end, Raymond was sicker than expected, and he died at the UZ in Ghent.

    His memorial card reads in Creole:

    Fè tout byen ou kapab.
                 (Do all the good you can)
    Tout tan ou kapab
                 (As long as you can)
    Tout jan ou kapab
                 (As much as you can)
    Tout kote ou kapab
                 (Wherever you can)
    Pou tout moun ou kapab
                 (For everyone)
    Jouk tan ou pa kapab ankò...
                 (Until you can’t anymore...)

    Thank you, Raymond.

    - Gaby Gheysens