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<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong><strong>Given</strong> <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionReflections on <strong>the</strong> Centennial of <strong>the</strong> Death ofSaints Arnold JanssenandJoseph FreinademetzSVD-SSpS-SSpSAPCommon PublicationJanuary 15, 2010

<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong><strong>Given</strong> <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionReflections on <strong>the</strong> Centennial of <strong>the</strong> Death ofSaints Arnold JanssenandJoseph FreinademetzSVD-SSpS-SSpSAPCommon PublicationJanuary 15, 2010

The Logo <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> centennial (front cover) was designed bySr. Augusta Lianawati Surijah, SSpSLayout and D<strong>is</strong>tribution: Sebastian Mattappallil, SVDgenpub08@gmail.comPrinted by GESP Italia, Città di Castello (PG)January 20102

ContentsForeword................................................................................ 5I. General In<strong>for</strong>mationJoint Circular Letter of <strong>the</strong> Three Superiors GeneralAnnouncing <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year ofArnold and Joseph ......................................................... 7St. Arnold Janssen: Significant Dates ............................. 12St. Joseph Freinademetz: Significant Dates ................... 14II.Reflections on Arnold Janssenand Joseph Freinademetz<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong> given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionAdeline Ayivor, SSpS...................................................... 18<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong> given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionCarol Welp, SSpS ............................................................ 23A Tribute to Saints Arnold and JosephGracy Antony, SSpS ....................................................... 27III. Reflections on Arnold Janssen:Bi-monthly Reflections <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year,Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center“The Love of God shines in our Hearts in RainbowColors” Peter McHugh, SVD ........................................ 34The Euchar<strong>is</strong>t in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong> of Arnold JanssenFranz<strong>is</strong>ka Carolina Rehbein, SSpS ................................. 38Arnold Janssen and <strong>the</strong> Parable of <strong>the</strong> KingdomLeo Kleden, SVD ............................................................. 43Arnold Janssen and <strong>the</strong> Will of GodMary Ca<strong>the</strong>rine, SSpSAP ............................................... 47Arnold Janssen: A Man of DialogueMichael Somers, SVD ..................................................... 52O<strong>the</strong>r Reflections on Arnold Janssen“Et tui errant” – 100th Death Anniversary ofArnold Janssen, Antonio Pernia, SVD ........................ 573

Reflection on Arnold JanssenMary John Kudiyiruppil, SSpS ...................................... 61Arnold Janssen (1837-1909)Josef Alt, SVD ................................................................ 67IV. Reflections on Joseph FreinademetzReflections on St. Joseph FreinademetzPietro Irsara, SVD................................................................ 82O<strong>the</strong>r Reflections on Joseph FreinademetzHomily on Fr. Joseph FreinademetzAntonio Pernia, SVD.................................................... 114Relevance of Freinademetz in <strong>the</strong> Asian ContextAnthony Poruthur, SVD .............................................. 118Joseph Freinademetz: H<strong>is</strong> “Conversion”Arnold Sprenger, SVD .................................................. 135V. Aids <strong>for</strong> Prayer and CelebrationsPrayers and LitaniesCentennial PrayerArnold Janssen Secretariat Steyl .................................. 140Litany of Thanksgiving <strong>for</strong> Arnold Janssenand Joseph FreinademetzSSpS USA Province...................................................... 141Novena to Arnold Janssen and Joseph Freinademetz,SSpS USA Province...................................................... 142Sayings of <strong>the</strong> two SaintsSayings of Arnold Janssen ............................................. 151Sayings of Joseph Freinademetz ................................... 152Arnold Janssen’s Top Ten Bible PassagesPeter McHugh, SVD .................................................... 154PoemsWe pra<strong>is</strong>e You Blessed Three in OneLourdes Anne Berbano, SSpS ....................................... 156Arnold Janssen: Who <strong>is</strong> Th<strong>is</strong> Man?Lourdes Anne Berbano, SSpS ....................................... 1584

FOREWORDJanuary 28, 2008, and January 15, 2009, marked <strong>the</strong> 100 thanniversary of <strong>the</strong> death of St. Joseph Freinademetz and St.Arnold Janssen, respectively. We in <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus Family(M<strong>is</strong>sionary S<strong>is</strong>ters <strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit, <strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong>Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration, and Society of <strong>the</strong> DivineWord) celebrated <strong>the</strong> year (January 2008 to January 2009) inhonor of our two saints. During that time <strong>the</strong>re were manyreflections and presentations given in various provinces and/orthrough various media. At <strong>the</strong>ir joint meeting in January of 2009,<strong>the</strong> General Councils of <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionary S<strong>is</strong>ters and Divine WordM<strong>is</strong>sionaries, decided to ga<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> items toge<strong>the</strong>r and publ<strong>is</strong>h<strong>the</strong>m in some <strong>for</strong>mat <strong>for</strong> posterity.Th<strong>is</strong> publication <strong>is</strong> a collection of some of <strong>the</strong> reflections,homilies, conferences and presentations written specificallyduring that year to deepen our appreciation of <strong>the</strong>se two saintsand our own spirituality. It <strong>is</strong> not a researched compendiumbut a booklet that can serve <strong>the</strong> members in fur<strong>the</strong>r reflectionon <strong>the</strong> life and spirituality of <strong>the</strong>se two saints.Guidelines used in choosing <strong>the</strong> selections were <strong>the</strong>se:• <strong>the</strong> selection’s availability• <strong>the</strong> selection was composed particularly <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> year’scelebration• <strong>the</strong> selection speaks to members beyond a particularcommunity or province• <strong>the</strong> selection has a lasting quality that transcends <strong>the</strong> periodof “centennial celebration.”Undoubtedly <strong>the</strong>re are items ex<strong>is</strong>ting in <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus FamilyUniverse not included here. Th<strong>is</strong> may be due to <strong>the</strong>irunavailability (<strong>the</strong>y did not reach <strong>the</strong> collators), <strong>the</strong>ir geographic5

limits (<strong>the</strong>y spoke primarily to a specific audience), <strong>the</strong>ir authorsare unknown, and/or <strong>the</strong>ir time limits (<strong>the</strong>y referred frequentlyand specifically to <strong>the</strong> “centennial celebration”). Fur<strong>the</strong>r, out ofrespect <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> environment (use less paper) and to contain costsof publication, only a few black and white pictures are includedin th<strong>is</strong> publication.The collators thank <strong>the</strong> two General Councils <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir supportof th<strong>is</strong> venture. Gratitude also goes to those who took <strong>the</strong> timeto send contributions, to those who ass<strong>is</strong>ted with translations,to those who edited or proof-read <strong>the</strong> items included here, andto those who graciously understood why some items are notincluded.Perhaps th<strong>is</strong> can be a prelude to a future, larger, and morecomprehensive work on <strong>the</strong> spirituality of <strong>the</strong>se two saints.The collators:Judith Vallimont, SSpSMaria Elizabeth Ello, SSpSHerbert Scholz, SVD6


Palm Sunday01 April 2007S01 / 2007To all Members of <strong>the</strong> SVD, SSpS andSSpSAPIn re: Centennial Year of Arnold and JosephDear S<strong>is</strong>ters and Confreres,Soon we will commemorate <strong>the</strong> 100 th death anniversary of ourtwo saints Joseph Freinademetz on January 29, 2008 and ArnoldJanssen on January 15, 2009. The SVD 16 th General Chapterrecommended that <strong>the</strong> SVD Generalate and Provinces/Regionsorganize celebrations <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>se centennials. In line with th<strong>is</strong>recommendation, <strong>the</strong> SVD General Council and <strong>the</strong> SSpSCongregational Leadership Team met on January 22, 2007 tod<strong>is</strong>cuss and plan <strong>the</strong> celebrations toge<strong>the</strong>r.In th<strong>is</strong> meeting we agreed to celebrate <strong>the</strong>se events in commonas <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus Family. Our Adoration S<strong>is</strong>ters were subsequentlyinvited, and <strong>the</strong>y have agreed to join us in th<strong>is</strong> family celebration.By celebrating <strong>the</strong>se events in common, we w<strong>is</strong>h to streng<strong>the</strong>n<strong>the</strong> desire and v<strong>is</strong>ion of St. Arnold that we sustain andcomplement each o<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong> same m<strong>is</strong>sion. All of us stillremember and treasure <strong>the</strong> experience of joy at our mutualcollaboration during <strong>the</strong> preparation and celebration of <strong>the</strong>canonization of Arnold and Joseph. We w<strong>is</strong>h to continue anddeepen th<strong>is</strong> sense of family and partnership in m<strong>is</strong>sion.8

As a result of our common d<strong>is</strong>cussion and planning, we are nowpleased to announce <strong>the</strong>CENTENNIAL YEAR of ARNOLD and JOSEPHwith <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me“<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong> <strong>Given</strong> <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion”29 January 2008-15 January 2009The Year will begin with <strong>the</strong> celebration of <strong>the</strong> 100 th anniversaryof <strong>the</strong> death of Saint Joseph Freinademetz on 29th January 2008and close with <strong>the</strong> 100 th anniversary of <strong>the</strong> death of Saint ArnoldJanssen on 15th January 2009.1. Main ObjectivesThe Centennial Year celebrations should aim at <strong>the</strong> followingobjectives:1.1. To deepen our own knowledge of <strong>the</strong> two saints.1.2. To grow toge<strong>the</strong>r as one family.1.3. To make <strong>the</strong> two saints more known in <strong>the</strong> localchurches.1.4. To reach out more to our lay partners.2. General PrinciplesThe following principles should characterize <strong>the</strong> celebrations:2.1. The two events should be celebrated toge<strong>the</strong>r; afterall, <strong>the</strong> two saints have always been seen as veryclosely linked with each o<strong>the</strong>r.2.2. The focus should be less on <strong>the</strong>ir personalities andmore on <strong>the</strong> cause <strong>for</strong> which <strong>the</strong>y lived and <strong>the</strong> values<strong>for</strong> which <strong>the</strong>y stood. We would like especially tohighlight <strong>the</strong>ir relevance <strong>for</strong> today.2.3. The emphas<strong>is</strong> should be on celebrations on <strong>the</strong>provincial or local level ra<strong>the</strong>r than on a centralizedcelebration in Steyl, Oies or Rome. Indeed, we do not9

10<strong>for</strong>esee any such centralized celebration to whichmembers of our religious family would be invited from<strong>the</strong> provinces/regions. The reason <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> that oneof our main objectives <strong>is</strong> prec<strong>is</strong>ely to make <strong>the</strong> twosaints and <strong>the</strong>ir relevance <strong>for</strong> today known to peoplein our countries and in our par<strong>is</strong>hes, m<strong>is</strong>sions,institutions.2.4. The celebrations should be kept simple, reflecting <strong>the</strong>lives of St. Arnold and St. Joseph.3. Role of <strong>the</strong> GeneralatesThe role of our generalates will principally be to animate andencourage local celebrations and to provide some guidelines. A“Central Planning Comm<strong>is</strong>sion” <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year,composed of two SVD confreres and two SSpS s<strong>is</strong>ters, has been<strong>for</strong>med at our generalates with <strong>the</strong> twofold task of planning <strong>the</strong>celebrations in Rome and acting as <strong>the</strong> point of reference <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>provinces/regions. Through th<strong>is</strong> “Central PlanningComm<strong>is</strong>sion”, <strong>the</strong> generalates intend to provide <strong>the</strong> following:3.1. In collaboration with <strong>the</strong> AJSC, guides <strong>for</strong> reflectionsevery two months;3.2. In collaboration with <strong>the</strong> Italian Province, a DVDversion of <strong>the</strong> canonization and of <strong>the</strong> video “DerChinese aus Tirol” in German, Italian, Engl<strong>is</strong>h andSpan<strong>is</strong>h;3.3. O<strong>the</strong>r materials like articles, prayers, meditations,photos, bibliographies;3.4. A special “Centennial” section in both <strong>the</strong> SVD andSSpS generalate websites. Th<strong>is</strong> section will contain <strong>the</strong>bi-monthly guides <strong>for</strong> reflections (3.1.), <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rmaterials (3.3.), a l<strong>is</strong>t of different activities organizedin <strong>the</strong> various provinces/regions, institutions, par<strong>is</strong>hes.Details of th<strong>is</strong> section of our websites will becommunicated later by <strong>the</strong> Central PlanningComm<strong>is</strong>sion. Special e-mail addresses have been

obtained <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Central Planning Comm<strong>is</strong>sion, and<strong>the</strong>y are: centennial@verbodivino.it andcentennial@worldssps.org.4. Fur<strong>the</strong>r SuggestionsThe SVD General Council has approached <strong>the</strong> German, Italianand China Provinces, as well as <strong>the</strong> AJSC, <strong>for</strong> some proposals<strong>for</strong> meaningful celebrations of <strong>the</strong> events. Considering <strong>the</strong>seproposals, we now present some suggestions on how tocommemorate <strong>the</strong>se anniversaries on provincial and local levels:4.1. Communications Media:- Use <strong>the</strong> already ex<strong>is</strong>ting SVD and SSpS publicationsto make known our saints and <strong>the</strong>ir relevance <strong>for</strong>today;- Where possible, make use of diocesan or localmagazines and newspapers to publ<strong>is</strong>h articles aboutour saints or our congregations;- Calendars with sayings of St. Arnold and St. Josephcan be printed <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year;- Use radio and TV, according to <strong>the</strong> possibilities andpractices in each country, to ra<strong>is</strong>e awareness of <strong>the</strong>saints coming liturgical feasts;- Prepare DVD, CD or modules that present clearly<strong>the</strong> values that <strong>the</strong>y lived <strong>for</strong>, in a language bestunderstood by people today, especially <strong>the</strong> youngones;- Employ art<strong>is</strong>tic talents <strong>for</strong> songs, paintings, plays,etc.4.2. Retreats and recollections:at <strong>the</strong> provincial, community, individual levels,focusing on <strong>the</strong> two saints.11

4.3. Prayers and liturgical celebrations:ei<strong>the</strong>r using ex<strong>is</strong>ting liturgical texts or drawing up newones.4.4. Pilgrimages:can be organized at diocesan/par<strong>is</strong>h/institutional levelsespecially <strong>for</strong> our lay partners.- In Europe: Programs <strong>for</strong> pilgrimages to Steyl, Gochor Oies will be prepared by <strong>the</strong> German and Italianprovinces;- In o<strong>the</strong>r continents: Presuming that in somecountries <strong>the</strong>re are already churches, small chapelsor shrines built in honor of St. Arnold and St. Joseph,pilgrimages could be made to <strong>the</strong>se.Dear bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters, we invite you to fully use yourinitiative and creativity throughout <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year, keepingin mind <strong>the</strong> guidelines, particularly <strong>the</strong> main emphas<strong>is</strong>. As tothose aspects of our family celebration where <strong>the</strong> AdorationS<strong>is</strong>ters cannot actively participate, we have been assured thatby adoration and intercessory prayer be<strong>for</strong>e our Lord in <strong>the</strong>Euchar<strong>is</strong>t <strong>the</strong>y will contribute to <strong>the</strong> contemplative dimensionof our celebration, as St. Arnold and St. Joseph would certainlyw<strong>is</strong>h. May <strong>the</strong>se celebrations deepen our own knowledge of <strong>the</strong>two saints, help us grow toge<strong>the</strong>r as one family and make <strong>the</strong>two saints more known in <strong>the</strong> different local churches.United in <strong>the</strong> Word and <strong>the</strong> Spirit,Sr. Agada Brand, SSpSCongregational LeaderSr. Mary Cecilia, SSpSAPSuperior GeneralFr. Antonio M. Pernia, SVDSuperior General12

Arnold Janssen(1837–1909)Founder• <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word• <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionary S<strong>is</strong>ters <strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong> HolySpirit• <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ter-<strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit ofPerpetual AdorationSignificant DatesNovember 5, 1837 Arnold Janssen born in Goch1848-1855 Primary school in Goch and minorseminary GaesdonckJuly 11, 1855 School leaving examination, Muenster1855-1859 Studies in ma<strong>the</strong>matics, natural sciences,and philosophy in Muenster and Bonn1859-1861 Theology studies in Bonn and MuensterJune 16, 1859 High school teaching qualificationAugust 15, 1861 Ordained priest in Muenster ca<strong>the</strong>dral1861-1873 Teacher at Bocholt public school13

