Fr Piet Kramer

Fr Jaak Seynaeve

Brother James Kennedy

Fr Adrian Smith












Fr Piet Kramer, MAfr
1938 - 2011

Fr Piet Kramer

Fr Piet died on March 25, 2011 at Dongen Netherlands
at the age of 76, of which 49 of missionary life
in Uganda, Zambia, India, Kenya and Netherlands

The funeral was held 30th March 2011 in the parish church :
H. Nicolaas
Dorpstraat 120
6093 GA Heythuysen

May he rest in peace.


Original Diocese:
Spirit Year:
The Oath:

01-09-1962 Etudes Nijmegen Netherlands
20-11-1967 Apprend Langue Bujuni, D.Hoima Uganda
01-01-1968 Vicaire Bujuni
01-09-1972 Conseiller R?ional
01-04-1973 Sup?ieur Bujuni
08-03-1978 Session-Retraite ?J?usalem
01-09-1978 Sup?ieur Nijmegen Netherlands
01-07-1982 Provincial Boxtel Netherlands
01-07-1985 Prov.2?e mandat Boxtel Netherlands
17-05-1989 Nomm? Kasama Spiritual.Year Zambia
01-06-1999 Nairobi,3rd Phase Kenya
01-07-2000 Provincial 1er Mandat Boxtel, Maison Prov. Netherlands
01-07-2002 D??agement ?Dongen
10-05-2004 D??u?au Chapitre
30-01-2007 Formation Bangalore India
01-12-2008 Residence Dongen Netherlands
25-03-2011 Retour au Seigneur (76) ?Dongen Netherlands


A Tribute from Aloysius Bebbwas

Piet Kramer was born into Eternity in Holland on 25th March 2011, the day of the Annuniciation.

In the following few lines, I have tried to tell some of the things that I remember of him---things that struck me.

Piet Kramer was born into Eternity in Holland on 25th March 2011, the day of the Annunciation.  In the following few lines, I have tried to tell some of the things that I vividly remember of him---things that struck me. I am neither a good observer---nor do I have any authority, but I just think I can as well mourn him by recalling the year and other occasions I spent with this remarkable Dutch Missionary of Africa, a man who, in many ways was all to all and for which he no doubt suffered even though he kept a grip on the goodness he enjoyed in places.

Aloysius Beebwa

( Palm Sunday, 17th April 2011:  The 20th anniversary of the burial of the late Alexander You, a French Missionary of Africa, who like many on this partitioned continent shed his blood when a coward pulled the trigger, ( on 15th April 1991) right in front of him and killed him instantly at Ibanda Parish. Alexander You had been a headmaster at St Joseph's Vocational Senior Secondary School, at Nyamitanga Hill in Mbarara, Uganda from 1984 to 1989. I was a student of his.

On 17th April 1991, was the day when the article I never wrote was entitled, " The day Nyamitanga was drenched and soaked in tears and rain. May Alec You also rest in peace.)


"...Catching a glimpse of the Kingdom....", Piet Kramer

A friend who met Piet Kramer for the first time, about two years ago in Ethiopia, told me she remembers him for his 'smile, compassion and sensitive outlook.'  I agreed.

For a year, 1995-6, I was privileged to live in community with him at Lua-Luo near Kasama ( Zambia's Northern Provincial town) where he became a living legend to most students who passed there as novices.

Piet was a straightforward man.  When he smiled that meant a genuine smile. Period. He said what he thought and felt, and that was that. He chose this way because for him, it was the best way to express one's thought and to lessen chances of unnecessary misunderstandings. And then gladly he did not like gossip and cheap talk. And did not entertain them either.

Someone who was in some high office in the Society of the Missionaries of Africa remarked that Piet challenged and disturbed. Piet would not sit on the fence. He would indeed challenge, and probably disturb. And pay for it too. But then of course, you knew that he meant what told you, and would have thought about it deeply, brought in different perspectives to provide an atmosphere of fairness and intelligent decision-making. Reading Dame Ann Leslie's comment In Killing My Own Snakes, on why she would never become a politician, I remembered Piet Kramer. Dame Leslie ( who is one of the best international journalists, I know of) says that she would never accept to say or write what others wanted her to say or write. She would be her own mind. And Piet was in some ways like that.

