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22.12.2021 15:58:23 5597x read.
In Deo Kees van de Wiel (Cornelis Josephus Adrianus, Hermano Waldo) by bro. Lo Koeleman FIC

The two men who, after the death of Jesus, become confused, are a bit like Kees – who we are saying goodbye to now – and myself, who lived and worked together for more than sixty years, in Chile and here in Maastricht.

They’ve lost their way, those two. There are conflicting stories going around, making them uncertain. And they decide to walk off and find their own place.

Then a stranger crosses their path. He reassures them, explains, shows them that all will be well. From two despondent, frightened people he turns them into happy and free persons. That is what is remarkable about the life of Kees among us. And I also recognize my own path through life, close to him.

Kees was someone who never put himself forward. He was, as they say in Dutch, ‘quiet waters with deep grounds’, someone with hidden strengths and abilities.

When you got to know Kees a bit, you would discover he was a very socially committed person: he was always on the side of the poor, encouraged the young people he worked with, he got people to dance and sing. A true follower of our Founder Mgr. Louis Rutten. For more than sixty years, Kees was committed to people. In his very own special way, in silence, never putting himself forward.

He was born in Waalwijk after two sisters, and before his brother Henk whose death touched him very deeply, they were very close always. And whenever Kees went on leave, his family would have a warm welcome for him, in particular his sister Jeanne.

Henk and Kees went to school with the Brothers, and Kees was impressed with the way the Brothers lived. Those were people he’d want to join. So in 1952 he went to the training college of the FIC and Bro. Borgias Schrurs taught him to be a carpenter.

In an interview, Kees said: “Once when I was walking in the downstairs corridor of our mother house De Beyart, I met the General Superior Bro. Avellinus. He stopped me and said: “Bro. Ewald, I’m letting you go on a visit to your parents in Waalwijk. You may ask them if they agree to let you go and work outside the Netherlands for our fellow human beings.” Then I found my parents were really pleased for me, that I had been chosen to go and do this.

For me it fit perfectly into my life as a Brother: to go and work for people who aren’t doing well, stand by them, give them the feeling they are worthwhile as human beings.


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