1866 Member of Apostleship of Prayer. Start ofintensive promotion, traveling andpubl<strong>is</strong>hing in German speaking areas ofEurope1873-1875 Chaplain to <strong>the</strong> Ursulines in Kempen1874 M<strong>is</strong>sion magazine Little Messenger of <strong>the</strong>Sacred HeartDecember 3, 1874 Perm<strong>is</strong>sion to found a m<strong>is</strong>sion house inRoermond diocese (Ne<strong>the</strong>rlands)September 8, 1875 Inauguration of St. Michael’s M<strong>is</strong>sionHouse in SteylJanuary 27, 1876 Inauguration of <strong>the</strong> Steyl M<strong>is</strong>sion Press1878 Periodical Die heilige Stadt Gottes1878 Acceptance of <strong>the</strong> first lay [m<strong>is</strong>sionary]bro<strong>the</strong>r postulantsMarch 2, 1878 First m<strong>is</strong>sionaries sent to China: JosephFreinademetz and John B. Anzer1884-1886 First General Chapter and establ<strong>is</strong>hment of<strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word (SVD)Arnold Janssen Superior General <strong>for</strong> lifeSuccessive acceptance of m<strong>is</strong>sion territorieson all continentsDecember 8, 1889 Foundation of <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionary S<strong>is</strong>tersDecember 8, 1896 Foundation of <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters of PerpetualAdorationJanuary 15, 1909 Death of Arnold Janssen in SteylOctober 19, 1975 Beatification of Arnold Janssen and JosephFreinademetz by Pope Paul VIOctober 5, 2003 Canonization of A. Janssen and J.Freinademetz by Pope John Paul II[Arnold Janssen: Serving <strong>the</strong> Universal Church. Compiled by StefanUeblackner SVD. Publ<strong>is</strong>hed by <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word, Rome, 2003]14

Joseph Freinademetz SVD(1852–1908)Pioneer of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word M<strong>is</strong>sionaries in ChinaSignificant DatesApril 4, 1852Joseph Freinademetz born in Oies, Abtei,South Tyrol1858-1862 Ladin primary school in Abtei1862-1876 German primary school, high school andPhilosophy/Theology in BrixenJuly 25, 1875 Priestly ordination1876-1878 Curate at St. Martin’s in <strong>the</strong> Gader Valley1878-79 SteylMarch 2, 1879 M<strong>is</strong>sion-departure celebration, farewell toh<strong>is</strong> home country1879-1881 Saikung, Hong Kong1882 Arrival in Puoli, South Shandong1882-1884 Itinerant m<strong>is</strong>sionary1884-1886 M<strong>is</strong>sion admin<strong>is</strong>tratorAugust 15, 1886 Final vows15

1886-1890 Itinerant m<strong>is</strong>sionary1890-1891 M<strong>is</strong>sion admin<strong>is</strong>trator1892 Coordinator of <strong>the</strong> Diocesan Synod;v<strong>is</strong>itation tour1893-1894 Director of catech<strong>is</strong>t courses1895-1897 Director of <strong>the</strong> major seminary1897-1898 M<strong>is</strong>sion admin<strong>is</strong>tratorNov. 1, 1897 Murder of Fa<strong>the</strong>rs Nies and HenleNov. 14, 1897 Occupation of Kiaochow Bay by Germantroops1898 New m<strong>is</strong>sion stations in <strong>the</strong> east of SouthShandong1899-1900 M<strong>is</strong>sion admin<strong>is</strong>trator (1900 BoxerUpr<strong>is</strong>ing)1900 Appointment as Provincial1903-1904 M<strong>is</strong>sion admin<strong>is</strong>trator1904-1907 Working with B<strong>is</strong>hop Henninghaus;Provincial center establ<strong>is</strong>hed in Taikia1907-1908 M<strong>is</strong>sion admin<strong>is</strong>tratorJan. 28, 1908 Death of Joseph Freinademetz in Taikia,South ShandongOct. 19, 1975 Beatification of J. Freinademetz and A.Janssen by Paul VIOct. 5, 2003 Canonization of J. Freinademetz and A.Janssen by John Paul II[Joseph Freinademetz: Serving <strong>the</strong> People of China. Compiled by JosefHollweck, SVD. Publ<strong>is</strong>hed by Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word, Rome, 2003]16


<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong><strong>Given</strong> <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionAdeline Ayivor, SSpS“<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion”, th<strong>is</strong> was <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me of<strong>the</strong> Centennial Year. There are three important key words thatstrike me from th<strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>me. These are precious: life and m<strong>is</strong>sion.When we describe something as precious, it means that th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong>very important and dear to us. From one of <strong>the</strong> SSpSCongregational letters, I came across <strong>the</strong> statement which goes,“precious <strong>is</strong> a word that describes water”. I agree 100% withth<strong>is</strong> description. I find it very appropriate because water <strong>is</strong>precious to life. Water as we all know <strong>is</strong> life-giving. Think ofsome uses of water. Imagine, what happens to plants during <strong>the</strong>dry season. You find some plants almost dying, many trees withdry leaves and some without leaves at all. But as soon as <strong>the</strong>first rain falls, green leaves begin to sprout; weak plants regainsome strength; animals in <strong>the</strong> <strong>for</strong>est are able to quench <strong>the</strong>irthirst; gutters are washed clean; and <strong>the</strong> environment begins tolook pleasant. Scarcity of water can bring about famine or evendeath. The abundance of water leads to greater yield of foodcrops <strong>for</strong> human consumption. You can think about all <strong>the</strong>goodness of water. There are exceptions where water can alsodestroy. None<strong>the</strong>less, water <strong>is</strong> life-giving.Similar to <strong>the</strong> word that describes water, we, m<strong>is</strong>sionaries of <strong>the</strong>Arnoldus Family are precious. And to remain precious at alltimes, in all places and to all people <strong>is</strong> our vocation. In o<strong>the</strong>rwords, we are called to be life-giving. And we can be life-givingthrough strong prayer and good works just as Sts. Arnold andJoseph have done.18

We are blessed to be among <strong>the</strong> chosen race, a royal priesthood,a holy nation and a people set apart. We are all gifted with life,a life that <strong>is</strong> precious, to enable us to share in <strong>the</strong> salvific m<strong>is</strong>sionof Chr<strong>is</strong>t, <strong>the</strong> Word made flesh.There are so many people out <strong>the</strong>re who are in need of our love,care and support. There are still thousands of people who arethirsty and hungry <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Word of God. Sometimes we areunable to reach out to those people and places, touched byviolence, abuse of human rights, destruction of <strong>the</strong> environment,calamities and endless sufferings.As m<strong>is</strong>sionaries of <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus family, we are always challengedto affirm hope in <strong>the</strong> midst of <strong>the</strong>se harsh realities as well as <strong>the</strong>realities of our community life. All <strong>the</strong> same, we are called toserve despite <strong>the</strong> difficulties and obstacles.There<strong>for</strong>e, bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters, to be able to remain preciousand to give all our best as m<strong>is</strong>sionaries, we need to follow <strong>the</strong>footsteps of our two Saints, Arnold and Joseph. They have set<strong>the</strong> pace <strong>for</strong> us to follow and if we divert our course, we willfind ourselves in danger. Their number one secret was <strong>the</strong>irconstant union with <strong>the</strong> Triune God through prayer. Theirintimacy with <strong>the</strong> Lord, <strong>the</strong> source of all strength and w<strong>is</strong>dom,helped <strong>the</strong>m to remain in every situation and at all times.All <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary activities of St. Joseph Freinademetz, h<strong>is</strong> zealand h<strong>is</strong> readiness <strong>for</strong> sacrifice as well as h<strong>is</strong> dec<strong>is</strong>ion to follow<strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary vocation, were rooted in and made fruitful byh<strong>is</strong> union with God which was nour<strong>is</strong>hed by prayer.From <strong>the</strong>ir life stories, we read that Sts. Arnold and Joseph weremen of prayer; <strong>the</strong>y prayed without growing weary. They spentlong hours in devotion to <strong>the</strong> Sacred Heart as well as devotionto <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit. St. Arnold said: “Through <strong>the</strong> indwelling HolySpirit our prayers become powerful enough to pierce <strong>the</strong> cloudsand works are made holy”.19

There<strong>for</strong>e we are being encouraged and challenged as well toalways seek <strong>the</strong> guidance of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit in our dailyexperiences.B<strong>is</strong>hop Hemminghaus wrote about St. Freinademetz: “One feltthat <strong>for</strong> him prayer was a vital necessity, <strong>the</strong> very joy of h<strong>is</strong> life.”He also wrote: “In <strong>the</strong> evening when everyone had gone away,he would still devout a good amount of time to pray be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong>Blessed Sacrament and have spiritual reading.”Let us evaluate ourselves. We have 24 hours in a day. How muchtime do we spend with <strong>the</strong> Lord each day? Most often we findourselves spending much time on o<strong>the</strong>r things ra<strong>the</strong>r than with<strong>the</strong> Lord. Sometimes we allow our work, studies or o<strong>the</strong>ractivities to drown us so much that we <strong>for</strong>get about our sourceof strength and inspiration. We are being challenged to allowprayer to permeate all our activities and experiences whe<strong>the</strong>rwe are working or studying. We can only find courage andstrength, w<strong>is</strong>dom and patience to handle <strong>the</strong> task entrusted tous if we remain in constant union with <strong>the</strong> Lord through ourprayer. Jesus tells us th<strong>is</strong> in John’s Gospel, “Live on in me, as Ido in you. No more can a branch bear fruit of itself apart from<strong>the</strong> vine, can you bear fruit apart from me. I am <strong>the</strong> vine, youare <strong>the</strong> branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produceabundantly. For apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15: 4-5).So we will lose our precious nature if we do not pray. We will belike salt that has lost its saltiness or be <strong>the</strong> branch that <strong>is</strong> cut offfrom <strong>the</strong> stem. There <strong>is</strong> a saying that you cannot give what youdo not have; <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, let us remain in Chr<strong>is</strong>t so that we canreflect Chr<strong>is</strong>t to all people.As Sts. Arnold and Joseph were different in personality, <strong>the</strong>yhad different m<strong>is</strong>sionary experiences. But both followed <strong>the</strong> oneway, that <strong>is</strong> following <strong>the</strong> will of God.St. Arnold Janssen was convinced that God’s will <strong>is</strong> made knownto us in <strong>the</strong> concrete circumstances of life so he admon<strong>is</strong>hed h<strong>is</strong>20

Priests, Bro<strong>the</strong>rs and <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters to find God’s will in <strong>the</strong> eventsof <strong>the</strong>ir lives. He believed that God does not allow anything tohappen to us, except <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> own purposes.There<strong>for</strong>e, it <strong>is</strong> important <strong>for</strong> us to recognize God at work in ourlives. That <strong>is</strong> why <strong>the</strong> Scripture says and I sing, “In everythinggive thanks <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> will of God…” We are beingencouraged to accept sufferings as <strong>the</strong>y come. St. Arnold oncesaid, “The sufferings that God sends are grace from which evergreater benefits spring, <strong>the</strong>y prepare us <strong>for</strong> greater joy.” He alsosaid, “God loves those who thank him even in suffering.” St.Arnold always returns to <strong>the</strong> basic teaching of St. Paul in Phil2:5, “The attitude you should have <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> one that Chr<strong>is</strong>t Jesushad’.” He was convinced that, striving to put on <strong>the</strong> mind ofChr<strong>is</strong>t will help us d<strong>is</strong>cover <strong>the</strong> will of God and to follow it.You may ask “In what way can we put on <strong>the</strong> mind of Chr<strong>is</strong>t?”It <strong>is</strong> only by l<strong>is</strong>tening and meditating on <strong>the</strong> Word of God thatwe can know <strong>the</strong> mind of God, because God speaks to us through<strong>the</strong> Scriptures- <strong>the</strong> Divine Word.According to Sr. Mary Ca<strong>the</strong>rine, an SSpSAP, “Fr. Arnold studied<strong>the</strong> Word in an ef<strong>for</strong>t to <strong>for</strong>m h<strong>is</strong> mind and heart according to<strong>the</strong> mind of Chr<strong>is</strong>t”. That was <strong>the</strong> first step of searching <strong>for</strong> God’swill. He also readily sought advice from many B<strong>is</strong>hops ando<strong>the</strong>rs in authority. Yet on some occasions he warned againstconsulting too many people to avoid confusion.Like Abraham, who faithfully followed <strong>the</strong> will of Yahweh byleaving h<strong>is</strong> homeland and journeyed to <strong>the</strong> land he knew nothingabout, (cf. Gen 12: 1-4), St. Joseph also followed <strong>the</strong> will of Godby leaving h<strong>is</strong> own homeland, Tyrol, <strong>for</strong> a land he knew not, <strong>the</strong>land of China. And <strong>the</strong>re, later, he became more Chinese thanTyrolese. In h<strong>is</strong> farewell sermon at St. Martin’s Church on 11thJuly 1878, he said, he heard God’s call exhorting him in <strong>the</strong>sewords, “Leave your home country and go toge<strong>the</strong>r with <strong>the</strong> GoodShepherd, to seek out <strong>the</strong> sheep that has gone astray and to helpyour poor bro<strong>the</strong>rs in a far d<strong>is</strong>tant land”, Joseph heard th<strong>is</strong> still21

voice of God and responded as in <strong>the</strong> words of <strong>the</strong> Galilee song,“Deep within my heart I feel voices calling me from within… SoI leave my boat behind, leave <strong>the</strong>m on familiar shore…”Each one of us has been called to leave our homeland, our familyand friends, our com<strong>for</strong>table and familiar shores <strong>for</strong> unfamiliarplaces and people. With our own strength, we will never survive.The grace of God, through prayer, streng<strong>the</strong>ns us to persevereeach day as precious servants of God.Like Solomon, St. Arnold and Joseph were models of prudence.They sought nothing but w<strong>is</strong>dom from God in dealing withpeople. They showed in <strong>the</strong>ir lives <strong>the</strong> spirit of love. Th<strong>is</strong> virtueprompted Joseph to say, “<strong>the</strong> language of love <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> languagethat everyone understands”. We must remember that we arecalled as family to encourage one ano<strong>the</strong>r and pray <strong>for</strong> oneano<strong>the</strong>r. Sometimes we concentrate so much on people outsideand <strong>for</strong>get about or neglect <strong>the</strong> needs and concerns of our owns<strong>is</strong>ters as SSpS and confreres as SVDs. St. Joseph admon<strong>is</strong>hes usonce again as he told h<strong>is</strong> confreres, “Let us love one ano<strong>the</strong>rwith a truly fraternal love. Let us be patient with one ano<strong>the</strong>r,inspiring one ano<strong>the</strong>r <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> good”. St. Arnold also encouragesus: “Everything <strong>is</strong> possible by <strong>the</strong> power of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit’sgrace”.Chr<strong>is</strong>t, <strong>the</strong> true vine, has prom<strong>is</strong>ed to make all things new but itmust begin with you and me starting today because he <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>way.[Joint SVD-SSpS Family Feast, Ghana, January 16, 2009]22

<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong><strong>Given</strong> <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionCarol Welp, SSpSOne day a mo<strong>the</strong>r took her young son, Walter, into <strong>the</strong> heart of<strong>the</strong> city and <strong>the</strong>re <strong>the</strong>y were coming towards a big CatholicChurch. She pointed it out to Walter saying “That’s our bigCa<strong>the</strong>dral here in <strong>the</strong> city. alter looked up at <strong>the</strong> Church andsaid , “Mommy, why don’t <strong>the</strong>y wash <strong>the</strong>ir windows.” he mo<strong>the</strong>rgrinned and said, “Son, those are special windows, <strong>the</strong>y aren’tdirty! They may look that way on <strong>the</strong> outside, but we will goinside where <strong>the</strong> sun shines through <strong>the</strong>m and you will see howprecious, how beautiful <strong>the</strong>y are. So <strong>the</strong> Mo<strong>the</strong>r took her youngson inside <strong>the</strong> Church and showed him <strong>the</strong> beautiful window of<strong>the</strong> saints: <strong>the</strong> sun shown through and <strong>the</strong>y could see St. Peter,St Franc<strong>is</strong>, St Margaret Mary and more.The next day <strong>the</strong> young boy went to school and in h<strong>is</strong> religionclass <strong>the</strong> teacher talked about saints. The teacher asked <strong>the</strong> class,“Can any one tell me who are <strong>the</strong> saints?” Walter, who had hash<strong>is</strong> lesson <strong>the</strong> day be<strong>for</strong>e from h<strong>is</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r, ra<strong>is</strong>ed and waved h<strong>is</strong>hand and said, “Saints may not be so pretty on <strong>the</strong> outside, butinside <strong>the</strong> sun shines through and <strong>the</strong>y become very precious.”Yes a saint <strong>is</strong> some one whom <strong>the</strong> Son, <strong>the</strong> Light of <strong>the</strong> Word,and <strong>the</strong> Spirit of Grace shine through. He or she <strong>is</strong> very precious.The preciousness of Arnold’s and Joseph’s lives <strong>is</strong> alreadypublicly declared by <strong>the</strong> Church in <strong>the</strong>ir beatification andcanonization. I think <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me <strong>for</strong> our Centennial year “<strong>Precious</strong><strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion” <strong>is</strong> more about us, than about Arnoldand Joseph. It <strong>is</strong> meant to help you and me to see ourselves andour S<strong>is</strong>ters and Confreres as precious in our lives given <strong>for</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sion. It <strong>is</strong> a call to know who we are and who we are not.23