He was a generous man. Though he spent most of his time within the walls of the holy noviciate, he kept his eyes open to the surroundings places. He, for example took keen interest in the school for the disabled children, Chileshe Chepela, often encouraging novices to do visits and spend time there at weekends. He would organise outings ( with the novices) for the children so that they would share in the beauties of life outside their rather restrictive school premises and so that those often hidden images of God would come out into the light.

He had an incredible sense of justice issues. Almost innate. He needed no courses to see and understand unfairness and do something about it. And sometimes he would push for justice ---and sadly but not surprisingly get no support. In some case, no responses to his letters. If he tried and received no help, he would explain it to the victim. He would fail because of what Raymond G Helmick in Living Catholic Faith in a Contentious Age, sees as characteristic of Roman law, " ?the law of the empire, and its governing premise is that the will of the sovereign, is law ?the very system of domination  that Christ so explicitly rejects for his followers ?has as its fundamental flaw that there is no room in it for the accountability of those who govern to those whom they govern."

His many contacts helped him in his struggle against poverty and oppression. Carrying an old leather bag on his shoulders, he shared all that he had with those whose lives were less privileged.

Piet could come up with a surprise for you. For anyone. No particular favourites. Apart from, perhaps, the weakest ones of society. You did not need to be a holder of a particular passport to be seen and invited by Piet's compassionate heart. A great quality for an educator and pastor worth the name. It is for this reason that he tended to be a very trusted bridge between thought patterns and ideas and across generations. In the Spiritual Year, ( though he was not spiritual director, he was known to be a great spiritual director; very down to earth, a reason why he tended to be asked by several students for direction.)

One morning, I heard him calling out my name loud. Before long, I saw him running towards me. 'Come and save a situation.' He screamed. 'Gosh, what on earth could be happening? Me saving a situation?', I thought.

'There is a lady at the door. She is talking to me in Cibemba and I cannot get what she is saying." He pleaded.

"Piet, I cannot know any much better Bemba than you."  I retorted.

"I know, you will 'bl....y do better than I could possibly do." He insisted.

I was still young then and so I dashed off to the entrance. I greeted the lady and asked how we could assist. And then I tried to listen carefully. I understood the message, by pure chance. So, I went back to Piet to report. She was sorted out in minutes.

Piet loved nature. He loved working in the garden. He tended the flowers and watered them. He also kept the chapel beautiful. I worked in the sacristy with him. I was pretty hopeless. I told him so and he understood. So, he backed me up so that our liturgies would not end in disasters. That means that he also listened with interest.

He loved life. He was very hospitable as guest master at the noviciate. At some point I was working with him in this area too. We used to receive people, especially nuns for retreats. We both used to be fascinated at how some of them would be extremely exact and precise. And then we had some, who, used to excel at maintaining their white socks spotless despite the rain and mud they would walk through. And a good number of them knew that he loved a good piece of cake, among other goodies.

Good for the partying. But then he would scoop us all when it came to getting on our knees to pray. His Psalms open, he would be in the chapel early morning for about an hour before either morning Mass or the prayers of the Church. I am sure the Psalms in his English Jerusalem Bible are pretty marked.

Piet could become impatient and rather angry when things went wrong. Gladly, he would show it and you knew what was going on in his mind. One of the most predictable thing about him was that he allowed no time for people guessing what he would be thinking.

He was a great teacher. He taught us Poverty, or do we not, in the WFs, call it Simple Life Style? ( One religious, teaching us Philosophy in Jinja, used to say that they, in their Congregation made the vow of poverty, and the White Fathers lived it for them. )

Oh, Goodness me. In this class, Piet charged and turned red.

'Poverty?' He asked? "What are you talking about?" He roared.
"We have three cars parked. We have three meals a day. If anyone of us falls ill, he will receive the best treatment available. But when I give a few Zambian Kwacha out, it becomes an issue. What are you talking about?"  He queried and the lecture hall fell totally silent.

When he was Provincial leader for the first time, he observed something else that troubled him. While watching news, he often heard comments of some of his brother missionaries " about all these lazy unemployed youth, in Holland."  He slowly got worked up.

