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    Our dear departed

    Arthur Verthé

    Arthur Verthé

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    Arthur VertheArthur Verthé (1926-2024)

    Born in Ingelmunster, Belgium
    on April 2, 1926.
    First vows on Sept. 8, 1946.
    Ordained priest on July 29, 1951.
    Missionary in Congo (Kinshasa) and in Belgium.
    Died in Torhout, Belgium on Feb. 9, 2024, at the age of 97.

    Arthur was assigned as a teacher at a school for Congolese people in Leopoldville (Kinshasa). He also worked as a chaplain for the Flemish community. Between 1952 and 1958, he performed pastoral duties in Kinshasa and participated in various socio-cultural activities as a collaborator.

    In 1958, Tuur was called upon to work in a study service on Africa in Belgium. It was during this time that hundreds of Belgians fled from Congo in 1960. For seventeen days and nights, he selflessly remained at Zaventem airport, welcoming these people. He wrote, “They arrived in a foreign country,” and many were lost among the numerous problems. With some friends, he tirelessly worked day and night to identify solutions. It became quite an organization for which the superiors of Scheut granted him exemption.

    During a retreat, Tuur got the idea of offering his services to all Flemish people worldwide who would find them desirable. Hence, he started working across the globe under the banner of “Flemish in the World.” Gradually, the movement committed itself to providing political and cultural assistance. Tuur traveled with artists, poets, and singers and even accompanied members of parliament, senators, and business leaders. He cherished these contacts and carefully preserved memories of them. However, many of his confreres did not see him as a true missionary because these activities regularly made the press. They thought he led a life of luxury, which hurt him.

    Because of his work, Tuur received several awards. In between his work and travels, he found solace in writing. Tuur documented his encounters and experiences in several books and wrote poems and haikus that he published in various magazines. While being a man of work who worked for and with others, he gradually became a man of words.

    From sound and tones
    Nurtured by feelings
    the word is born.

    Arthur retired in May 1986 and moved to Bruges, where he lived in an apartment inherited from his aunt. Despite his retirement, he continued to write and maintain his worldwide contacts. He lived a simple life, cooking for himself and cherishing every encounter. However, his life took a tragic turn when he tripped and fell, injuring himself badly. It left him in a wheelchair and unable to live alone. He moved to the community of Torhout, which was a big adjustment for him. Despite his demanding and difficult personality, he remained grateful and appreciative of his family, staff, and confreres and was proud of his accomplishments. He once said, "In Bruges, I was happy. In Torhout I am content."

    Around the New Year time, he fell seriously ill, and it soon became apparent that he was in his final days. On the evening of Friday, February 9th, he passed away. Tuur was a remarkable individual with many talents that he utilized to the fullest.

    No more begging
    and begging for myself
    For Thou art love.

                 - Arnold Quartier