The Prologue to John’s Gospel gives us a picture of who we areand how precious, blessed we are:St. John tells us “<strong>the</strong> Word became flesh and made H<strong>is</strong> dwellingamong us. And we have seen h<strong>is</strong> glory, <strong>the</strong> glory of an only Soncoming from <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r filled with enduring love. And of th<strong>is</strong>fullness we all have a share, love following upon love. Godlav<strong>is</strong>hes h<strong>is</strong> love upon us; of Jesus’ fullness we all receive, graceupon grace. The more we claim th<strong>is</strong> love, th<strong>is</strong> preciousness, opento it and make it <strong>the</strong> source from which we live, <strong>the</strong> more wewill give our lives <strong>for</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion. That’s what St. Arnold did. In <strong>the</strong>depth of h<strong>is</strong> being he pondered <strong>the</strong> Word, The Word who <strong>is</strong><strong>Life</strong>, <strong>the</strong> Word who <strong>is</strong> Light! A light that shines through darknessand a Light no darkness can put out! And of th<strong>is</strong> light, th<strong>is</strong> word,th<strong>is</strong> love we have all received. Arnold experienced th<strong>is</strong> in h<strong>is</strong>depths until h<strong>is</strong> deepest self was rooted in God. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> whatgave birth to h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary enthusiasm. May th<strong>is</strong> communionwith God be experienced and lived in our hearts and <strong>the</strong> heartsof all human persons. May <strong>the</strong> Sacred heart of Jesus live in ourhearts and in <strong>the</strong> hearts of all people.Are we able to claim and receive <strong>the</strong> gift God <strong>is</strong> offering us andto let it fill our lives until we know our <strong>Precious</strong>ness, ourblessedness and desire it <strong>for</strong> everyone else?After Jesus’ bapt<strong>is</strong>mal experience of H<strong>is</strong> Blessedness, he wasgiven 40 days to ponder what being Beloved entails. We canlearn a lot from H<strong>is</strong> experience about what preciousness <strong>is</strong> and<strong>is</strong> not.1) <strong>Precious</strong>ness <strong>is</strong> not about having all my human desiresand needs sat<strong>is</strong>fied. <strong>Precious</strong>ness and sanctity coex<strong>is</strong>t withhungers, longings, emptiness, restlessness. <strong>Precious</strong>ness<strong>is</strong> receiving <strong>the</strong> Word, <strong>the</strong> Gift of God, in our hungry livesand passing it on.2) <strong>Precious</strong>ness <strong>is</strong> not entitlement nor having specialprivileges. It <strong>is</strong> not about testing God by ins<strong>is</strong>ting on special24

protection or benefits. As one Scripture scholar put it: Wedon’t need to throw ourselves down. We can take <strong>the</strong> stairsdown like ordinary people and still be precious.3) <strong>Precious</strong>ness <strong>is</strong> not about recognition, honor, power, <strong>the</strong>kingdoms of <strong>the</strong> earth. I can be a nobody and still be God’sbeloved daughter or son. <strong>Precious</strong>ness <strong>is</strong> to know be<strong>for</strong>ewhom to genuflect, be<strong>for</strong>e whom to bow.A wonderful image <strong>for</strong> St. Joseph Freinademetz <strong>is</strong> given to usby B<strong>is</strong>hop Gasser of Brixen in h<strong>is</strong> letter of Joseph’s release toArnold: “Take my son, Joseph, and make a first class m<strong>is</strong>sionaryof him. Yes, I am giving you in him <strong>the</strong> pearl of my diocese.”The word pearl has become a metaphor <strong>for</strong> something very rare,very fine, very valuable and precious. Doesn’t’ that sound likeour bo<strong>the</strong>r, St Joseph Freinademmetz? Yet even some of Joseph’sconfreres could see only <strong>the</strong> day-to-day struggles, <strong>the</strong> outsideof <strong>the</strong> stained glass window, not <strong>the</strong> very rare, very valuableand precious person <strong>the</strong>y had in Joseph. They wrote a letter toArnold asking <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> removal from China “because he only sawgood in <strong>the</strong> Chinese. That being <strong>the</strong> case how could Joseph call<strong>the</strong>m to conversion?” For <strong>the</strong>se confreres Joseph’s very fine ,very rare and very valuable love <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Chinese was more anirritant, an annoyance. They couldn’t see h<strong>is</strong> life as precious <strong>for</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sion. They couldn’t see <strong>the</strong> pearl of great price <strong>the</strong>y had in<strong>the</strong>ir midst.A friend of mine once said, “We in St. Arnold’s family are realm<strong>is</strong>sionaries. We can live in war zones, in mosquito infestedareas, among <strong>the</strong> very poor and marginalized, with thosesuffering HIV/Aids. Yes we are real m<strong>is</strong>sionaries, BUT at <strong>the</strong>same time we are not so good at loving and supporting oneano<strong>the</strong>r, at affirming and encouraging our bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>tersin <strong>the</strong>ir m<strong>is</strong>sion and <strong>the</strong>ir preciousness.” Why can’t we acceptand see <strong>the</strong> whole window, <strong>the</strong> dark and ordinary side as wellas <strong>the</strong> side <strong>the</strong> sun shines through? We need to hold both <strong>the</strong>beauty and <strong>the</strong> not so beautiful and know th<strong>is</strong> person <strong>is</strong> OK, <strong>is</strong>25

precious. If God can say to my confrere, my s<strong>is</strong>ter “You are goodand I love you”! Then he/she <strong>is</strong> good!!Jesus knew Himself as <strong>the</strong> Blessed one of <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r and Hecould look out and see blessedness all around:Blessed are <strong>the</strong> poor,Blessed are <strong>the</strong> peace-makers,Blessed are those suffering persecutionHe also said “Look at <strong>the</strong> flowers in <strong>the</strong> field, look how beautiful<strong>the</strong>y are. Look at <strong>the</strong> birds of <strong>the</strong> air. How gloriously <strong>the</strong>y fly.”And look at you. Can you not see? Open your eyes - You aremore than all of <strong>the</strong>se. You are God’s beloved one. You areprecious, open your eyes. You live in God and God lives in you!You and I are small, but we are one with our God and God’sm<strong>is</strong>sion. How small we are, how many our limitations, but howgreat <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion our smallness partakes in. Let us open oureyes and see ourselves and our S<strong>is</strong>ters and Confreres as <strong>the</strong> Sunshines through us. Then like Saints Arnold and Joseph ourm<strong>is</strong>sionary task <strong>is</strong> in <strong>the</strong> words of <strong>the</strong> St. Paul to proclaim th<strong>is</strong>good news so “ that all will be able to grasp fully <strong>the</strong> breadth,<strong>the</strong> length, <strong>the</strong> height and depth of Chr<strong>is</strong>t’s love and experienceth<strong>is</strong> love which surpasses all knowledge so that all may attainto <strong>the</strong> fullness of God himself.”<strong>Precious</strong> indeed are our lives given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion.[Homily on January 15, 2009. USA]26

A Tribute to Sts. Arnold Janssenand Joseph FreinademetzGracy Antony, SSpSIn every celebration that I attended, both at <strong>the</strong> opening andclosing of <strong>the</strong> death centennial year of Sts. Arnold Janssen andJoseph Freinademetz, or any o<strong>the</strong>r program that was organizedthrough <strong>the</strong> year, <strong>the</strong>re was a tone of gratitude. Yes, that <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>sentiment that was perhaps uppermost in <strong>the</strong> heart of every SVD,SSpSAP and SSpS. Gratitude to God, <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> gift of <strong>the</strong> two Saints,and gratitude to <strong>the</strong> Saints, <strong>for</strong> who <strong>the</strong>y were and are to us.“<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion” (Worthwhile <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life of<strong>the</strong> one who gives h<strong>is</strong> all, AJ, 1904). The time and culture we livein are somehow characterized by a certain d<strong>is</strong>taste <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>religiousm<strong>is</strong>sionary vocation. The decreasing number of youngpeople attracted to th<strong>is</strong> way of life and <strong>the</strong> increasing departuresfrom religious congregations allude to th<strong>is</strong> tendency.Perhaps <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me challenges us to look at ourselves, asm<strong>is</strong>sionaries. How precious do we consider our m<strong>is</strong>sionaryvocation? To what depth has th<strong>is</strong> truth of being a d<strong>is</strong>ciple ofJesus, being á m<strong>is</strong>sionary in <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus family, has captivatedus or been uppermost in our consciousness? It <strong>is</strong> vital that thosewho remain committed, are convinced of <strong>the</strong> preciousness ofour vocation, in order to become who we are called to be, togive our best to God in <strong>the</strong> people we serve, and thus to live ourlives to <strong>the</strong> best. For, in giving lies <strong>the</strong> meaning of life. One ofour most precious needs <strong>is</strong> to contribute to and enrich life. Theylive well, who live <strong>for</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs.<strong>Life</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> best and <strong>the</strong> most fundamental gift we have fromGod, and it <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> most precious. Nothing else matters withoutit. The life given <strong>for</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion becomes even more precious, as27

<strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary sees every o<strong>the</strong>r life also as precious and valuable,graced with, dignity,. The m<strong>is</strong>sionary and <strong>is</strong> urged to move in<strong>the</strong> direction of defending, protecting, promoting, and caring<strong>for</strong> life especially where it <strong>is</strong> threatened. The human person in avery special way <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> sacrament of God’s presence. He <strong>is</strong> presentin everything. God’s preferred presence <strong>is</strong> h<strong>is</strong> presence in <strong>the</strong>human being. Meditating on <strong>the</strong> throne of God as <strong>the</strong> humanheart will help us see what a tremendous value m<strong>is</strong>sion work <strong>is</strong>.Imagine that we could gaze into <strong>the</strong> hearts of all those in <strong>the</strong>state of grace. We would see <strong>the</strong>ir hearts suffused and envelopedwith light and at <strong>the</strong> center <strong>the</strong> Triune God. What an aston<strong>is</strong>hingsight! Th<strong>is</strong> truth permeated Arnold to <strong>the</strong> depths of h<strong>is</strong> being; itwas <strong>the</strong> focus of h<strong>is</strong> life around which everything else revolved.Arnold never tired of leading o<strong>the</strong>rs to th<strong>is</strong> living faith,encouraging <strong>the</strong>m to love th<strong>is</strong> divine presence. And so, he wouldsay, “For <strong>the</strong> cause of m<strong>is</strong>sion no sacrifice <strong>is</strong> too great.”In a similar tone, Joseph Freinademetz, wrote to h<strong>is</strong> family fromSteyl in 1879: “Thank God... that <strong>the</strong> Lord has given us <strong>the</strong> graceof having a m<strong>is</strong>sionary in our family. In 1880, he wrote fromChina, “To be a m<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>is</strong> an honor that I would not exchangewith <strong>the</strong> golden crown of <strong>the</strong> emperor of Austria.” In 1884, hewrote: I cannot thank <strong>the</strong> Lord enough <strong>for</strong> having made me am<strong>is</strong>sionary in China.” In 1887, “I do not consider being am<strong>is</strong>sionary as a sacrifice that I offer to God, but as <strong>the</strong> greatestgift that God <strong>is</strong> giving me... When I think of <strong>the</strong> countless gracesthat I have received and continue to receive until now from God...I confess that I could cry. The most beautiful vocation in <strong>the</strong>world <strong>is</strong> being a m<strong>is</strong>sionary.” It <strong>is</strong> important to note that heclaimed <strong>the</strong>se not when things were smooth, easy andcom<strong>for</strong>table, but in <strong>the</strong> midst of <strong>the</strong> struggles that he had to facein <strong>the</strong> initial years in China.I believe we continue as SVD, SSpS, SSpSAP, because we deemour religious m<strong>is</strong>sionary life as precious. If not, it <strong>is</strong> not worthwasting our energies, our years of life. God’s dream <strong>for</strong> each ofus <strong>is</strong> to live life to <strong>the</strong> full. And <strong>the</strong>se two saints who chose to28

move ahead on a ‘road less traveled’ - taking r<strong>is</strong>ks of every kind,never sparing <strong>the</strong>mselves, offering <strong>the</strong>ir lives to somethinggreater than <strong>the</strong>mselves - have opened up be<strong>for</strong>e us <strong>the</strong> road offuller life. Journey on such a road of m<strong>is</strong>sionary commitment asseen in <strong>the</strong>ir lives inevitably calls <strong>for</strong> self dying, “because weare called to follow Jesus on <strong>the</strong> path of a small seed that has todie in order to grow and bear fruit.”Arnold Janssen: A Man of Deep FaithIn reality. <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> no separation between faith and love, as <strong>the</strong>re<strong>is</strong> no faith without active love, and no true love without faith.Both <strong>the</strong> Saints have lived a life of deep faith and great love.Without denying <strong>the</strong>m ei<strong>the</strong>r of <strong>the</strong> virtues, what <strong>is</strong> intendedhere <strong>is</strong> only to highlight one of <strong>the</strong> character<strong>is</strong>tic marks of <strong>the</strong>irlives.It was Arnold’s Faith in <strong>the</strong> Triune God that led Arnold to beopen and attentive to <strong>the</strong> world’s needs, which in turn, led himto found <strong>the</strong> three congregations with <strong>the</strong>ir particular m<strong>is</strong>sionarythrust. The inner strength that enabled him to persevere in <strong>the</strong>face of tremendous difficulties and opposition was h<strong>is</strong> deeprootedness in God, and h<strong>is</strong> radical surrender to God’s will. In<strong>the</strong> initial years, he had plenty of external privations andlimitations to bear. These did not become a big burden to himand he put up with <strong>the</strong>m bravely. What was harder was to bear<strong>the</strong> contempt of so many educated and influential personalitieswho viewed h<strong>is</strong> work skeptically and judged it negatively and,<strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, did not offer him <strong>the</strong> necessary support. He was lookedon as a man of eccentric ideas. Throughout h<strong>is</strong> life he had alsoto struggle with h<strong>is</strong> own personal limitations. Engaging in real<strong>is</strong>sues often exposed h<strong>is</strong> personal vulnerabilities. Yet, as a manof unshakable trust in <strong>the</strong> God who led him by hand, as it were,he went ahead with h<strong>is</strong> convictions amid controversies andoppositions. Arnold’s capital was h<strong>is</strong> unshakable trust in Godand <strong>the</strong> conviction that God had called him to <strong>the</strong> work ofm<strong>is</strong>sion.29