One evening, he sprang to his feet looked the group and then said, " And you just wait till either your nephews or nieces get unemployed. And then you will understand." Then he stormed out of the TV room.

One day at the noviciate, we had a community meeting, to decide what to do for Lent. Try to do that with 21 people from about 4 different continents. ( The representatives of the 5th continent had sadly just left). You know those kinds of meetings. What to leave out from the Menu, for example, so that money saved could be directly and pragmatically put to use.

So, we started the endless debate.

Eggs or milk. Kapenta or meat. Pretty soon, an hour went by. I got very nervous (as usual). Not a very nice thing to do as a novice. I still had some bit of politeness then, and so, I tried to keep my mouth shut. It went on and on. I then noticed that Piet ( and others) were beginning to get nervous. I knew something was about to happen. He suddenly intervened. 'For God's sake, can we not have some bit of common sense'? He yelled. That was the end of this lovely Lenten question. We there and then coughed up an answer. End of the boring discourse. That was undiplomatic Piet.

He loved to walk in the countryside with novices. In one of those walks, a novice from Sub-Saharan Africa was grumbling about 'these old men who like walking aimlessly into the country.' Piet heard. He instantly stopped and looked behind (this particular novice was not very tall). So he asked the novice in question, 'And who are those old men you are referring to? Who do you mean?'

The novice looked at tall Piet and said, "I exactly mean people like you."

Piet burst into laughter and this triggered a whole range of questions in him. Together, with this, it is important to recall his great sense of humour.

He used to tell of how he was asked to study Dutch after ordination so that he would teach it in the junior WF seminary. So he got to a university for 5 solid years, I think, and read Dutch. He thoroughly enjoyed this time at university and broadened his world vision too.

Lo, and behold. As soon as he was completing the degree, junior seminaries were abolished in the WFs. But of course, he used the skills for many things.

First of all, it is generally agreed that he wrote excellent Dutch. You might say it was his mother tongue, but it seems he had mastered it. Several Dutch WFs told me of how they admired his Dutch.

Secondly, it must have increased his ability for other languages. His command of English remains extremely high class and admirable. In Uganda, where he spent the 'best years of his missionary life', according to him, he learnt Runyoro and spoke it for ten years as he walked up and down the villages meeting and conversing people, old and young. " I found the most uncomplicated faith there." He would smilingly recall.

Thirdly, this university time opened doors for his academic way of studying other things. In the noviciate he taught Bible. He had taught a huge chunk of Scripture himself. He used to specialise on the Psalms and did it very excellently. If had had the chance to spend time at some Biblical schools, he probably would have emerged a world scholar on the Word of God. But did he need to be one any way, given all he had accomplished? Besides, Gerard W Hughes, SJ, the Ecumenical-minded university chaplain warns us about certain experts on the Word of God. ( If you can, find his beautiful book, God in all things.)

Fourthly, this golden time, helped him to shed off what a retired Irish missionary and friend calls "seminary propaganda". While at uni, he was able to get into the life of ordinary students and could feel the real pulse, an experience that would be very useful when it came to putting some sense into clerical ways.

Piet understood the value of good education. Perhaps it was because he was well educated and just not learned. He understood that education is not a gift. It is a right to everyone. That is why he supported students who were finding it hard to get this right. And some of these, he would not have known before---and even after. One day, I was in his company when one such a beneficiary walked to us and said: "Hello Piet. My name is Y. You once helped me when I was desperate with tuition." Piet looked so surprised and said, "Oh, when was that? I do not remember?"  And It seems this Y is doing well in secular society and also very aware of the need to lessen injustices.

Behind it all was this idea that injustices must be challenged whenever possible and not with some nice cozy words but in actions. Oh, is it St James who tells us, "Show us your actions...." These days, it would be translated as "Show us how just you are, and then we shall know your faith."

Piet's homilies were full of his sense of God wanting justice for his people. It is no wonder that Mary the mother of Jesus, who praised God for lifting up the lowly and feeding the hungry with good things was Piet's guru---though of course for Piet, it was Jesus who was the Saviour. And then he would remind us that when and if we opt for the poor, and work towards improving desperate situations, we some how catch a glimpse of the Kingdom.

