GENERAL COUNCIL F.I.C. - Prins Bisschopsingel 22, 6211 JX Maastricht, The Netherlands  Phone: *31 (0) 43 3508373
Sunday, June 4 2023  - 1 User Online  

11.09.2022 17:45:29 220x read.



General introduction:

We started the day at 7:30am with an inspiring communal prayer service. The prayer was led by Br. Aaron Nee-eru (Aspirancy Co-ordinator of Ghana Province). During this prayer service, we reflected on the theme, “Leadership of our Founders”. During the morning session, the presentation was focused on our congregational Founder, Louis Rutten’s time and context, his person and development, his activities, his commitment and his leadership. Focus was extended the life of Br. Bernardus Hoecken during the second session. In his presentation, Br. Johan Muitjens, FIC took participants through Br. Bernardus’ personality, his core values, his cares and concerns and his leadership. 

Excerpts from the presentation:

During the year 1800 A.D, the socio-economic situation in Maastricht was so bad. About one-third of an approximate population of 20,000 were living without income. Their sovival was depended on charity, meger allowances, stealing and through child labour. There were about 80 breweries in Maastricht. Water in general was unwholesome to drink. Hence, the common table drink was boiled low alcoholic beer. Political struggle for indipendence further worsened the economic situation.

In1837, Louis Rutten was ordianed and appointed to St. Servaas Church. His first mission was to attend to the needs of the poor children. He started a religious education classes in a corner of St. Servaas Church. This project later developed into formal education. Initailly, Rutten did not have a long vision for this project but as the number of children increased, he saw that he could not do it alone. Thus, he sought for other teachers. Among these teachers was Jacques Hoecken. Some of the schools he startes are a nursery school in the Red Lion (1838), a nursery school in Ridderstraat (1839), a boarding school for poor orphan boys in Amsterdam (1844), orphanage for boys in Roermond, (1845).

Louis Rutten got his human and religious formation from his grandmother. As teenager in a wealthy family, he was completely involved in worldly matters. Louis was lazy and not committed to duty. Growing up, he went through crisis as he got understand the various acts of injustice in society. This feeling changed the direction of his life. This inner struggle took him to the secondary school and further to the seminary in Liege (Belgium) and Herlear (The Netherlands). His dream was to be a missionary but due to ill health he had to let go of it. His strength and courage were found in his prayer and in his trust in God’s providence and the intercession of Mary Immaculate. Irrespective of his poor command of language and weak health, Louis had strong will power and thus takes initiative.

In 1871, Rutten accepted that his health and power have suffered so much from all the work and concern, that he has to be admitted in a house for mentally sick persons (Alexian Brothers in Thienen, Belgium). On 16 December, 1891, Louis Rutten gave his life back to our loving God, who had blessed him abundantly with a not easy but very fruitful life. His mortal remains was laid to rest in the cemetery of Maastricht. His mortal remains was transfered to FIC cemetery on 17th December 1991.

The person of Jacques Hoecken

Jacques was born in a wealthy religious family in Tilburg. Jacques Hoecken was one of the first candidates who together with Louis Rutten founded the Congregation. Bernard and the other first candidates received only a very limited (only 8 months) religious formation. Notwithstanding, Bernad was a person with a deep faith, good organizer, reliable, conscientious and very spiritual and with a great devotion towards Mary.

Bernard Hoecken’s Central Values

  • Trust in God and in Mary
  • Attention and care for prayer life and spiritual formation
  • Patience, endurance, forgiving
  • Fraternal love
  • Living according to the Constitutions
  • Deep compassion for the poor, underprivileged, sick (including his brothers!).

Some of Bernard’s great concerns are:

  • Spiritual life, religious formation, prayer life
  • Care for the youth, especially the poor, neglected, underpriviledged
  • Fraternal love and community life
  • Local, congregational and apostolic leadership

At the end of the presentation, participants were given the opportunity to share their feelings on the personality, vision leadership of our great founders. The presentation in general was quite educative, revealing and inspiring. The GC as well as participants were very grateful to Br. Johan for the in-depth research he made.

Reported by Br. Clovis Baaka, FIC

10th September, 2022

Wa. Ghana.

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