Joseph Freinademetz: A Man of Great LoveFreinademetz’s natural gifts of ‘attractive kindness, ofpleasantness, of a friendly and charming personality <strong>for</strong>med <strong>the</strong>backdrop that made of him a m<strong>is</strong>sionary of love. The deepestdriving <strong>for</strong>ce of h<strong>is</strong> life was love. “Most of <strong>the</strong> time, h<strong>is</strong> eyesshone with such attractive goodness, with such serenity that <strong>the</strong>Chinese easily trusted him and felt at home with him,” B<strong>is</strong>hopHenninghaus recounted. Joseph said, “The pagans will only beconverted by <strong>the</strong> grace of God and, let us add, by our love, <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> language of love <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> only <strong>for</strong>eign language which <strong>the</strong>pagans understand.” Freinademetz had evidently learned tospeak th<strong>is</strong> ‘<strong>for</strong>eign language’ very well. “The apostolate <strong>is</strong> love,a work of love: <strong>the</strong> more a m<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>is</strong> imbued with love’, <strong>the</strong>more he <strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary. M<strong>is</strong>sion must be a matter of <strong>the</strong> heart”he said ano<strong>the</strong>r time. He had understood <strong>the</strong> message of <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>Master, Jesus, that <strong>the</strong> essence of Chr<strong>is</strong>tian and m<strong>is</strong>sionary life<strong>is</strong> love, and what <strong>is</strong> loved lives. Th<strong>is</strong> conviction was h<strong>is</strong> sourceof strength through many an experience of being tested and tried,of being rejected and insulted. In h<strong>is</strong> loving, he didn’t sparehimself at all. As someone said, he ‘burnt <strong>the</strong> candle at bo<strong>the</strong>nds.’ It was simply natural that at Joseph’s death, one who knewhim expressed h<strong>is</strong> feelings with <strong>the</strong> words: “I feel as if I had lostmy fa<strong>the</strong>r and my mo<strong>the</strong>r.”The two men shine be<strong>for</strong>e us as saints, primarily because of <strong>the</strong>trans<strong>for</strong>mation <strong>the</strong>y underwent through <strong>the</strong> grace of struggleand surrender to God, because of <strong>the</strong> many vulnerable moments<strong>the</strong>y passed through, which turned out to be graced ones.Surrender in struggle gifts us with change and growth, giveslife depth and v<strong>is</strong>ion, insight and understanding, compassion,and character. It not only trans<strong>for</strong>ms us, it makes us trans<strong>for</strong>mingwe become able and worthy to walk with o<strong>the</strong>rs, becoming morehuman. Struggle <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> process that drives us to find God withinus and in <strong>the</strong> darkness that surrounds us. “How happy arepeople who have surrendered completely to God! While o<strong>the</strong>rscrawl like snails through many troubles and anxieties those who30

have surrendered completely to God run like <strong>the</strong> deer That <strong>is</strong>no wonder because it <strong>is</strong> not <strong>the</strong>y that run, but God draws <strong>the</strong>m...“(AJ).Let one of <strong>the</strong> ‘learnings’ from <strong>the</strong> saints’ lives be: welcominginto our hearts <strong>the</strong> hidden w<strong>is</strong>dom and <strong>the</strong> trans<strong>for</strong>ming powerof struggle and pain, which we, so very often tend to avoid ortry to escape. Our lives would <strong>the</strong>n be very different. Settingourselves on <strong>the</strong>ir path, would certainly be a better expressionof our gratitude and tribute to our Saints than <strong>the</strong> wordyhomilies, speeches and prayers we make in <strong>the</strong>ir honour. Maywe have <strong>the</strong> grace to live <strong>the</strong>ir lifechanging words. May <strong>the</strong>irdream live on in our time and into <strong>the</strong> future![VANI - Newsletter of India South Province; Vol. 19 - No.1 January 2009]31


“The Love of God shines in ourHearts in Rainbow Colors.”(A. Janssen)Peter McHugh, SVDArnold Janssen: <strong>the</strong> wrong person, at <strong>the</strong> wrong time, in <strong>the</strong>wrong place! The wrong person, since Arnold did not have thosepersonal qualities one would normally look <strong>for</strong> in <strong>the</strong> founderof a world-wide enterpr<strong>is</strong>e. A classmate commented, “Of allour class Arnold Janssen would have been one of <strong>the</strong> last youwould consider suited <strong>for</strong> such a task.” The wrong time because<strong>the</strong> 1870s were very difficult <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Church in Germany withChurch leaders impr<strong>is</strong>oned, par<strong>is</strong>hes without priests, religiousorders banned. Due to th<strong>is</strong> Kulturkampf he even had to cross<strong>the</strong> border and found <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion house outside h<strong>is</strong> own country.The wrong person! Yet here we are a hundred years after h<strong>is</strong>death and Arnold <strong>is</strong> more talked about and prayed to than everbe<strong>for</strong>e. The candles placed by pilgrims be<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> Tomb in Steylhave been burning continuously, day and night, since h<strong>is</strong>canonization in 2003. The work he started <strong>is</strong> growing still, andnow with various lay associate groups. We work in over 70countries. More important than th<strong>is</strong> numerical growth are <strong>the</strong>ef<strong>for</strong>ts being made to respond to <strong>the</strong> challenges of our day, evenwhen th<strong>is</strong> leads us along paths hardly imagined by Arnold.Clearly <strong>the</strong> right person and <strong>the</strong> Spirit was able to make gooduse of th<strong>is</strong> “poor instrument of grace.”The Spirit can likew<strong>is</strong>e do great things through us if ourdedication <strong>is</strong> as generous and wholehearted as Arnold’s whosaw h<strong>is</strong> life and m<strong>is</strong>sionary commitment as a response to God’s“inexpressible love.” “All three Persons showed <strong>the</strong>ir love <strong>for</strong>34

us in a completely new and unheard of way. The Eternal Son bybecoming human; <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit by coming to dwell in humanhearts; <strong>the</strong> heavenly Fa<strong>the</strong>r by sending <strong>the</strong> Darlings of h<strong>is</strong> Heart[<strong>the</strong> Son and Spirit] to reveal h<strong>is</strong> love to us.” Sharing in th<strong>is</strong>deepest desire of God <strong>for</strong> humanity was <strong>for</strong> Arnold what m<strong>is</strong>sionwork was all about. H<strong>is</strong> experience of God’s love gave himenthusiasm and strength, and to fur<strong>the</strong>r th<strong>is</strong> will of God he wasready to accept whatever sacrifice was necessary and to put upwith <strong>the</strong> critic<strong>is</strong>m of o<strong>the</strong>rs.Not surpr<strong>is</strong>ing, <strong>the</strong>n, that Paul’s expression, “The love of God <strong>is</strong>poured into our hearts through <strong>the</strong> gift of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit” (Rom5:5), was one of <strong>the</strong> five texts most quoted by Arnold, <strong>for</strong> it <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>bas<strong>is</strong> of all m<strong>is</strong>sion work. Indeed, m<strong>is</strong>sion <strong>is</strong> really God’s loveflowing into our loveless world to bring true life and joy. God’slove continued its flow through Arnold out to <strong>the</strong> world andth<strong>is</strong> led him to appreciate ever more “<strong>the</strong> value of souls, <strong>the</strong>dignity of each person. Love of neighbor finds its highestexpression in spreading <strong>the</strong> Gospel,” was <strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> of h<strong>is</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary enthusiasm, of h<strong>is</strong> burning passion. “For such a causeno sacrifice <strong>is</strong> too great.”And we? Sure, we say m<strong>is</strong>sion work <strong>is</strong> worthwhile and havededicated our lives to it. Yet all too often <strong>the</strong> enthusiasm thatburned in Jesus and in Arnold seems to be now in us just asmoldering fire, no longer a burning Chr<strong>is</strong>t-like passion. “May<strong>the</strong> Heart of Jesus live in <strong>the</strong> hearts of all!” remains hardly morethan a pious prayer.How to rekindle <strong>the</strong> fire? Hopefully celebrating <strong>the</strong> feasts andanniversaries of Saints Arnold and Joseph can help. Theirexample can inspire us to foster an attitude of dialogue thatconsciously tries to appreciate and defend <strong>the</strong> dignity of everyperson. In a retreat be<strong>for</strong>e a m<strong>is</strong>sion departure Arnold said:“Meditating on <strong>the</strong> throne of God [in <strong>the</strong> human heart] will helpus see what a tremendous value m<strong>is</strong>sion work has. Imaginethat we could gaze into <strong>the</strong> hearts of all those in a state of grace.35

We would see <strong>the</strong>ir hearts suffused and enveloped with lightand at <strong>the</strong> center <strong>the</strong> Triune God. What an aston<strong>is</strong>hing sight!”Th<strong>is</strong> sense of aston<strong>is</strong>hment and awe permeates Arnold’s talks.Aston<strong>is</strong>hment that <strong>the</strong> Triune God would show such love <strong>for</strong> uspoor humans in th<strong>is</strong> way. Awe at <strong>the</strong> dignity and beauty whichth<strong>is</strong> infinite love bestows on every person, “to be a son ordaughter of <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r, a s<strong>is</strong>ter or bro<strong>the</strong>r of <strong>the</strong> Son, a temple, aspouse of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit.” In h<strong>is</strong> last Pentecost sermon Arnoldput it like th<strong>is</strong>: “The Holy Spirit <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> God of love who comes inorder to make humans lovable in God’s eyes and to reveal God’slove <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>m.”It <strong>is</strong> especially when we show love and respect to o<strong>the</strong>rs that <strong>the</strong>Spirit helps us to appreciate ourselves as lovable. Here <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>key to holiness, a lifelong process. “Love alone widens <strong>the</strong>human heart.” Arnold made conscious ef<strong>for</strong>ts to show h<strong>is</strong> loveand respect, though not always successfully according to somewho lived with him. He was no flawless saint, but he did tryearnestly to be open to <strong>the</strong> trans<strong>for</strong>ming love of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit.In 1901 Arnold asked <strong>the</strong> community: “If you w<strong>is</strong>h to do me aspecial favor, <strong>the</strong>n help me to pray <strong>for</strong> something of <strong>the</strong> fullnessof divine love <strong>for</strong> my cold heart. And what I have in mind herein <strong>the</strong> first place <strong>is</strong> not love <strong>for</strong> God but love <strong>for</strong> all of you. Howgrateful I would be if you would pray <strong>for</strong> me to have such alove.” Fr. Gier, one of h<strong>is</strong> early critics, said that <strong>for</strong> those whoknew him in <strong>the</strong> early days <strong>the</strong> older Arnold was like a differentperson. And yet as late as 1906 <strong>the</strong> B<strong>is</strong>hop of Roermond had toinvestigate <strong>the</strong> validity of serious complaints from some of <strong>the</strong>Bro<strong>the</strong>rs and even some of <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters in Steyl.Like Arnold we too have to struggle against our weaknesses, alltoo aware of our frailty. But it <strong>is</strong> a struggle filled with hope,knowing that it <strong>is</strong> God’s love that changes us ra<strong>the</strong>r than ourown ef<strong>for</strong>ts. A hope directed not to some vague future but to<strong>the</strong> present. The indwelling Spirit of Love makes each personlovable already now.36

Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> of those fundamental challenges set by ourGeneral Chapters:• to approach <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r in dialogue with an attitude of“solidarity, respect and love” (SVD 2006);• “to be a compassionate presence of Jesus in h<strong>is</strong> propheticm<strong>is</strong>sion” (SSpS 2002);• to contemplate <strong>the</strong> mystery of <strong>the</strong> Blessed Trinity dwellingin us, “whose light we must also be able to see shining on<strong>the</strong> face of our bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters” (SSpSAP 2003).“Just as sunlight,” wrote Arnold, “when it shines through fallingrain <strong>is</strong> refracted in <strong>the</strong> seven beautiful colors of <strong>the</strong> rainbow, soshines <strong>the</strong> love of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit in a seven-fold way in <strong>the</strong> heartsof <strong>the</strong> saints and gives <strong>the</strong>m that special beauty which delights<strong>the</strong> eye of a spiritual person.”May <strong>the</strong> indwelling Holy Spirit lead us to take delight in <strong>the</strong>rainbow-colored beauty of each person we live with and of thosewe serve, and indeed above all of ourselves.[Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Steyl, Bimonthly Reflections, No. 1]37

The Euchar<strong>is</strong>tin <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong> of Arnold JanssenFranz<strong>is</strong>ka Carolina Rehbein, SSpSSt. Arnold had a great love <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t, a legacy from h<strong>is</strong>parents. Arnold’s mo<strong>the</strong>r had a great love of prayer andespecially of <strong>the</strong> holy Euchar<strong>is</strong>t. During <strong>the</strong> “Forty HoursExposition” she remained <strong>the</strong>re praying almost <strong>the</strong> whole day.On Sundays she arrived at <strong>the</strong> church around 4:30 in <strong>the</strong> morningso as to attend <strong>the</strong> first and all <strong>the</strong> following Masses. Even onweekdays she was able to arrange her work in such a way thatshe was always able to attend a Mass. She was convinced thatwithout <strong>the</strong> blessing of <strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t she would not be able tofin<strong>is</strong>h her work. Her example, as well as that of h<strong>is</strong> deeplyreligious fa<strong>the</strong>r, made a strong impression on <strong>the</strong> young Arnold.When Arnold was eleven, he received h<strong>is</strong> First HolyCommunion. He considered it a great grace, <strong>for</strong> which heprepared himself well, as was <strong>the</strong> custom at <strong>the</strong> time, by learning<strong>the</strong> whole catech<strong>is</strong>m by heart. Nothing <strong>is</strong> said about Arnold’sspiritual experience on <strong>the</strong> day of h<strong>is</strong> first communion. He saidvery little about h<strong>is</strong> religious feelings and inner experiences. Twoletters, however, written eight years later to h<strong>is</strong> younger bro<strong>the</strong>rPeter <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> first communion, give us some idea of what thatevent may have meant to Arnold. They bear witness to h<strong>is</strong> deepfeeling about <strong>the</strong> real presence of Jesus in <strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t, whichwe also see in h<strong>is</strong> later life.In <strong>the</strong> first letter Arnold wrote, “I was filled with joy at <strong>the</strong> newsthat th<strong>is</strong> year you will really have <strong>the</strong> happiness, <strong>the</strong>incomprehensibly great good <strong>for</strong>tune, to approach <strong>the</strong> table of<strong>the</strong> Lord, to share in food that <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> desire of <strong>the</strong> angels. Oh ifonly you could recognize what it means to receive <strong>the</strong> Body of<strong>the</strong> Lord! Do you really know who it <strong>is</strong>, whom you will receive?38

It <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> King of heaven and earth, <strong>the</strong> Lord of eternity, … <strong>the</strong>Mighty One who rules <strong>the</strong> earth according to h<strong>is</strong> will... Prepareyour heart already… Pour out your heart be<strong>for</strong>e him; recommendto him your joys and sorrows... You will never regret it as I nowregret having done so little to prepare.”In a second letter dated four days later, Arnold wrote: “The mostbeautiful and happy day of your life has finally come; <strong>the</strong> day towhich even <strong>the</strong> hearts of grey haired priests think back withlonging, and <strong>the</strong> memory of which constantly fills <strong>the</strong>m withsilent joy. Oh bro<strong>the</strong>r, let me congratulate you a thousand times!You are now <strong>the</strong> sanctuary of <strong>the</strong> Lord, h<strong>is</strong> inheritance and h<strong>is</strong>love.”We sense here something of <strong>the</strong> heartbeat of Arnold’s own life.He was gripped by <strong>the</strong> mystery of <strong>the</strong> incarnate God whosepresence caused h<strong>is</strong> heart to tremble in holy awe, God whoallowed him to taste h<strong>is</strong> love. With all h<strong>is</strong> spiritual might, Arnoldwanted to respond to that incomprehensible love and to avoideverything that could separate him from it.A few years later we encounter <strong>the</strong> same love and reverence inArnold’s letter to h<strong>is</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r, shortly be<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> ordination:“It <strong>is</strong> still dark as I sit here alone in my little room. The candle <strong>is</strong>still burning and be<strong>for</strong>e me hangs a picture of Chr<strong>is</strong>t. My soul <strong>is</strong>silent, very silent. The sound of a church bell from somewherenear or far off <strong>is</strong> reaching my ears through <strong>the</strong> darkness. It <strong>is</strong>calling <strong>the</strong> faithful to r<strong>is</strong>e from sleep and go to church where <strong>the</strong>most holy sacrifice <strong>is</strong> offered to God. I have a wonderful feeling.I’m thinking, soon you, too, will approach <strong>the</strong> holy altar, stand<strong>the</strong>re in <strong>the</strong> place of Chr<strong>is</strong>t and celebrate <strong>the</strong> holy mysteries.”Th<strong>is</strong> love and reverence filled Arnold’s heart also in h<strong>is</strong> lateryears: “Jesus lives in us as God and man at <strong>the</strong> time ofCommunion. H<strong>is</strong> divine body touches us and we touch him.But how wonderfully <strong>the</strong> body of Jesus works! The whole ofhumanity was redeemed through <strong>the</strong> suffering and <strong>the</strong> shedding39