Humour again.

As student at the old St Edward's College, in North London, they used to be all uniformed in while ( which is why we have the name White Fathers). He narrated how people on the 251 bus that ran past used to feel pity for all these young men, uniformed and lining up for the unmarried Catholic priesthood. And so, one day, one female passenger, upon passing the College, cried out, " What a waste of human resources!!!!!!"

One day, he received a friend from Holland. I think her name was Betsy. Her family name must have started with a T. She had been put on the bus in Lusaka by Brother Paul Donders, WF---a man of remarkable hospitality.  Piet went to the bus station in Kasama to wait for Lady Betsy. Her journey was about 14 hours. The bus pulled in and then there was Piet waiting. At night. Some imaginative passengers called out to Piet,  "Your wife has arrived."  He found this very hilarious and laughed a lot about it for a couple of days.

Lady Betsy spent about two weeks with us and told us how she was becoming an expert on hiding people without papers and making sure they got a lawyer. Piet Kramer would have taken keen interest in a human rights issue like pragmatic and questioning Besty.

He one day, he received an invitation to give a retreat in Nigeria. He thought, " Oh, my God. All the way to that far for a few days? It is a bit much. " So, he wrote back and suggested that he did not fancy flying from Europe to the South of the Sahara for just a few days. He got a shock of his life. They wrote back, and said that if he did not want, they would simply ask someone else to do the journey. "Oh, then I thought, if that is the case, I can just as well go." He told us. And he indeed went.

Fr Kramer was a free and independent thinker. So it was great having conversations with him, because you went away renewed. He was not ultra-montane. A bit like the late Cardinal George Basil Hume, he liked to see things in contexts. Sometimes Rome can too far away to offer reasonable solutions to local questions.

Increasing clericalism worried Piet and even caused him personal troubles. Many will remember where this led him to at some point in his relatively young missionary life. Nevertheless, his Dutch brother Missionaries of Africa chose him in two different epochs to be their Provincial Leader.

From what I remember, one issue that troubled him the first time he was chosen Leader, was the well-being of the missionaries on home leave. That was partly what Simple Life Style would perhaps entail. It appears that he was challenged by several families who decried the fact some missionaries would arrive home without a penny. Families resented it and some protested. So Piet pushed hard that each and every missionary on leave get an allowance. And then he informed those that did not need it to feel free in donating to the Society. And, with a sigh of relief, that was the end of complaints from out and within.

He was great with people and had authority. Not power. That was his strength. And I think that is why he never had to be clever and never hard to be publicity-hungry. Using his intelligence was enough. I think there are huge differences. Power is fought for, while authority is given by others.

One thing that Piet resented was being a house bursar. At the noviciate, he one day had to do shopping while Jean-Michel Laurent, the bursar was away for a retreat. He went to the market but somehow forgot to record whatever he had purchased. But then he had to make accounts for the bursar. He visibly got into a panic. "I cannot bl...y remember what I paid for the potatoes. All I know is that I did not throw the money away." He yelled.

And like me, you would not ask him about mechanics, cars and their fuel. He was also quite aware of the dangers of possible paternalism and so delegated what could or had to be delegated. So, he was always happy to have novices who could drive.

In our time, our novice master, Michele Vezzoli,  ( thank goodness) had asked all novices who could drive to carry their licences along. All of us were after all over 21 and so it was understood that we could manage quite a few things on our own. In our year, we were three drivers.  On one particular long trip ( which I missed because I voluntered to keep the noviciate) Piet travelled with a group of novices. He surrendered the driving to Filippino, Joselito Dodong, a great driver by all standards. "He is a terrific driver. " Piet remarked later. And yes, Do is a terrific driver.

Piet got on well with the domestic staff. And spoke out for their welfare. And respected them; be it our glamorous and charming laundry lady, Ba Grace, or her sister, Ba Agnes, the kindest and most discreet person I have ever met, or, our watchman Ba Chanda, who loved visiting the fountains and his wife would get him back home. And Piet would say, "Oh, she is a holy woman." Or, Ba Justin who was so quick in the kitchen while preparing supper, and rushing, to make sure that his wife, who was quite young would not be afraid of being in the house with her many small kids. Or, Ba Lawrence, who was the gardener and spent most of his time supervising either the novices or anyone else harvesting his cabbages. Or Ba Michael, the driver and husband to Ba Agnes who later lost his job, perhaps because of his shrewdness. He used also to be so desperate for a son.

