Who are the Oblates from Belgium and Holland ? Father Georges VERVUSTE, provincial, answers as follows : »The region of Belgium and Holland was born in 2005 by the merging of the general Delegation of South Belgium and the province of Holland-Flanders, which had also merged in 2003 with the Vice-provinces of Holland and North Belgium. The old units of Belgium, Flanders and South-Belgium became districts, which now function autonomously. At the start the Province comprised 139 members. With the return of 11 missionaries to their country of origin, the death of 65 colleagues and the departure of one colleague, the actual number is 84. The Flemish region comprises 39 members, the South-Belgium comprises 21 members and the Dutch 24 members, of which 6 come from Surinam and 1 from Peru.
The average age of the Oblates of the Province is 77,89 years : 53 are more than 75 years, 28 are between 75 and 66, 2 between 65 and 50, and 1 is less than 50 years. One understands that our most important task is to look after our aged and ill fellow members. Most do not need special care and still carry out certain pastoral activity. But we are no longer able to undertake missionary projects. We are doing our best in the 7 communities to keep a fraternity spirit and to mutually help each other and that the spiritual aspect is not forgotten. We also make sure that the 40 (!) members who do not live in the Oblates community feel that they are members of our community and receive any necessary help. Lets mention again that 33 Oblates, coming from our countries, are on mission outside the province. We are ready to welcome them whenever they wish to return to their home country.
The Oblates of Belgium and Holland have followed in Aix a series of lectures on the History of our Founding Father given by brother Benoît DOSQUET.
Krzysztof ZIELENDA, OMI