of <strong>the</strong> blood of th<strong>is</strong> holy body. And now <strong>the</strong> holy body of Jesussanctifies us in Holy Communion.” (Conference, 1894).A poem from h<strong>is</strong> later years (1896) gives us an insight into <strong>the</strong>mystery of Arnold’s love <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> presence of Jesus in <strong>the</strong>Euchar<strong>is</strong>t.After Holy CommunionO quiet happiness, O bl<strong>is</strong>sful <strong>for</strong>tune! Now he <strong>is</strong> all mine,The King, wonderful and great,be<strong>for</strong>e whom <strong>the</strong> heavens bow.Oh tell me, where <strong>is</strong> a throne so honoredThat God <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r’s Son w<strong>is</strong>hes to repose <strong>the</strong>re?Where <strong>is</strong> a castle in whose hall <strong>the</strong> King of creation dines?Where was ever a joyful feast that could pra<strong>is</strong>e him asguest and friend?40O inexpressible, highest bl<strong>is</strong>s! – I can find no words;H<strong>is</strong> loving glance fell on me, he came through my door.He entered my dwelling that <strong>is</strong> empty of all ornament,And gave me of <strong>the</strong> wine of h<strong>is</strong> love,as if I were of equal dignity.Did ever a prince descend so far from h<strong>is</strong> throneThat he called <strong>the</strong> poorest of beggarsto nestle against h<strong>is</strong> heart?O highest Son of <strong>the</strong> King,be<strong>for</strong>e whom <strong>the</strong> world bows down,My heart, now <strong>the</strong> throne of your love,marvels in reverence and <strong>is</strong> silent;It becomes silent be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> fire of your love,in holy rapture,That you my Lord and my God deign to bless it thus.There <strong>is</strong> no doubt that Arnold’s Euchar<strong>is</strong>tic devotion wasinfluenced by <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>ology and religiosity of h<strong>is</strong> time. Accordingto <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>ology of Matthias Scheeben, which influenced Arnold

deeply, <strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t was a source of grace. Arnold oftenemphasized that <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r and <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit are present in<strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t toge<strong>the</strong>r with <strong>the</strong> Divine Word, though not in <strong>the</strong>same way. Centering h<strong>is</strong> spiritual life on <strong>the</strong> central mystery of<strong>the</strong> Chr<strong>is</strong>tian faith, <strong>the</strong> Trinity, gave it an inner unity, depth andvitality. Highlighting <strong>the</strong> Trinitarian dimension of <strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t<strong>is</strong> character<strong>is</strong>tic of our Founder’s spirituality and shows why itremained so important <strong>for</strong> him. It was <strong>for</strong> him not somethingapart but was deeply rooted in <strong>the</strong> central mysteries of <strong>the</strong>Chr<strong>is</strong>tian faith: <strong>the</strong> Trinity, <strong>the</strong> Incarnation, salvation.In every Euchar<strong>is</strong>t we celebrate <strong>the</strong> whole mystery of salvationand we exclaim: “We proclaim your death, O Lord; we glorifyyour resurrection, until you come in glory.” In <strong>the</strong> celebration of<strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t we take part in <strong>the</strong> Today of <strong>the</strong> Chr<strong>is</strong>tian salvificmystery: <strong>the</strong> Incarnation, Passion, Death, Resurrection andGlorification of Chr<strong>is</strong>t and are drawn into that event. St. Arnoldlooked on <strong>the</strong> Euchar<strong>is</strong>t as <strong>the</strong> memorial celebration of <strong>the</strong>sacrifice of <strong>the</strong> cross on Calvary, in which Jesus offered himselfto <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r as <strong>the</strong> divine Lamb. He encouraged h<strong>is</strong> confreresto take part in th<strong>is</strong> total giving through <strong>the</strong>ir vows in religiouslife . “In Holy Mass, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, we should offer ourselves with<strong>the</strong> Savior and renew our vows and <strong>the</strong> total giving of ourselveswhich <strong>the</strong>y entail, ready to face any suffering.” Thoroughlyimbued with h<strong>is</strong> faith in <strong>the</strong> real presence of Chr<strong>is</strong>t in <strong>the</strong>Euchar<strong>is</strong>t our Founder treasured and loved in a special wayadoration of <strong>the</strong> Blessed Sacrament. In different ways heexpressed h<strong>is</strong> deep personal love <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> mystery of <strong>the</strong>permanent presence of <strong>the</strong> Lord in h<strong>is</strong> church: in conferences, in<strong>the</strong> prayers he composed to Chr<strong>is</strong>t present in <strong>the</strong> BlessedSacrament, and especially in h<strong>is</strong> frequent v<strong>is</strong>its, often staying<strong>for</strong> a longer time be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> Blessed Sacrament. Especially in h<strong>is</strong>younger years he often spent long hours during <strong>the</strong> night in <strong>the</strong>chapel.From <strong>the</strong> time of founding <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters’ Congregation ArnoldJanssen had had in mind one congregation with two branches,41

<strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion S<strong>is</strong>ters and <strong>the</strong> Adoration S<strong>is</strong>ters. He called <strong>the</strong> latter“m<strong>is</strong>sionaries on <strong>the</strong>ir knees,” since <strong>the</strong>ir special task was topray <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sions. Hermann F<strong>is</strong>cher emphasizes how <strong>for</strong>Arnold all work <strong>for</strong> God’s kingdom was in <strong>the</strong> first placedefinitely a matter of prayer. What Arnold said in h<strong>is</strong> sermon at<strong>the</strong> opening of <strong>the</strong> branch of <strong>the</strong> Adoration S<strong>is</strong>ters was typicalof h<strong>is</strong> deep appreciation <strong>for</strong> prayer be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> exposed BlessedSacrament: “The clo<strong>is</strong>tered S<strong>is</strong>ters should sit like Mary at <strong>the</strong>feet of <strong>the</strong> Lord, glorify him day and night through <strong>the</strong> DivineOffice, and as soon as <strong>the</strong>ir number allows, maintain perpetualadoration of <strong>the</strong> Blessed Sacrament, praying in th<strong>is</strong> way <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>richness of graces <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Church and <strong>the</strong> Congregation.”[Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Steyl, Bimonthly Reflections, No. 3]42

Arnold Janssenand <strong>the</strong> Parable of <strong>the</strong> KingdomLeo Kleden, SVDThe Kingdom of Heaven <strong>is</strong> like a mustard seed…Mt 13:31The simplicity of th<strong>is</strong> beginning should not d<strong>is</strong>courageus. The mightiest tree starts as a single seed and <strong>the</strong>strongest of giants was once a weak, whimpering baby.Arnold Janssen on <strong>the</strong> inauguration day of<strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion House in Steyl, September 8, 1875Jesus told <strong>the</strong> story of God’s Kingdom only in parables. What <strong>is</strong>remarkable about <strong>the</strong> parables of Jesus <strong>is</strong> that <strong>the</strong>y are all simplestories about everyday experience: a sower going out to sowseeds in <strong>the</strong> field, a f<strong>is</strong>herman throwing a net into <strong>the</strong> sea tocatch f<strong>is</strong>h, a woman searching <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> lost coin, a shepherdlooking <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> lost sheep, a merciful fa<strong>the</strong>r waiting <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>prodigal son to return home, and so on. Very simple and ordinarythings!The ending of <strong>the</strong>se parables, however, surpr<strong>is</strong>es us withsomething extraordinary: a tiny seed becomes a big tree, <strong>the</strong>seed in good soil brings a hundredfold harvest, <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> greaterjoy in one lost sheep found again than in <strong>the</strong> ninety-nineremaining in <strong>the</strong> flock, and <strong>the</strong> merciful fa<strong>the</strong>r makes a big feast<strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> prodigal son who has returned home.The Reign of God <strong>is</strong> …like that! The ability to experience <strong>the</strong>Reign of God <strong>is</strong> a kind of sensitivity to see somethingextraordinary in ordinary things. Jesus, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, says: “Blessedare <strong>the</strong> eyes that see what you see” (Lk 10:23). It <strong>is</strong> a certainability to see <strong>the</strong> <strong>for</strong>est in <strong>the</strong> tiny sprouting seed, or to see <strong>the</strong>secret of <strong>the</strong> sky and <strong>the</strong> ocean in a drop of morning dew.43

If Jesus told <strong>the</strong> story of God’s Kingdom in parables, <strong>the</strong> earlyChr<strong>is</strong>tians told <strong>the</strong> story of Jesus – h<strong>is</strong> life, death, and resurrection– as <strong>the</strong> best parable of God’s presence. He <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> smallest seedthat fell into <strong>the</strong> ground, died, grew, and yielded a harvest inabundance; he <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> bread of life broken and multiplied <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>hungry, <strong>the</strong> living water that flows <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> thirsty, <strong>the</strong> light thatshines in <strong>the</strong> darkness. Later when Jesus sent h<strong>is</strong> d<strong>is</strong>ciples tocontinue h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion, he sent <strong>the</strong>m empty-handed, because hewanted <strong>the</strong>m to follow <strong>the</strong> path of a small seed that has to die inorder to bring new life. Under <strong>the</strong> guidance of <strong>the</strong> Spirit <strong>the</strong>d<strong>is</strong>ciples understood th<strong>is</strong> secret of <strong>the</strong> Kingdom, as did Benedictin <strong>the</strong> cave of Subiaco, Franc<strong>is</strong> of Ass<strong>is</strong>i who left h<strong>is</strong> parents’house naked, Arnold Janssen in an old, crumbling house of Steyl,and Mo<strong>the</strong>r Theresa serving <strong>the</strong> poor and destitute on <strong>the</strong> streetsof Calcutta.Now we can say that <strong>the</strong> life and <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion of Arnold Janssenhave become a new parable of God’s Reign. We recall h<strong>is</strong> famoussaying on inauguration day, when many people wered<strong>is</strong>appointed by such a poor beginning of <strong>the</strong> German-DutchM<strong>is</strong>sion House: “The simplicity of th<strong>is</strong> beginning should notd<strong>is</strong>courage us. The mightiest tree starts as a single seed and <strong>the</strong>strongest of giants was once a weak, whimpering baby. We knowthat with our present resources we cannot accompl<strong>is</strong>h our task,but we hope <strong>the</strong> good God will provide everything we need.And he may do with us what he wills. If <strong>the</strong> seminary succeeds,we will thank <strong>the</strong> grace of God. If nothing comes of it, we willhumbly strike our breast and confess that we were not worthyof <strong>the</strong> grace… So I appeal to all those assembled here: What canwe do? First, pray. Beg <strong>the</strong> Lord of <strong>the</strong> harvest. Secondly,sacrifice.” First things first: We have to pray because ultimately<strong>the</strong> Kingdom <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> work of God himself and we are just smallinstruments in h<strong>is</strong> hands. But we have to sacrifice because weare called to follow Jesus through <strong>the</strong> path of a small seed thathas to die in order to grow and bear fruit. In th<strong>is</strong> context we alsorecall how Arnold started h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary project empty-handedand how he put h<strong>is</strong> total trust in <strong>the</strong> Lord of <strong>the</strong> harvest and44

elied on h<strong>is</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters who shared and supported h<strong>is</strong>v<strong>is</strong>ion.By dedicating h<strong>is</strong> first m<strong>is</strong>sion society to <strong>the</strong> Divine Word, ArnoldJanssen wanted to remind us that “In <strong>the</strong> beginning was <strong>the</strong>Word…The Word became flesh and lived among us” (Jn 1:1.14).The first attitude of a m<strong>is</strong>sionary, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, should be acontemplative attitude of letting <strong>the</strong> Word become flesh and liveamong us. We recall a particular example of our m<strong>is</strong>sionary saint.Joseph Freinademetz once asked Arnold Janssen how he couldbest prepare <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion in China. Arnold adv<strong>is</strong>ed him tolearn by heart <strong>the</strong> Gospel, because in that d<strong>is</strong>tant <strong>for</strong>eign landhe might be <strong>for</strong>bidden to carry <strong>the</strong> Bible and would have toproclaim <strong>the</strong> Good News from h<strong>is</strong> heart. Joseph followed <strong>the</strong>advice, but what he did was much more than just memorizingtexts. He let <strong>the</strong> Word become flesh in h<strong>is</strong> life so that h<strong>is</strong> personwould be trans<strong>for</strong>med by <strong>the</strong> Word and become good news <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> people of South Shantung. When Arnold fur<strong>the</strong>r sent ourbro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters as m<strong>is</strong>sionaries to different parts of <strong>the</strong>world, he actually continued implementing <strong>the</strong> parable of asower who went out to sow seeds in <strong>the</strong> field. Arnold realizedthat <strong>the</strong>re would be many obstacles on <strong>the</strong> edge of <strong>the</strong> path;<strong>the</strong>re would be res<strong>is</strong>tance by <strong>the</strong> rocky ground and thorny soil,but in <strong>the</strong> end <strong>the</strong> Word would find rich soil and produce aharvest in abundance. Arnold, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, urged h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionariesto do <strong>the</strong>ir best in <strong>the</strong> work of evangelization because “toproclaim <strong>the</strong> Good News <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> first and greatest act of love ofneighbor.”From <strong>the</strong> very beginning our congregations (SVD, SSpS, SSpSAP)were designed as international societies. They were intended toreceive members from different peoples and cultures; and ourm<strong>is</strong>sionaries were to be sent to all nations, especially to <strong>the</strong> placeswhere <strong>the</strong> Good News had not yet been proclaimed or not yetbeen proclaimed enough. In th<strong>is</strong> way our societies were designedas signs that “people from east and west, from north and south,will come and sit down at <strong>the</strong> feast in <strong>the</strong> Kingdom of God” (Lk13:29).45

If nowadays we re<strong>for</strong>mulate our m<strong>is</strong>sion under <strong>the</strong> catchword“prophetic dialogue” or “life-giving relationships,” we aresimply reaffirming and deepening <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary insight wehave inherited from our Founder. Through <strong>the</strong> work of ourm<strong>is</strong>sionaries, especially through <strong>the</strong>ir commitment to faithseekersand to <strong>the</strong> poor and marginalized, we re-actualize <strong>the</strong>parables of <strong>the</strong> Good Shepherd or of <strong>the</strong> Merciful Fa<strong>the</strong>r. Inreaching out to people of o<strong>the</strong>r cultures and o<strong>the</strong>r religions weemphatically announce <strong>the</strong> all-inclusiveness of God’s Kingdom.L<strong>is</strong>tening to <strong>the</strong> parables of Jesus, reading again <strong>the</strong> life story ofArnold Janssen, and reflecting on our contemporary m<strong>is</strong>sion,we realize that <strong>the</strong> Lord has indeed done great things throughh<strong>is</strong> simple servant from Goch: The extraordinary in an ordinaryperson!Thus we joyfully continue our m<strong>is</strong>sion today. Even though ourmembership in Western Europe <strong>is</strong> on <strong>the</strong> decline and ourfinancial resources decrease, our young m<strong>is</strong>sionaries from Asia,Africa, <strong>the</strong> Americas or different parts of Europe will find a newmoment of grace in following <strong>the</strong> Lord along <strong>the</strong> small path of aseed, because “unless a wheat grain falls into <strong>the</strong> earth and dies,it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest”Jn 12:24. “Worthwhile indeed <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life of one who gives h<strong>is</strong>all,” said Arnold.[Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Steyl, Bimonthly Reflections, No. 4]46