In his 76 years, he must have written hundreds of personal letters to people. He was a great writer and original. It was a joy to read his messages. In Kasama, in those pre-computer days, he would be typing away on his machine in his office. He then he would come out of his room, car keys in his hands, with dozens of letters and he would hurriedly say, " I am going to the post office to post my mail."

In 2000, it must have been early July, he visited St Edward's College. In fact he had come for a meeting of all those educators of Theology in the WFs. One evening, during that meeting, I had to open the bar for the guests and friends from outside. Standing behind the counter, a humorous and brave English friend of the College, (let me call her Ms Z ) came to me and whispered. " I think Piet is a great lad.  Don't you think so?"  She discreetly asked. " I know he is a very good person.", I answered.

"A pity he is a priest. I would have said something to him." She said regretfully. Voila!! So, I told her, " You know it is never too late." She laughed and sipped her while wine. And I think Z did then have a good conversation with Piet. Piet was after all open to all people.

When I saw Piet Kramer in September 2010 at a function in Europe, I was horrified. He looked so pale and ill. But he said he was fine. I kept thinking, " Piet is not well."  Little did I know it was our last meeting. Life is truly a mystery. We are only visitors on this earth---a point that I keep forgetting.

Piet enjoyed a healthy life for most of the time. And yet, when this cancer came up, it put him down pretty fast and he left this world.

As the hymn goes, "Persons come into, the fibre of our lives, but their shadow fades and disappears. But . . . " I am pretty sure that Piet marked generations of Missionaries of Africa, especially those who he lived in houses of education with him in Zambia, Kenya and India.

May Piet Kramer rest in peace and enjoy life to the full in the Kingdom which he served faithfully and lovingly. May his family be consoled and be re-assured of God's eternal mercy.

Piet might be beginning to say, " Oh, Aloysius, Heaven's sake, stop."

May he indeed enjoy being next to the Just One---from whom he learnt justice---being just till it hurts.

I will miss him greatly ---for among many reasons, we shared the same date of birth: the now infamous, 11th of September.

Rest In Peace


Aloysius Beebwa

P.O. Box 1056,
Jinja,  Uganda, East Africa

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Fr Jaak Seynaeve
1920 - 2011

died on 17th April 2011
aged 91 years, of which 67 were spent as a missionary
in Rwanda, DRC Congo, Britain, USA and Belgium

Original Diocese:
Spiritual Year:Varsenare


28-09-1944 Etudes Louvain Belgique
01-06-1948 Heverlee
09-08-1955 DŽpart pour Nyakibanda au Rwanda
29-02-1956 TournŽe des SŽminaires
18-09-1957 Retour ˆ Roma Italia
21-01-1958 Lovanium, D.Kinshasa Congo
18-09-1965 Grande Retraite Villa Cavalletti en Italie
30-06-1968 SupŽrieur Lovanium
01-07-1969 n'est pas SupŽrieur Lovanium
01-01-1977 Fac.ThŽol.Cath. Kinshasa Za•re Ituri
24-01-1986 Lecturer M.I.L. Totteridge,2nd Cycle G.B.
20-08-1990 DŽpart pour U.S.A. .
10-11-1992 Lecturer H.C: Baton Rouge, LA U.S.A.
11-11-2006 NommŽ (PE 10/06) Belgique
20-01-2007 RŽsidence Varsenare,Kasteel Belgique
17-04-2011 Retour au Seigneur (91) ˆ l'h™pital Saint-Jean de Bruges Belgique


When windows and doors swing open The Bemba in Zambia have a fantastic proverb which says that, "a child who never visits around, thanks the mother for being the best porridge cook: "Umwana ashenda, atasha nina ukunaya ubwali."

So, talk of visiting. Some time towards the end of 2009, I went to Varsenare near Brugge, in Belgium, where there a community of retired missionaries. I met and spoke to many pleasant retired priests and brothers.

