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22.11.2023 15:14:44 1866x read.
Foundation Day 21 November 2023 - Homily (By: Bro. Wim Swuste)

Foundation Day 21 November 2023 - Homily (By: Bro. Wim Swuste)


"We know ourselves called to unity and fraternal communion so as to proclaim Christ to each other and to all people.

We are focused on the happiness of fellow human beings; first and foremost on the happiness of those with whom we form a community.     

We call one another 'brother' and try to live up to this word in the life of our community". (Const. articles 35 and 36)

Our Constitutions beautifully describe how we should treat each other, as well as the people we meet on our life path.


Our founders, Mgr. Louis Rutten and Brother Bernardus Hoecken, saw this as a great task for all brothers who, in their wake, dedicated themselves to others and to the brothers among themselves. 

They themselves gave an example in a moving way.

Rutten wanted our apostolate to be widely developed. Brother Bernardus thought we should work on this, but that the quality of religious life should not suffer as a result.


This sometimes caused disagreement. But deep in their hearts, and also in their personal actions, they tried to set a good example.

Bernard set such an example when Mgr. Rutten was admitted to a clinic in Belgium.  He visited him faithfully every fortnight. An example to his fellow brothers of fraternal affection.


An international gathering recently took place in Maastricht. Brothers from Indonesia, Ghana, Malawi and Chile came together for three weeks to deepen their personal journey of spiritual enrichment and to be inspired by each other and by the programme offered, thus growing as brother-religious. 

A group of men, coming from different cultures with very different lifestyles, customs and traditions. You got to know them at the meeting of Contemplation at Home around Mary on Thursday 12 October, here in the chapel.

The brotherly affection just splashed off. Sincere warmth for our group of ageing fellow brothers. Greeting them warmly. Shaking hands with appreciation to them, with broad smiles: out of respect for their great commitment in their long fraternal lives.A very disarming meeting that showed: we belong together, we live in the same Spirit, we respect you, we are brothers of each other in the deepest sense.

When we are together today, we remember that 183 years ago we began our work as brothers of our Congregation. 

By trial and error, we have become what we wanted to radiate:

a warm group of people, who have an eye for the world around us. But who above all want to hold each other by the hand in brotherly love.


Living together, living with each other every day, can be a big task - even in family situations. Deep in your heart you often have a judgment about the actions of those who are close to you. 

The task is: still accepting each other when you notice that getting older yourself and others can be a cross.

Tolerating that people close to you are sometimes difficult to understand, in their difficult experience of old age. We should endure that in great compassion.


To continue to appreciate each other, when you consider that people around you have shown an outstanding commitment in their long lives.  

To share suffering with each other brotherly, learning to tolerate and respect each other wholeheartedly.


As brothers, we are also only weak human beings. That is why it is of great value that we continue to seriously consider ourselves: am I a good neighbour for my fellow brother who thinks and feels differently? Who is plagued by physical and mental weakness?


As fellow brothers, under the protection of Mother Mary, our patroness, we want to continue to form a close community together. 

Our founders preceded us in this. 

May this be a support to us all.


A poet from Ivory Coast, Veronique Tadjo, formulates this beautifully:

Bring me light,

then give it to me

in the bowl of your hands

and touch me.

Carry your light away,

then hold it close

where it gives its warmth

to another.


May we continue to make this possible for each other!


Bro. Wim Swüste FIC

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