Arnold Janssen and <strong>the</strong> Will of GodSr. Mary Ca<strong>the</strong>rine, SSpSAPThe familiar saying from Dante’s Divine Comedy “In your will <strong>is</strong>our peace” would be a good motto <strong>for</strong> Fr. Arnold’s life. When hewas appointed to work as director <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Apostleship of Prayerhe began to understand that as we honor <strong>the</strong> Sacred Heart ofJesus, we must begin also to unite ourselves to <strong>the</strong> intentions ofthat Divine Heart. He often quoted St. Paul, “Have th<strong>is</strong> mind inyou which was in Chr<strong>is</strong>t Jesus” (Phil 2:5). And he held up <strong>the</strong>spiritual ideal that “<strong>the</strong> best <strong>for</strong>m of devotion to <strong>the</strong> Heart ofJesus <strong>is</strong> to make our w<strong>is</strong>hes con<strong>for</strong>m to those of <strong>the</strong> Heart ofChr<strong>is</strong>t… As Jesus, we should live our lives not <strong>for</strong> our own honorand glory, but according to God’s will and <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> glory.”Acting on h<strong>is</strong> conviction that all dec<strong>is</strong>ions were to be channeledthrough fervent prayer seeking <strong>the</strong> will of God, he showed tha<strong>the</strong> did not keep h<strong>is</strong> spiritual ideal only in <strong>the</strong> realm of thoughtand reason. Fr. Arnold took <strong>the</strong> Word of God in Scriptureseriously and when he read St. Paul’s words: “Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> will ofGod your sanctification” (1Thes 4:3), he considered th<strong>is</strong> amandate <strong>for</strong> himself and h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary society. He told h<strong>is</strong>followers that sanctification <strong>is</strong> God’s work but it requires ourcooperation. He was deeply convinced that an essential featureof surrender to God <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> desire to have h<strong>is</strong> will concerning usfulfilled in every regard… Then God will enlighten us and bringus to sanctity and enable us to do all things in him whostreng<strong>the</strong>ns us (Phil 4:13).Fr. Arnold was convinced that God’s will <strong>is</strong> made known to usin <strong>the</strong> concrete circumstances of life. He reflected prayerfully on<strong>the</strong> Incarnation and believed that as God sent h<strong>is</strong> Son into <strong>the</strong>world as man to teach us who God <strong>is</strong> and how to follow God’swill, so God continues to let h<strong>is</strong> will be known through humanagents and <strong>the</strong> happenings he allows in our lives. Always47

even when <strong>the</strong> first collaborators, Fr. Bill and SeminarianReichert, left him and <strong>the</strong>re was a possibility that <strong>the</strong> SeminarianAnzer would also leave him. He reflected at <strong>the</strong> end of 1875:“…even if <strong>the</strong> Lord in h<strong>is</strong> inscrutable plan d<strong>is</strong>cards <strong>the</strong> firstbuilders, in order perhaps to replace <strong>the</strong>m with o<strong>the</strong>rs who arebetter and more suitable, may <strong>the</strong> Lord do what he wills. Mayh<strong>is</strong> will always be done. May he choose <strong>the</strong> instruments andd<strong>is</strong>card <strong>the</strong>m as he pleases.”He prayed in that first year: “May God give us <strong>the</strong> grace tozealously seek h<strong>is</strong> will and make ourselves more and moreworthy of h<strong>is</strong> heavenly blessings through <strong>the</strong> attainment of asimple and loving heart.”As he was seeking perm<strong>is</strong>sions from various b<strong>is</strong>hops regarding<strong>the</strong> founding of <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion house he met with many obstacles.Fr. Arnold expressed h<strong>is</strong> struggle: “I have experienced periodsof severe struggle and it seemed to me I would have to endure acrucifixion if I were to succeed. On top of that I experiencedphysical affliction and some adversity. But it seemed to me thatto give up would be contrary to God’s will. So I hung on,continued working, and I have no doubt that God wants <strong>the</strong>project and that he <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> true agens [mover] who deigns to useour poor hands <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> purpose.”For Fr. Arnold <strong>the</strong> will of God and religious obedience were asone. He once wrote: “Look upon <strong>the</strong> will of your superiors as<strong>the</strong> holy will of God and try to comply in all simplicity andsincerity.” He would have been deeply gratified by <strong>the</strong> statementof <strong>the</strong> instruction on authority and obedience from <strong>the</strong>Congregation <strong>for</strong> Institutes of Consecrated <strong>Life</strong> (May 2008): “Toseek <strong>the</strong> will of God means to seek a friendly and benevolentwill that desires our fulfillment… Obedience <strong>is</strong> not humiliationbut <strong>the</strong> truth on which <strong>the</strong> fullness of human persons <strong>is</strong> builtand realized. Hence, <strong>the</strong> believer so ardently desires to fulfill<strong>the</strong> will of <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r as to make of it h<strong>is</strong> or her supremeaspiration.” In 1904/05 when six priests were appointed to <strong>the</strong>49

m<strong>is</strong>sions, Fr. Arnold asked <strong>the</strong>m: “Please recognize <strong>the</strong> will ofGod in th<strong>is</strong> call directed to you in religious obedience, humblysubmit to it and accept it joyfully as a challenge.”When selecting <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters to be sent to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sions, he instructedSr. Josepha: “Th<strong>is</strong> matter may not be settled in haste nor undulyrushed; ra<strong>the</strong>r you must pray much and ask o<strong>the</strong>rs to pray, and<strong>the</strong>n reflect a great deal once you have obtained all <strong>the</strong> necessaryin<strong>for</strong>mation and asked those <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir opinion who can give <strong>the</strong>most exact particulars in every respect… At <strong>the</strong> same time prayrepeatedly to <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit and call on <strong>the</strong> patron saints. Theimportance of a good choice <strong>is</strong> obvious. You have to follow <strong>the</strong>light from above in all simplicity but also with great care andendeavor to find God’s will as it manifests itself through <strong>the</strong>situation.” Again we see h<strong>is</strong> recipe as it were <strong>for</strong> seeking God’swill.Fervent prayer to know <strong>the</strong> will of God, he believed, wouldresolve any difficulties in <strong>the</strong> way of fulfilling it, as he wrote toFr. Joseph Freinademetz in China regarding <strong>the</strong> acceptance of alocal diocesan priest into <strong>the</strong> Society: “If he so urgently w<strong>is</strong>hesto become a member of our Society, he should begin to prayfervently <strong>for</strong> it, so that if it <strong>is</strong> indeed God’s will, <strong>the</strong> difficultieslying in <strong>the</strong> way will be resolved.”Regarding <strong>the</strong> foundation in Brazil <strong>the</strong> Founder wrote: “If it <strong>is</strong>God’s will that we remain <strong>the</strong>re, he will ordain things in such away that h<strong>is</strong> divine will <strong>is</strong> revealed.” When he wanted toestabl<strong>is</strong>h a m<strong>is</strong>sion in Chile he wrote: “Since at <strong>the</strong> moment wecannot meet <strong>the</strong> requirements, it <strong>is</strong> not God’s will <strong>for</strong> us. So wecannot object if <strong>the</strong> two persons concerned… approach ano<strong>the</strong>rcongregation.” In regard to a college in Santiago: “If I take <strong>the</strong>view that I should not begin new projects on my own initiativebut wait to see which way Divine Providence <strong>is</strong> pointing, Ibelieve I act legitimately… Since Santiago <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> capital of Chileand a college would make a great demand on <strong>the</strong> Society, th<strong>is</strong>principle applies all <strong>the</strong> more and I must ask God to considermy weakness. If he wants us in Santiago he should tell us by50

clearly indicating h<strong>is</strong> divine will… If we want to build a collegeand a church we will need far more money than we have. So Iam waiting <strong>for</strong> some additional signs of God’s will.”Always be<strong>for</strong>e establ<strong>is</strong>hing a new foundation, <strong>the</strong> Founderprayed and waited <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> will of God to be more clearly revealed.In certain situations, as with <strong>the</strong> founding of <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion housein Techny, it became clear through various events that it wasGod’s will to proceed and he prayed that <strong>the</strong> new foundationwould correspond to God’s holy will. In regard to a foundationin Palestine, he followed <strong>the</strong> reservations of h<strong>is</strong> councilors andasked <strong>the</strong> B<strong>is</strong>hop to look <strong>for</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r congregation. He wrote:“We cannot take on <strong>the</strong> matter just yet; first <strong>the</strong> will of God mustbe more clearly revealed.”In June of 1901 Fr. Arnold received a letter of fifty-five pagesfrom Fr. Gier l<strong>is</strong>ting h<strong>is</strong> failings and imperfections. Th<strong>is</strong> caused<strong>the</strong> Founder much suffering but he accepted it in great humility.In h<strong>is</strong> address to <strong>the</strong> community at a feast day celebration onJuly 19, once again he mentioned h<strong>is</strong> central thought of God’swill: “I greatly need prayers. The Society <strong>is</strong> growing fast. It <strong>is</strong>God’s will that each member dedicate himself to h<strong>is</strong> work… Iask <strong>the</strong> eternal love of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit to grant me h<strong>is</strong> love moreand more… May [<strong>the</strong> Lord God] establ<strong>is</strong>h between us in allrespects <strong>the</strong> relationship that should bind us according to h<strong>is</strong>divine will.” In h<strong>is</strong> farewell conference at St. Gabriel’s in June1908, <strong>the</strong> Founder concluded h<strong>is</strong> recommendations <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> futureof <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion house with <strong>the</strong>se words: “May God’s will be done.Th<strong>is</strong> most holy will must always be adored.”We can see from <strong>the</strong> various quotations that <strong>the</strong> “will of God”was all pervasive in Fr. Arnold’s life. Not only did he strive withall h<strong>is</strong> ability to learn that will and follow it, but he repeatedlyasked th<strong>is</strong> of h<strong>is</strong> priests, bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters. May h<strong>is</strong> prayers<strong>for</strong> us continue to help all <strong>the</strong> members of h<strong>is</strong> three foundationsto do <strong>the</strong> same.[Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Steyl, Bimonthly Reflections, No. 6]51

Arnold Janssen:A Man of DialogueMichael Somers, SVDAt times one can get <strong>the</strong> impression that ‘prophetic dialogue’ <strong>is</strong>a totally new concept and a new ‘cool’ word to describe ourm<strong>is</strong>sion today. Yet when we look more closely at <strong>the</strong> life andwork of Arnold Janssen we find that he was a model of propheticdialogue in different ways. The last general chapter SVD showsthat “prophetic dialogue entails a recovery of what <strong>is</strong>character<strong>is</strong>tically an SVD way of doing m<strong>is</strong>sion” (In Dialoguewith <strong>the</strong> Word, no. 6, 2006, p. 8), beginning with Arnold Janssenhimself.It was h<strong>is</strong> faith in <strong>the</strong> Triune God that led Arnold to be open andattentive to <strong>the</strong> world’s needs, which in turn influenced andshaped him and gave our congregations <strong>the</strong>ir character<strong>is</strong>ticm<strong>is</strong>sionary thrust. From <strong>the</strong> very beginning, Fr. Arnoldunderstood m<strong>is</strong>sion as God’s ongoing dialogue with humanity.Though he was timid, reserved and ra<strong>the</strong>r clumsy ininterpersonal relationships, he never<strong>the</strong>less found ways andmeans to express that which echoed deep within. It <strong>is</strong> th<strong>is</strong> powerto d<strong>is</strong>cern and ‘connect’, more than anything else, thatau<strong>the</strong>nticates Arnold’s spirituality. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> only possible whenone learns to relate or dialogue meaningfully: with self, o<strong>the</strong>rs,creation, and God. Let’s have a look at some of <strong>the</strong>se instancesof dialogue by our Founder.With self: Fr. Arnold was in touch with himself, aware of h<strong>is</strong>rough character and difficult personality. The sting in h<strong>is</strong>personality put at r<strong>is</strong>k relationships and friendships. When h<strong>is</strong>secretary mentioned to him some critical remarks and commentsmade about him, he asked Fr. Gier to write down <strong>the</strong> comments52

he heard. Little did he think that Fr. Gier would take him soseriously and a few weeks later he handed Fr. Arnold 54 smallpages of negative critic<strong>is</strong>ms. Fr. Arnold made special ef<strong>for</strong>ts toimprove. He prayed each day after Mass <strong>for</strong> “<strong>the</strong> grace tounderstand how a w<strong>is</strong>e fa<strong>the</strong>r or <strong>the</strong> heart of a mo<strong>the</strong>r ought tobe towards my subjects” (J. Reuter, Proclaiming <strong>the</strong> Word in <strong>the</strong>Power of <strong>the</strong> Spirit, p. 71-72).Arnold elicited admiration, but he also evoked antagon<strong>is</strong>m. Hed<strong>is</strong>turbed many; and frequently th<strong>is</strong> happened throughapparently contradictory behaviour, ra<strong>the</strong>r than throughpreached word or inspirational action. To many of us, Arnoldremains an enigma, a maverick and often a nu<strong>is</strong>ance. Dialogueand engaging with <strong>the</strong> real <strong>is</strong>sues involves exposingvulnerability, beginning with Arnold’s own vulnerability. Poorlyequipped <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> task ahead, Fr. Arnold touched painfully <strong>the</strong>reality of who he was: H<strong>is</strong> great desire to share God’s love withall people contradicted h<strong>is</strong> obvious talents. H<strong>is</strong> v<strong>is</strong>ion wasblurred by many negative reactions and <strong>the</strong> impossibility of suchan enormous task, made more difficult by being at <strong>the</strong> wrongtime in h<strong>is</strong>tory due to <strong>the</strong> Kulturkampf. In h<strong>is</strong> inner struggleshe touched deeply h<strong>is</strong> humanity in h<strong>is</strong> weaknesses andlimitations, yet he set out into deeper waters. Arnold allowedhimself to be vulnerable, rid himself of all defences and openedhimself to <strong>the</strong> possibility of ridicule and failure, of beingd<strong>is</strong>mantled of personal pride, being hurt, rejected andm<strong>is</strong>understood. He surrendered himself in dialogue with <strong>the</strong>Word.With o<strong>the</strong>rs: Fr. Arnold read <strong>the</strong> signs of <strong>the</strong> times in aprovocatively challenging and d<strong>is</strong>turbing way. He had <strong>the</strong> innerfreedom to l<strong>is</strong>ten deeply and <strong>the</strong> outer initiative to respond innew and fresh ways. From th<strong>is</strong> perspective, Fr Arnold teachesus that dialogue <strong>is</strong> a way of being present in h<strong>is</strong>tory; dialogue <strong>is</strong>not being passive; ra<strong>the</strong>r it <strong>is</strong> being courageous, restless, takinginitiative. Arnold had th<strong>is</strong> daring spirit even to <strong>the</strong> point ofd<strong>is</strong>carding all that which does not produce life in abundance. In53

those early days h<strong>is</strong> involvement in <strong>the</strong> Apostleship of Prayerled to h<strong>is</strong> awareness of <strong>the</strong> wider world. In <strong>the</strong> language of <strong>the</strong>Apostleship of Prayer h<strong>is</strong> intentions became one with God’sintentions or “<strong>the</strong> intentions of <strong>the</strong> Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”While <strong>the</strong> German Church became caught up in itself and in itsown cr<strong>is</strong><strong>is</strong> due to <strong>the</strong> Kulturkampf, <strong>for</strong> Arnold th<strong>is</strong> was <strong>the</strong> Spiritprompting it to look beyond itself to <strong>the</strong> needs of <strong>the</strong> wider worldand thus a new m<strong>is</strong>sion was sensed, which led to <strong>the</strong> opening of<strong>the</strong> first German/Dutch m<strong>is</strong>sion house. “We live in a time whenmuch <strong>is</strong> collapsing and new things must be establ<strong>is</strong>hed in <strong>the</strong>irplace.” (Arnold Janssen to Archb<strong>is</strong>hop Melchers of Cologne,1875)Arnold was a man of dialogue, dialogue with <strong>the</strong> world anddialogue with God. “People can serve God and still dedicate<strong>the</strong>mselves to concern <strong>for</strong> worldly matters.” There was nocontradiction <strong>for</strong> Arnold, both were held in creative tension andth<strong>is</strong> led him to be open to <strong>the</strong> Spirit and to r<strong>is</strong>k relationships. Heshowed h<strong>is</strong> enthusiasm <strong>for</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion, cultures, and languages in<strong>the</strong> way he handled requests from new m<strong>is</strong>sion countries. H<strong>is</strong>secretary recalled how he would spread encyclopaedias andmaps over <strong>the</strong> floor in order to learn all he could about <strong>the</strong>country and culture from where <strong>the</strong> request came. In h<strong>is</strong>vulnerability, Arnold could choose freely: to be open to o<strong>the</strong>rs,no matter who that o<strong>the</strong>r was, to stand firm in h<strong>is</strong> convictionsamid controversy, to r<strong>is</strong>k h<strong>is</strong> voice or action even though <strong>the</strong>rewas <strong>the</strong> possibility of being m<strong>is</strong>understood, rejected, or laughedat even among h<strong>is</strong> own, to share h<strong>is</strong> faith and v<strong>is</strong>ion even thoughhe might be questioned or criticized, to r<strong>is</strong>k failure, thusd<strong>is</strong>covering h<strong>is</strong> giftedness and potential.With creation: Fr. Arnold helps us to recognize that what givesreal meaning to life are things we often d<strong>is</strong>m<strong>is</strong>s as being of littlevalue. For example: <strong>the</strong> sacredness of our created world. Wemust remember that <strong>the</strong> first WORD spoken by God was creationin its beauty and diversity (Prologue of John). Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> our passion<strong>for</strong> life.54