One of them was particularly striking. It was Jaak Seynaeve. He was turning 90 in February 2010. So, we sat as he enjoyed his mid-morning soup. "You are welcome." Jaak chimed. "Would you like to have some soup? Please help yourself." "No, I will not have any soup ?I will wait for lunch. I will just have coffee." I told him.

He then began shooting his amazingly sharp questions. And I enjoyed them . . . . "Where are you from?" "How old are you?" "Where did you do your formation?" "Why are you in Belgium?" "Is this your first visit to Varsenare?" "And what are they doing with you?" etc, etc

"Where were you in Africa?" He quizzed me. "In Ethiopia?" I told him. "In Adigrat?" He inquired. And then he told me, among other things that while a Vice- President of the Catholic University in Kinshasa, where he taught for many years, Mengistu Hailemariam arrived armed with a scholarship. "He was a very strange man. You never know, Aloysius, what lies in a man's heart. I could never understand him. After a few months, not even a year, he disappeared to Moscow . . . . " Indeed, you can never know the human heart. Jaak would not have foreseen Mengistu bringing Ethiopia to its knees, and looking on, while millions either perished or fled.

Jaak then added, "I also taught Archbishop Milingo. . . . " and smiled mischievously. He told me he taught our confreres in Belgium. He then went to the US to teach. He then added, "I also spent four short years at Kings' College in London."

I later gathered from him that he gave lessons at the Missionary Institute London ( MIL) as well. "I also spent a year studying at Oxford. Among my former students, there are some 36 bishops. I am a strange White Father you see. The White Fathers do not really like academics, they are not intellectual enough . . . . and we will pay for it. Have you ever asked yourself why the Church in Africa keeps producing leaders who then turn against it? We do not care for the intellectuals. We are scared of them and we lose them. We should care for them too. We prefer to care only for those who depend on us, because it is easier and more satisfying to ourselves."

He went silent for a minute, looked at me, and smiled mischievously, and said, "Think about it." Well indeed. "I spent all my life in universities. I am now here retired in this university of Varsenare" he retorted. And then he added: "Please profit from your stay in Brussels to the maximum. Learn French well. It will be useful." "And Aloysius, what do you want to do?". . . . "Islam," I told him. "That is great. Please say it to the superiors. Do not be afraid. Keep making it clear. Please come back whenever you can. Varsenare is a good place. The confreres here are also good. It is a good community, you know." He affirmed.

When I thought I had had quite a few insights, he suddenly suggested I write up an article about the discussion. Me, writing! "There I go again," I thought. I was not sure what to do with that request. It seems that my writings are not that life-giving, according to some. When I studied Theology, at the end of the last century, I was enthused when I came to see how much the Church, at the service of the Kingdom had actually been renewed, thanks to our dear Pope John XXIII. His decision to open wide the windows could not be more timely. The people of God were once again affirmed as created in God's image, beings capable of reflection, study and with consciences.

At some point down the ages, something happened and the windows began to close bit by bit. While in our community chapel in Brussels, one evening, about six months after having met Jaak, common prayer had just ended and it was time for silence. You could hear nothing. Not even a dropping pin. Then suddenly, Jaak, then well into his 90th year opened the door with strength and entered. He spotted Paul Geers, a former student of his who was in silent prayer. Jaak then suddenly exclaimed: "Ah!!!!!! That's Paul. I am very pleased to see you. Wonderful to see you. How are you doing?"

And then suddenly there was an interesting movement: Everyone wanted to see what was going on. Jaak then sat down in silent prayer. As I watched this interesting interruption and the expected reactions, following the opening of the door, I suddenly thought that perhaps before the vision of Vatican II dies out, the Holy Spirit will force some doors open for fresh air and for a surprising movement like that introduced by Jaak with his powerful greeting in our chapel that evening.

These very few times I met him, I had a sense of a man who was passionate about liberation in all forms. He asked with interest. And yet, there seemed to be a sense of a man who must have suffered for his free mind, and for his search for truth.

Jaak Seynaeve has now returned to the Lord, after having lived a life to the full. May his insights and values be a source of strength to his many friends, confreres, and relatives. And above all, may he look after the Africa he passionately thought about in his life and work in and out of Africa!!!!!!

