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    Our dear departed

    Louis Van Damme

    Louis Van Damme

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    Louis Van Damme smallLouis Van Damme (1934-2020)

    Born in Sint-Maria-Oudenhove (B) on October 22, 1930
    First vows on September 8, 1954
    Ordained Priest on August 2, 1959
    Missionary in DR Congo (KIN) and Belgium
    Died in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw (B) on November 22, 2020 at the age of 86.

     


    I got to know Louis well in the missions of Beronge, Kiri, and Oshwe.  For me, arriving at his mis­sion station was “a homecoming”. His hospitality was always friendly and warm.
    After high school, Louis entered CICM with the dream of becoming a missionary. With all his qualities and talents, he joyfully committed himself to the people he was sent to.
    Driven by love and full of enthu­siasm, Louis has always given him­self to integrating fully into the lives of the people. He was a man who was close to the people and had a good command of the local language. Louis knew the sayings, habits, and customs of the people of the region where he worked. He also had regular contact with his family.
    Louis would take his fishing gear from the river to a "nganda," a tem­porary camp built on dry shipyards or sand beds during the dry season. Fishermen would stay there tempo­rarily and cast their nets until the rainy season and everything was flooded again.
    Most of the fish Louis caught was distributed to the elderly, the sick, and the students. Louis always had his rifle on the nganda. He was an experienced hunter, so he added variety to the fish menu.
    Thanks to his medical knowledge, Louis was able to save lives. Once, he saved a woman who had a complicated delivery. When I had an injury after a fall on a motorcycle, he took care of me for a week in a professional manner.
    After his definitive return to Belgium, Louis went to the Resi­dential and Care Center in Wetteren. There too, he remained connected to the diocese of Inongo.
    Louis was courageous and would stress what was positive. With him, I felt encouraged. Louis had always been a model of what a CICM should be: Cor Unum Et Anima Una with the confreres and the people. I will remember him with gratitude. ■

    Johan Verbeke


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