As a teacher of natural science he d<strong>is</strong>covered God in all thingsand beings and all things in God: “In spring we see how <strong>the</strong>plants, beautifully <strong>for</strong>med, sprout from <strong>the</strong> dark, dirty soil andsoon stand be<strong>for</strong>e us in all <strong>the</strong>ir colourful beauty and withsparkling, affectionate eyes gaze at us like messengers from God.Where do <strong>the</strong>y come from? The finger of God, <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit, <strong>is</strong>at work here.” Awareness of God’s presence and openness to<strong>the</strong> Spirit <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> key to h<strong>is</strong> spirituality, <strong>for</strong> at <strong>the</strong> core of Fr. Arnold’sspirituality lay <strong>the</strong> mystery of <strong>the</strong> Blessed Trinity. Th<strong>is</strong> was <strong>the</strong>bas<strong>is</strong> of h<strong>is</strong> union with God, h<strong>is</strong> love <strong>for</strong> people, and h<strong>is</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary enthusiasm. It involved every aspect of h<strong>is</strong> life andbecame a deeply personal relationship to God as Fa<strong>the</strong>r, Sonand Spirit; “we in God and God in us.” Everything spoke to himof God, and God spoke to him in everything. Thus h<strong>is</strong> life wasone of constant d<strong>is</strong>cernment and dialogue. The thousands ofletters that he wrote speak <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>mselves; he remained close toall h<strong>is</strong> s<strong>is</strong>ters and bro<strong>the</strong>rs in <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sions and supported <strong>the</strong>mconstantly. “Obviously <strong>the</strong> ‘spirit of <strong>the</strong> Founder’ <strong>is</strong> profoundlyTrinitarian. It <strong>is</strong> rooted in <strong>the</strong> Founder’s great devotion to <strong>the</strong>Holy Trinity. For, <strong>the</strong> dialogue of life and love within <strong>the</strong> Trinity<strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> giving of one’s all to <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r” (‘A Word from Fr. General,’Arnoldus Nota, Jan/Feb 2007).With God: Through h<strong>is</strong> devotion to <strong>the</strong> Holy Trinity Arnoldsought to safeguard and foster <strong>the</strong> spiritual and more hol<strong>is</strong>ticvalues that underpin life in its fundamental meaning. Dialogue<strong>is</strong> to be as inclusive as possible and challenge all movementsthat veer towards exclusivity. Arnold’s v<strong>is</strong>ion of God and <strong>the</strong>divine plan <strong>for</strong> creation led him to perceive in depth throughdialogue. He strove through d<strong>is</strong>cernment to see <strong>the</strong> whole pictureas God sees it, and <strong>the</strong> contradictions which o<strong>the</strong>rs findirreconcilable he held in creative tension. It <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> unity of allreality, <strong>the</strong> whole which <strong>is</strong> greater than <strong>the</strong> sum of <strong>the</strong> parts,that engages <strong>the</strong> person of dialogue.When weary of life, Arnold sat down by <strong>the</strong> well of life and inmoments of intimacy and prayer God became h<strong>is</strong> rock, h<strong>is</strong>55

meaning, h<strong>is</strong> courage, h<strong>is</strong> all in all. “Meditative prayer <strong>is</strong> not atime of sterile, cold reflection; ra<strong>the</strong>r it should be a heartfelt,loving dialogue with God.” He d<strong>is</strong>covered that only inunshakable trust and total surrender into <strong>the</strong> hands of God couldh<strong>is</strong> impossible dream become a reality. In those vulnerable, yetgraced moments, Arnold faithfully used <strong>the</strong> potential that Godhad invested in him, never counting <strong>the</strong> cost. H<strong>is</strong> weaknessesbecame h<strong>is</strong> strengths and today we are gifted by <strong>the</strong> ordinarinessof th<strong>is</strong> man. Most importantly, to be vulnerable <strong>is</strong> to know <strong>the</strong>paradoxical power in surrendering ourselves to God. It <strong>is</strong> toallow <strong>the</strong> power of God’s Spirit to take over and to move throughus. It <strong>is</strong> to know that by ourselves we can do nothing, but with asurrendering heart we can do all things in <strong>the</strong> one who w<strong>is</strong>hesto grace us every moment of our lives, so we can become ablessing <strong>for</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs as Arnold has become <strong>for</strong> each one of us.[Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Steyl, Bimonthly Reflections, No. 7]56

“Et tui erant” - Reflection on <strong>the</strong>100 th Death Anniversary ofSt. Arnold JanssenAntonio M. Pernia, SVDThe ringing of <strong>the</strong> bells that morning was longer than usual.And everyone in Steyl knew that <strong>the</strong> Superior General, ArnoldJanssen, had died. It was <strong>the</strong> early morning of Friday, 15 January1909. At <strong>the</strong> first hour of that day, at 1:00 AM, <strong>the</strong> founder of <strong>the</strong>Steyl religious m<strong>is</strong>sionary congregations passed away peacefullyand without any struggle.Although <strong>the</strong> final illness had set in already in early November,Arnold Janssen was confined to bed only during <strong>the</strong> last tendays. From 05 January, <strong>the</strong> founder could no longer get up frombed. H<strong>is</strong> right side was completely paralyzed and <strong>the</strong> paralys<strong>is</strong>had now spread to <strong>the</strong> left side. On 10 January it seemed that<strong>the</strong> death agony had begun. The last rites were admin<strong>is</strong>tered,and <strong>the</strong> Prayers <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Dying were said. Despite h<strong>is</strong> condition,<strong>the</strong> founder joined in <strong>the</strong> responses. The hymn to <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit,Veni Sancte Spiritus, was heard repeatedly from <strong>the</strong> founder. Andin <strong>the</strong> midst of h<strong>is</strong> prayers, a small Latin phrase escaped fromh<strong>is</strong> lips – “Et tui erant”.At first <strong>the</strong> phrase seemed irrelevant and meaningless. But hekept saying it – until one of those around him remembered: “Ettui erant” – And <strong>the</strong>y were yours! It was a phrase from <strong>the</strong> finalprayer of Jesus be<strong>for</strong>e he went <strong>for</strong>th to h<strong>is</strong> death (Jn 17:6ff). “Ihave made your name known to those whom you gave me from<strong>the</strong> world. They were yours, and you gave <strong>the</strong>m to me, and <strong>the</strong>yhave kept your word .... I pray <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. I do not pray <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>world but <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> ones you have given me, because <strong>the</strong>y are yours”.57

On <strong>the</strong> night be<strong>for</strong>e he died, Jesus prayed <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> d<strong>is</strong>ciples. In astrikingly similar way, a few days be<strong>for</strong>e he died, Fa<strong>the</strong>r Arnoldprayed <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> spiritual sons and daughters. And h<strong>is</strong> prayerrevealed a profoundly modern m<strong>is</strong>siological insight – M<strong>is</strong>sio Dei.M<strong>is</strong>sion <strong>is</strong> God’s first and <strong>for</strong>emost. The m<strong>is</strong>sionarycongregations which he painstakingly founded, <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionaryvocations which he carefully nurtured, <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion work around<strong>the</strong> world which he efficiently organized – th<strong>is</strong> great work, h<strong>is</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary v<strong>is</strong>ion, h<strong>is</strong> lifelong m<strong>is</strong>sion – all th<strong>is</strong> was God’s.Everything that he lived and died <strong>for</strong>, everything that he workedhard and sacrificed <strong>for</strong>, everything was God’s. ET TUI ERANT!There was nothing he could claim as h<strong>is</strong> own. It was all M<strong>is</strong>sioDei. The founder may never have used <strong>the</strong> terms <strong>the</strong>mselves,but h<strong>is</strong> lifestyle and spirituality showed that he understood <strong>the</strong>call to m<strong>is</strong>sion as a call to collaborate with God’s m<strong>is</strong>sion.It <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e understandable that <strong>the</strong> search <strong>for</strong> God’s will wasa central concern of <strong>the</strong> founder throughout h<strong>is</strong> life. For if m<strong>is</strong>sion<strong>is</strong> fundamentally collaboration with God’s m<strong>is</strong>sion, <strong>the</strong>n it <strong>is</strong>essential that one <strong>is</strong> constantly attuned with God’s will. Thus,he sought all h<strong>is</strong> life to learn to d<strong>is</strong>cover God’s will and followit. And he demanded <strong>the</strong> same of h<strong>is</strong> priests, bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters.Be<strong>for</strong>e making any major dec<strong>is</strong>ion, he d<strong>is</strong>cerned hard and waited<strong>for</strong> God’s will to be revealed more clearly. In d<strong>is</strong>cerning God’swill, <strong>the</strong> founder generally combined both prayer and study, orcontemplation and dialogue.First, prayer and contemplation. While Fa<strong>the</strong>r Arnold was no“mystic” in <strong>the</strong> classical sense of <strong>the</strong> term, those who knew himclosely testify to h<strong>is</strong> “mystical d<strong>is</strong>position” or “prayerful frameof mind”. Thus, while Fr. Arnold was not gifted wi<strong>the</strong>xtraordinary mystical manifestations such as v<strong>is</strong>ions, ecstasiesand revelations, he appeared to walk in <strong>the</strong> presence of Godand gave <strong>the</strong> impression that he was constantly conversing withGod. Biographers of Fr. Arnold inevitably refer to h<strong>is</strong>“communion with God” and love <strong>for</strong> prayer as prominentcharacter<strong>is</strong>tics of h<strong>is</strong> personality. It was from th<strong>is</strong> that he drew58

<strong>the</strong> energy and strength <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> many tasks that he had to do.And it was through th<strong>is</strong> that he contemplated God’s heart andd<strong>is</strong>cerned God’s will about a particular question.Second, dialogue and study. For Fa<strong>the</strong>r Arnold, d<strong>is</strong>coveringGod’s will was not only a question of prayer and contemplation.It also required serious study and research. No importantdec<strong>is</strong>ion was ever made without first demanding detailedin<strong>for</strong>mation regarding a concrete situation, consulting withmembers of <strong>the</strong> general council, dialoguing with confreres orgroups of confreres, asking advice from experts and persons inauthority. Indeed what emerges from <strong>the</strong> founder’s style ofreaching a dec<strong>is</strong>ion <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> image of a person of dialogue. Themany consultations he undertook, <strong>the</strong> innumerable letters hewrote, <strong>the</strong> various reports from <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sions he required – all<strong>the</strong>se bespeak of a man striving to d<strong>is</strong>cover God’s will by beingopen to hear <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r, to learn from concrete situations, and todialogue with confreres.Thus, in h<strong>is</strong> lifetime, Arnold Janssen sought only to do God’swill – in such a way that whatever he achieved was not h<strong>is</strong> butGod’s. At h<strong>is</strong> death, that Friday morning of 15 January 1909, hehanded over to God h<strong>is</strong> life’s work and labor. Because <strong>the</strong>y areyours! Et tui erant!It <strong>is</strong> beautiful to remember that <strong>the</strong> founder prayed <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>followers just be<strong>for</strong>e he died. But it <strong>is</strong> also important to notethat in h<strong>is</strong> prayer he considered h<strong>is</strong> followers as belonging notto himself but to God. Et tui erant. Because <strong>the</strong>y are yours. Ino<strong>the</strong>r words, what was important <strong>for</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r Arnold was not that<strong>the</strong> members of <strong>the</strong> congregations he founded be h<strong>is</strong> followersbut that <strong>the</strong>y belong to God and be truly “persons of God”. That<strong>is</strong> to say, that by being followers of <strong>the</strong> founder, members of <strong>the</strong>congregations he founded would become like him – a man ofGod, someone who placed at <strong>the</strong> center of h<strong>is</strong> life <strong>the</strong> holy willof God, which <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvation of all peoples. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> realmeaning of our vocation as followers of Arnold Janssen –59

ecoming persons of God, as companions of <strong>the</strong> Divine Wordand servants of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit. Because th<strong>is</strong> experience of beingof God or of belonging to God <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> very source of m<strong>is</strong>sion. Forsuch experience <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> experience of being chosen by God or ofbeing loved by God – an experience which impels us to share<strong>the</strong> Gospel with o<strong>the</strong>rs. Thus m<strong>is</strong>sion no longer seems like anobligation or a duty, but an expression of our experience ofbelonging to God or of being of God. It <strong>is</strong> in th<strong>is</strong> light that St.Joseph Freinademetz could say: “I do not consider being am<strong>is</strong>sionary as a sacrifice which I offer to God but as <strong>the</strong> greatestgrace that God gives me”.Contemplating Fr. Arnold’s life and work, we h<strong>is</strong> followers canonly wh<strong>is</strong>per in prayer: “Et tuus erat!” For he was yours. Totallyyours. The inscription on h<strong>is</strong> tomb reads: “Dulc<strong>is</strong>simus in Chr<strong>is</strong>to.Arnoldus Janssen. Pater, Dux, Fundator noster. In pace.”[Arnoldus Nota, January 2009]60

Reflection on Arnold JanssenMary John Kudiyiruppil, SSpSHere our reflection focuses on <strong>the</strong> importance of Arnold Janssenin <strong>the</strong> animating and pioneering roles of M<strong>is</strong>sion Congregationstoday.I. Fr. Arnold: The M<strong>is</strong>sioner, The SenderIf <strong>the</strong> idea of “being sent out” <strong>is</strong> intrinsic to <strong>the</strong> understandingof m<strong>is</strong>sion, <strong>the</strong>n Fr. Arnold was not a ‘m<strong>is</strong>sionary’ but a‘m<strong>is</strong>sioner’. He did not take a single physical step in <strong>the</strong> directionof <strong>for</strong>eign m<strong>is</strong>sion. He was ra<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> ‘sender’, <strong>the</strong> ‘m<strong>is</strong>sioner’,<strong>the</strong> ‘layer of foundations’. Th<strong>is</strong> has special significance <strong>for</strong>Communities like ours where we are founding, receiving,sending, opening, closing, transferring, v<strong>is</strong>iting and inspiring.I would like to highlight three important qualities of Arnold inth<strong>is</strong> regard. They are:1. Arnold: The Sensible and Enterpr<strong>is</strong>ing Founder.Sensible: Fr. Arnold <strong>is</strong> often seen and at times accused of havingmany devotions. But facts indicate that he exerc<strong>is</strong>ed moderationin manifest religiosity. He never felt himself called to religiousmonastic life; h<strong>is</strong> interest was in m<strong>is</strong>sion. He wrote to h<strong>is</strong> Bro<strong>the</strong>rWilliam upon <strong>the</strong> latter’s dec<strong>is</strong>ion to join <strong>the</strong> Capuchin Bro<strong>the</strong>rs,“In as much as I do not have it... I envy those who are called toserve God in monastic life”. Despite h<strong>is</strong> great esteem <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>sacraments and <strong>the</strong> promotion of Church attendance, ArnoldJanssen followed <strong>the</strong> principle: “We can no longer save <strong>the</strong> worldwith sermons and liturgy alone”.As a young man he decided to study ma<strong>the</strong>matics and naturalsciences. To him <strong>the</strong> two d<strong>is</strong>ciplines held no conflict. When61

purchasing land or building, he analyzed <strong>the</strong> soil, assessed <strong>the</strong>water quality, studied <strong>the</strong> strategic importance of <strong>the</strong> locationand calculated its future prospects including finance. H<strong>is</strong> highlytrained powers of judgment avoided making hasty dec<strong>is</strong>ions.At <strong>the</strong> death of Fr. Frienademetz in 1908 of typhoid fever, Fr.Arnold felt a hard blow; h<strong>is</strong> faith said: “We now have a powerfulintercessor.” But h<strong>is</strong> practical mind instructed that <strong>the</strong> hospitalbe d<strong>is</strong>infected so that <strong>the</strong> situation does not create more“intercessors”. He was sensible to a fault.Enterpr<strong>is</strong>ing: Closely related to and flowing from h<strong>is</strong> sensiblenature <strong>is</strong> h<strong>is</strong> industrious personality. For <strong>the</strong> Founder, m<strong>is</strong>sionbecame <strong>the</strong> one single driving <strong>for</strong>ce of h<strong>is</strong> life which made himcapable of continually transcending himself and placing all h<strong>is</strong>talents and resources at <strong>the</strong> service of <strong>the</strong> reign of God. Arnoldput all he was worth and all h<strong>is</strong> resources at <strong>the</strong> service ofm<strong>is</strong>sion. And to me th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> single greatest exhortation ofArnold to us today – to do all we can at <strong>the</strong> service of God’speople. Have you ever imagined what Arnold would haveachieved if he had handy a computer or internet that we are<strong>for</strong>tunate to have today? In h<strong>is</strong> own time Arnold was quite wellknownin <strong>the</strong> ecclesial, social and political sphere of WesternEurope because of h<strong>is</strong> connections and contacts. He had averitable hunger <strong>for</strong> in<strong>for</strong>mation-keeping abreast with h<strong>is</strong>tory,geography and anthropology. Today’s m<strong>is</strong>sion situations arecomplex requiring of us <strong>the</strong> ability to understand and analyzerealities like Arnold did.2. Arnold: The Searching, Enduring FounderIn spite of all h<strong>is</strong> positive endowments, Arnold was a man whogroped in <strong>the</strong> dark worrying about <strong>the</strong> future of <strong>the</strong> foundationsfrom where no positive news was coming. When success wasslow and <strong>the</strong> going got tough, he bore <strong>the</strong> brunt of critic<strong>is</strong>msand humiliations at times overt and public. He wasunderestimated by o<strong>the</strong>rs and to some extent continues to be soeven today. He had an amazing capacity to sit with <strong>the</strong>62