May he rest in peace.

Aloysius Beebwa

P.O. Box 1056,
Jinja,  Uganda, East Africa

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Brother James Kennedy
1915 - 2011

died in London on 7th April 2011
aged 95 years, of which 74 were spent as a missionary
in Israel, Zambia and Great Britain.

Original Diocese:
Spiritual Year:
Serment Temporaire
Serment Perp?uel

14-11-1937 J?usalem Isra?
01-08-1947 Heston G.B.
01-01-1948 St Andrews
21-06-1948 St Boswells
01-08-1954 Bishop's Waltham
01-08-1956 St Boswells
27-05-1958 Grande Retraite Heverlee
19-08-1963 London,15 Holland V.R
25-11-1963 Dorking
01-08-1965 London,14 Holland V.R
01-01-1966 Procure Ndola Zambia
07-01-1970 Bursar Malole, D.Kasama Zambia
01-07-1973 Maintenance Chilubi
01-01-1976 Maintenance Chilubula
01-01-1977 Chilubi
01-01-1979 Lualua Farm, D.Kasama
01-01-1982 Maintenance Lusaka,Woodlands
01-07-1986 Accueil Mbala,D.Mbala Zambia
01-04-1992 Accueil Kasama, D.Kasama Zambia
10-06-1994 Cong?Prov.
01-07-1994 Nomm?G.B.(P.E.94/8)
02-07-1994 Residence London,Woodville Gdn
29-09-1997 Residence London,Corfton Road
01-06-2007 Residence H.C.: London
07-04-2011 Back to the Father (84) at London G.B.

Mike Mearns writes (January 2013):

Brother David - he was "the Man" at St Boswells when I arrived in 1953. Ever busy about the farm and the house in his faded blue boiler suit. I recall being recruitd by him one day off to shovel anthracite in the boiler room. A truck delivered 2 or 3 loads of the stuff and 3 or 4 of us lads first shoveled it down the hole and then moved it from the front to the back of the boiler room so the hopper could be loaded easily. Bro. David took his turn and celebrated the completion of the task by bringing us a couple of bottles of pop. Cream Soda as I recall.

May he rest in peace.

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Father Adrian Smith
1930 - 2011

Fr Smith died at his residence in Nuneaton , on Friday 27th May 2011,
at the age of 81 years of which 56 of missionary life in Zambia, Ireland, and UK.

Original diocese:
St Annes-on-Sea
Spiritual Year:
Taking of the Oath:

16-08-1955 Promotion work Sutton Coldfield Great Britain
01-09-1963 Etudes "Lumen Vitae" Bruxelles Belgique
01-12-1963 Language Course Ilondola Zambia
29-06-1964 Lufubu, D.F.Rosebery Zambia
01-01-1965 Nsakaluba
01-04-1965 Catholic Secretariat Lusaka,Woodlands
01-07-1968 Consult./Sec.Unity Christians
01-08-1975 Project SECAM:WCFBA Lusaka,Woodlands Zambia
28-02-1979 Session-Retraite J?usalem
01-09-1979 Irish Sc.Ecum. H.C. Dublin Ireland
01-08-1980 M.B.W. H.C.: Birmingham G.B.
01-09-1988 M.B.W. H.C.: Stone,Staffs. G.B.
01-01-1994 Missionary work London,Oak Lodge G.B.
01-06-1996 Mis. work H.C.: London,Palmers Gr. G.B.
13-09-2000 Session 70+ Roma, M.G.
01-11-2003 Ministry, J&P H.C.: London G.B.
01-10-2006 Ministry H.C.: ..Walsall G.B.
27-05-2011 Back to the Father (81) at Nuneaton G.B.

May he rest in peace.

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The testimony of Fr Smith
From Petit Echo n? 1015 2010/

My missionary journey

I was ordained in 1955 to serve an unreformed Catholic Church. The previous seven years of Philosophy, Scripture, Theology and Spirituality, had given me a ?ackage of truths?which, as a young priest, I understood it was my duty to pass on in its integrity to whichever people in Africa I was sent.

