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24.12.2021 02:42:53 5899x read.
In Deo bro. Jos Lefeber, FIC by bro. Wim Swuste, FIC

In the announcement of his death, there is a quote by the Prophet Isaiah:
“This is how precious you are in My eyes,
how valuable.

The Eternal one loves you dearly.”

All his life, Jos looked for an intensive connec- tion to his Creator. He did that in his exemplary way of life, by being attentive to all he met, by seeking his Lord in silence, and through tho- rough self-reflection.

When in 2000 he came to live at De Beyart, I had a talk with him in his room on the fifth floor. He then said quite openly: “Last year I lost two people who were very dear to me. In my religious life I have had to relocate four times because my community was dissolved. And honestly I haven’t yet found out how to serve people best. But I also realize, in spite of all, that Gods goodness has never let me down.”

A main theme in Jos’ life is the realization that in the storm on the sea of life, his small boat is thrown around incontrollably, and Jesus is resting in the stern. We just heard that parable in the lecture from the Gospel. And it is touching, but also a bit sad, that that is how Jos looked back on his rich and fruitful life.

In the Lefeber family, there were ten children. His father had a hairdressing shop in Amsterdam and he also sold tobacco. The family were devout Catholics and also close-knit and sociable. Jos also often played outside in the streets. “The neighbours called me ‘street boy’”, he told me.

For our congregation Jos was a precious person. He first worked as a teacher in Nijmegen, then went to the Institute for the Deaf in Sint Michielsgestel, where he was a pleasant fellow Brother and a good teacher.

In 1968, the Veghel community needed a new superior and he was asked for that. It made him the youngest superior of the time. The Council had much confidence in him. He was much appreciated there.

In the meantime, Jos did training courses with the Conference for Dutch Religious (KNR). In the Netherlands, those were troubled times in the Church, and the changes made themselves felt within the FIC congregation too. To help their fellow Brothers find their way around in the new ideas and philosophies going around, the then Chapter decided more inspiration and reflection were needed.

A Centre for Renewal and Reflection was set up, with Theo Mandos, Jos Lefeber, and ReneĢ Bollen to run it. There were meetings, conferences, discussions, prayer gatherings. And very often there were flipover sheets on the walls. “That’s what they called me at the time, Bro. Flipover“ said Jos some years later, meaning they’d put in a lot of work but it was not always well received among the fellow Brothers.

In 1980, religious were asked to go and give guidance to the inhabitants of the newly built town of Almere. A group of Sisters CB and Brothers FIC were willing, among them Kees Gordijn, Cor Creemers, Gerhard Dicks and Jos Lefeber. They worked with the parish priests, taught at the schools and were of service to newcomers.

From 1983 to 2006, Jos also served many orders and congregations in leading committees and working as a personal coach. He had taken the training required for that. We found a document among his papers listing all the congre- gations he’d worked for during that time. Sisters, Fathers, Brothers of 31 ‘brands’ were listed there.

And yet, in an interview for our magazine he said to me: “You know, Wim, I honestly tried to discover what I did wrong to never reach my ideals. I tried and tried again to get used to new situations. Apparently I need a lot of time to get used to things. And looking back, there are many moments in my life where I put my all into a task or a project. Perhaps I expected to much, or I set my ideals too high. But it troubles me.” I looked at him in surprise and he added: “I often see that when you are open to your fellow human beings, you can do many small miracles. No, I have not lost my faith in God. That is still growing, I hope and pray, every day.”

Jos spent a valuable life of almost 90 years among us. His relatives, who were very faithful, and his fellow Brothers, all feel and trust that this noble person, who sometimes felt so unsafe in his boat of life, has now entered into eternal happiness.

A life of which we can say, honestly, “And God saw it was good.
Very good.”

The world has lost a valuable man.


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