After seven years of promotion work in England I was appointed to (the then) Northern Rhodesia. Fortunately, my future Bishop required me to do a year at Lumen Vitae (International Higher Religious Education Institute) in Brussels. It was the first year of Vatican 2 and several of the lecturers were periti at the Council. This year was a complete eye-opener for me. For the first time, I became excited by theology. The experience launched me on a theological journey which has grown more embracing ever since.

Change in my religious ideal
My arrival in Africa caused the next shift in my religious paradigm. I soon found so many of my basic assumptions challenged. I met so many thoroughly good-living people that I realised the Holy Spirit had been there long before my arrival. I came to see that there are no specifically Christian values which are not the same as the highest human values appreciated by all humanity. However, I felt uneasy about the process of our evangelisation (and still do). When St Paul visited the countries of Asia Minor with the Good News, his converts realised that to respond they had to form some kind of community. He let each culture respond in their own way. Here were we, (and still are) not only bringing the Gospel message but requiring that it be responded to with a European-packaged structure.

After two years ?n the bush?I was called to Lusaka to serve the Bishops?Conference as Secretary for Church Affairs (comprising Ecumenism, Biblical Apostolate, Liturgy and Catechetics), which I did for ten years. So soon after Independence, it was an exciting time.

My appointment in the mid-1970s to promote the Biblical Apostolate in all the 24 English-speaking countries of Africa took me into biblical studies at a new depth. It was an enlightenment to me to discover that Jesus?message was not about a Church but about what he referred to with the metaphor ?he Kingdom of God? So my mission motivation became much broader: to promote God? design for this world. Yes, I still considered myself as a missionary, but a missionary of the Kingdom, not of the Church. I regarded my Church membership, my priesthood and my WF membership as simply the means to that end.

Various paths to reach ultimate reality
The next major influence on my mind-expanding journey occurred upon my return from Africa. I was given a year? sabbatical and spent that doing an MA course at the Irish School of Ecumenics. Previously, I had served a five-year term as a Consultor to what was then the Secretariat for Christian Unity. Working for the Zambian bishops, I had had a lot of grassroots ecumenical experience, but I felt I lacked a theology of it.

As we studied not only relations between Christian Churches but relations with other Faiths, it was a mind-stretching year which gave me an appreciation of how many valid paths there are to the Ultimate Reality.
A nudge of particular significance at this time was my introduction to Transcendental Meditation as a contemplative form of prayer, which I have been practising twice daily for the last 36 years. It is my deepest form of prayer, replacing the Divine Office, which had never touched me as prayer. I can no longer pray in words. TM took me into the world of non-religious spirituality.

Returning from Ireland, I was invited to join the British group of Movement for a Better World, but on the condition I would be released for two months each year to work with MBW groups in Africa ?mainly Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This I did for ten years, five of which as Director of the British Group. MBW was a very useful vehicle for speaking about Africa in the UK.

Experience of breakage
During the last decade, I have been moving into yet a further paradigm in which I experience a break with (or perhaps, an advance upon) mainstream Church thinking. What impels and absorbs me today is to address the interface between Christian belief and the emerging new consciousness, which is evident world-wide (in Africa too), but to a greater extent in the western world.

The Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), is an international network based on faith, mandated by almost fifty Catholic Religious Missionary Institutes working in Africa and Europe. AEFJN seeks to promote economic justice between the European Union and Africa to enable guarantees for a better future for the peoples of Africa.

Now, as I go about England ?at the age of 80 ?lecturing on this subject, I pepper my talks with examples from Africa.

I represent the British Section on the AEFJN committee and edit a quarterly ?frica Action Sheet?for AEFJN. Various websites keep me posted on current African affairs, and occasionally I take action, for instance by writing to my MP or to Multinationals on African concerns, especially on the Trade in Small Arms.

Through Amnesty International, I write to support prisoners of conscience in Africa. Once or twice a month, I am sent to a parish to make a mission appeal, which allows me to preach about Africa at all the Masses. Between whiles, I write books. (I have written 17) I sit on two national committees: Catholics for a Changing Church and CANA (Christians Awakening to a New Consciousness), both of which nourish my spiritual journey.

Adrian B Smith

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