unpleasant, to ask pardon if necessary and to clarify <strong>is</strong>sues.Arnold felt deeply <strong>the</strong> d<strong>is</strong>tance and <strong>is</strong>olation usually meted outto persons in authority by ‘respectful’ subjects.After having done all we can, <strong>the</strong>re still remains much undone.Rabindranath Tagore, Poet and Mystic, in one of h<strong>is</strong> d<strong>is</strong>courses,narrates a conversation between a flower and a fruit in which<strong>the</strong> flower asks <strong>the</strong> fruit: “O fruit where are you?” The fruit,still in its primordial <strong>for</strong>m, answers: “I am hidden within you Oflower”. The flower asks, “O fruit when will I see you?” Thefruit replies: “If you are waiting to see me, I haven’t a chance”.The flower must die confident that <strong>the</strong> fruit will emerge.The departure of <strong>the</strong> members through death or at will, <strong>the</strong>scandals that engulf Church and m<strong>is</strong>sion today and <strong>the</strong> painfullyslow progress in some m<strong>is</strong>sions can at times overwhelm <strong>the</strong>congregation especially those at <strong>the</strong> helm. It <strong>is</strong> here that Arnoldstands out as model of a new definition of success.3. Arnold: The Optim<strong>is</strong>tic and Supportive FounderFr. Arnold managed to think optim<strong>is</strong>tically about <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionseven when things on <strong>the</strong> ground were deplorable. The reason<strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> optim<strong>is</strong>m was <strong>the</strong> religious interpretation he gave to allthat happened. He detected progress year after year. He spokeof <strong>the</strong> South American m<strong>is</strong>sion: “It <strong>is</strong> quite different from thirtyyears ago, and in thirty years time it will be even better”.Optim<strong>is</strong>m shows itself in our capacity to work in small groupsand celebrate small victories.Fr. Arnold gave constant support to h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionaries abroad. Hewrote letters choosing words carefully and prayerfully, ‘sleepingover it’ to use h<strong>is</strong> own words. He sent telegrams and seized everyopportunity to connect with h<strong>is</strong> members. Protecting <strong>the</strong>reputation of o<strong>the</strong>rs, was <strong>for</strong> him, one way of showing support.He paid meticulous attention to details in founding <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters’Congregation and in sending <strong>the</strong>m abroad. He was ins<strong>is</strong>tentthat <strong>the</strong> S<strong>is</strong>ters should have a convent to call <strong>the</strong>ir own.63

Dear Bro<strong>the</strong>rs and S<strong>is</strong>ters, until a few years ago it would havebeen enough to know <strong>the</strong> language and have some professionaltraining <strong>for</strong> overseas m<strong>is</strong>sion. Today m<strong>is</strong>sion animation doesnot cons<strong>is</strong>t so much in strategies by which we encourage ourmembers to go to m<strong>is</strong>sion as it cons<strong>is</strong>ts in supporting andaccompanying <strong>the</strong>m. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> especially true of situations whereour members, on a daily bas<strong>is</strong> are faced with <strong>the</strong> grim realitiesof suffering and death all around <strong>the</strong>m like, <strong>for</strong> example, thoseworking with persons with HIV and AIDS. Appreciating andl<strong>is</strong>tening to <strong>the</strong>ir experiences and stories when on home leaveor upon retransfer can help reduce <strong>the</strong> sense of <strong>is</strong>olation andhopelessness. Arnold Janssen stands singular in <strong>the</strong> continuedaccompaniment and support that he gave to h<strong>is</strong> men and womenin <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sions. He writes to Fr. Neuenhofen in Ecuador: “Ofcourse I am concerned <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvation of all people; but myconcern <strong>for</strong> you <strong>is</strong> greater.”II. What <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> Value of a Centennial AnniversaryCelebration?I like to enumerate three.1. Valuing <strong>the</strong> PresentA traveler sees a man lazing under a tree on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side of <strong>the</strong>river. He shouts over to him: “How can I get across to <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rside?” The man looks up and replies: “You ARE on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rside!” A centennial anniversary celebration can at times have asimilar effect on <strong>the</strong> members: gazing at <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side andlonging to get across <strong>the</strong>re.Merely looking back at <strong>the</strong> good old past in nostalgia does no<strong>the</strong>lp <strong>for</strong> two reasons. One: <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> no such thing as ‘good olddays’; it’s a myth. Two: <strong>the</strong> present time <strong>is</strong> good enough and <strong>is</strong>in many ways <strong>the</strong> work of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit. There<strong>for</strong>e, to learn totap <strong>the</strong> resources that are <strong>the</strong>re ra<strong>the</strong>r than to lament <strong>the</strong> bygonepast may be one invitation of <strong>the</strong> Centennial.64

2. RenewalThe Centennial Anniversary Celebration <strong>is</strong> an experience ofrenewal <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> members of <strong>the</strong> Congregations. By ‘renewal’ <strong>is</strong>meant a recapturing of <strong>the</strong> two impulses of m<strong>is</strong>sion: <strong>the</strong> attractionand <strong>the</strong> sending. In h<strong>is</strong> Inaugural Address to <strong>the</strong> Ep<strong>is</strong>copalConference in Aparecida, Brazil 2007, Pope Benedict XVIdescribed <strong>the</strong> attraction impulse of m<strong>is</strong>sion as “d<strong>is</strong>cipleship”and <strong>the</strong> sending impulse as “m<strong>is</strong>sionary action”. He says:“D<strong>is</strong>cipleship and M<strong>is</strong>sion are but two sides of <strong>the</strong> same coin.When <strong>the</strong> d<strong>is</strong>ciple <strong>is</strong> in love with Chr<strong>is</strong>t, he or she can not butannounce to <strong>the</strong> world that Chr<strong>is</strong>t alone saves us. The d<strong>is</strong>cipleknows that without Chr<strong>is</strong>t <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> nei<strong>the</strong>r light nor hope, nei<strong>the</strong>rlove nor future”.The renewal I’m talking of <strong>is</strong> not confined to a renewal centre orto <strong>the</strong> recital of certain prayers, articles of faith or pious practicesalthough all <strong>the</strong>se will help.3. Dialogue and CommunionBack to <strong>the</strong> story of <strong>the</strong> riverside: looking at it from ano<strong>the</strong>r angle,Who are <strong>the</strong> people on <strong>the</strong> ‘O<strong>the</strong>r Side’ <strong>for</strong> us today? We maycall <strong>the</strong>m dialogue partners, congregational or geographicalpriorities or target groups. They are people of o<strong>the</strong>r faiths, o<strong>the</strong>rcultures and people living in constant exposure to violence anddeprivation. The General Chapters of <strong>the</strong> CelebratingCongregations have aptly summarized <strong>the</strong>ir responses to thoseon <strong>the</strong> ‘o<strong>the</strong>r side’ in two words: Dialogue and Communion.Dialogue <strong>is</strong> more than holding a prayer service toge<strong>the</strong>r in whichscriptures of different faiths are read or hymns sung. It’s takingtime to sit toge<strong>the</strong>r, giving all parties concerned a chance to talkand a chance to l<strong>is</strong>ten. In <strong>the</strong> deeply divided world of Chr<strong>is</strong>tiansand Muslims, now made worse by segregation, d<strong>is</strong>criminationand outright war, our m<strong>is</strong>sion must increasingly take a relating,dialoguing role. All dialogue must eventually lead tocommunion where unity and interconnectedness are felt in a65

eal way. In <strong>the</strong>ir 13 th General Chapter <strong>the</strong> SSpS deepened <strong>the</strong><strong>the</strong>me of Communion as that quality which reflects <strong>the</strong> life anddynam<strong>is</strong>m of <strong>the</strong> Trinity in our communities. Living <strong>the</strong>Prophetic Dialogue <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word and living<strong>the</strong> Chapter Directions as Intercultural, Learning and Au<strong>the</strong>nticwitnesses <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> SSpS are Congregational indicators where <strong>the</strong>Spirit <strong>is</strong> blowing us into action today.100 years and more <strong>is</strong> a long time. Down <strong>the</strong> years we have givennew interpretations to our spirituality and char<strong>is</strong>m. Ourcommunities are international in character but different from<strong>the</strong> Founder’s understanding of internationality. Our thrust <strong>is</strong>still m<strong>is</strong>sion but that thrust throws us into situations which <strong>the</strong>Founder may never have imagined. Many things have changedin manner and focus, but what has not changed <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> realizationthat all m<strong>is</strong>sion <strong>is</strong> God’s m<strong>is</strong>sion. God’s will was primary in <strong>the</strong>lives of our two Saints. There<strong>for</strong>e, toge<strong>the</strong>r with Sts. Arnold andJoseph and our members and collaborators around <strong>the</strong> world,let us hold on to <strong>the</strong> conviction: “The will of God will only takeus where <strong>the</strong> grace of God will protect us”.[Centennial Closing Euchar<strong>is</strong>t, SSpS Generalate-Rome, January 15, 2009]References:Alt, Josef SVD, Journey in Faith: The M<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>Life</strong> of Arnold Janssen,Rome, 2002.Gittins, J. Anthony, Called To Be Sent: Co-m<strong>is</strong>sioned as D<strong>is</strong>ciples Today,Liguori Publications, USA, 2008.Langmead, Ross (edit.), Reimagining God And M<strong>is</strong>sion, ATF PressAdelaide Australia, 2007.McHugh, Peter SVD, The Spirituality of Our Society: A TheologicalAppreciation, Manila, 1975.Rehbein, C. Franz<strong>is</strong>ka SSpS, Gripped by <strong>the</strong> Mystery: Arnold Janssen -Man of Prayer, AJSC Steyl, 2004.Kudiyiruppil, Mary John SSpS, “M<strong>is</strong>sion: A Call to Reach out inRelationship”, SEDOS, Vol. 38, March / April 2006.66

Arnold Janssen (1837-1909)Josef Alt, SVDIntroductionArnold Janssen founded St. Wendel in 1898. He was enthusiasticabout th<strong>is</strong> foundation. Already in February 1899 in a letter toChina he stated: “Th<strong>is</strong> foundation prom<strong>is</strong>es to be a veritablepearl. It <strong>is</strong> particularly wonderful that <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> much woodedarea and meadows, that St. Wendelin lived here and that one <strong>is</strong>quiet and und<strong>is</strong>turbed. “He also shared h<strong>is</strong> joy with <strong>the</strong> confreresin Argentina in 1901: “The location of <strong>the</strong> new house in St.Wendel <strong>is</strong> magnificent. It <strong>is</strong> situated on a mountain ridgesurrounded by two valleys and two mountains; below <strong>the</strong> house<strong>is</strong> a beautiful, huge <strong>for</strong>est of pine trees; in May <strong>the</strong> birds beginsinging at three in <strong>the</strong> morning or even earlier.”Th<strong>is</strong> man shall be <strong>the</strong> object of our reflections. We shall do so insix sections.I. The H<strong>is</strong>torical Context of Arnold Janssen’s <strong>Life</strong> andWorkThe prevailing conditions of <strong>the</strong> time in which Arnold Janssenbegan h<strong>is</strong> journey through life and developed h<strong>is</strong> life work wereanything but favorable. On 20 November 1837, <strong>the</strong> year ArnoldJanssen was born, Clemens August Droste zu V<strong>is</strong>chering,archb<strong>is</strong>hop of Cologne, was arrested. Th<strong>is</strong> event “made him andh<strong>is</strong> main objective, <strong>the</strong> independence of <strong>the</strong> church from <strong>the</strong> state,known far beyond <strong>the</strong> borders of h<strong>is</strong> diocese and initiated amovement without which <strong>the</strong> church h<strong>is</strong>tory of Germany in <strong>the</strong>19 th century cannot be understood.” Arnold Janssen was justthree weeks old <strong>the</strong>n.67

At <strong>the</strong> height of <strong>the</strong> “Kulturkampf” (conflict between churchand state) in 1874/75 Arnold Janssen made <strong>the</strong> dec<strong>is</strong>ion to founda m<strong>is</strong>sion house <strong>for</strong> German Catholics. Eight b<strong>is</strong>hoprics werevacant and a thousand par<strong>is</strong>hes without a pastor. There werenumerous summons and arrests as well as conf<strong>is</strong>cation ofproperty. Seminaries were closed, monasteries d<strong>is</strong>banded. AJvery clearly saw <strong>the</strong> difficulties in Germany, but interpreted <strong>the</strong>min a way different from most of h<strong>is</strong> contemporaries. For him <strong>the</strong>situation which apparently offered no prospects was a call anda challenge to look and act beyond <strong>the</strong> imposed limits andrestrictions towards <strong>the</strong> universal church.The mentality of those decades was shaped by an unbroken faithin progress and natural science. The industrial-social revolutionthreatened to suppress attention to religious concerns;colonial<strong>is</strong>m threatened to turn <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion command of <strong>the</strong>Church into a political and cultural m<strong>is</strong>sion.In 1884 Germany began to join <strong>the</strong> club of <strong>the</strong> colonial powers.In close causal connection with <strong>the</strong> commitment taken on in <strong>the</strong>German colony of Togo and <strong>the</strong> acceptance of German protection<strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionaries in China in 1892, Arnold Janssen was ableto establ<strong>is</strong>h <strong>the</strong> first m<strong>is</strong>sion house in Germany, in Silesia. O<strong>the</strong>rm<strong>is</strong>sion congregations of <strong>for</strong>eign origin, too, were able toestabl<strong>is</strong>h houses in GermanyThe Catholic Church found it ever more difficult, particularlystarting from <strong>the</strong> second half of <strong>the</strong> 19 th century, to present itselfin a convincing and attractive way. Its condemnatory judgmentsoften appeared one-sided and unbalanced. It made <strong>the</strong> attemptto secure and to retain, by all means, <strong>the</strong> secular power of <strong>the</strong>Pope, i.e. <strong>the</strong> Papal States. The First Vatican Council could notbe brought to a conclusion because of <strong>the</strong> outbreak of <strong>the</strong> French-German war in 1870. The dogmas of <strong>the</strong> infallibility and <strong>the</strong>jur<strong>is</strong>dictional primacy of <strong>the</strong> Pope did not find unanimouswelcome in <strong>the</strong> Church of Germany, but led instead to <strong>the</strong>establ<strong>is</strong>hment of <strong>the</strong> Old Catholic Church.68

The internal situation of <strong>the</strong> Church since roughly 1900 wascharacterized by <strong>the</strong> attempt to contain modern developmentsin <strong>the</strong>ology. An imaginary concept of an enemy was constructedwhich corresponded very little to <strong>the</strong> actual reality. What wasmore burdensome <strong>for</strong> Arnold Janssen was <strong>the</strong> influence whichBerlin (i.e. <strong>the</strong> German government) tried to exerc<strong>is</strong>e over <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary activity, partly with help from Vatican authorities.He condemned <strong>the</strong> meddling of Berlin and Rome’s ceding topressure in <strong>the</strong> appointment of a new b<strong>is</strong>hop (after <strong>the</strong> death ofAnzer) <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Vicariate of South-Shantung and feared seriousnegative consequences <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> future. Under pressure from Berlinand with <strong>the</strong> agreement of Rome he had to withdraw top-rankm<strong>is</strong>sionary personnel from Togo because <strong>the</strong>y had criticized <strong>the</strong>“uncivilized” behavior of German colonial officials.II. The Time of PreparationArnold Janssen was <strong>the</strong> second child born into a family whichwas very much like so many o<strong>the</strong>rs in h<strong>is</strong> native region: manychildren, not particularly blessed with <strong>the</strong> goods of <strong>the</strong> earth,but never<strong>the</strong>less content, industrious, having few demands, andstaunchly devoted to <strong>the</strong> Catholic faith. Altoge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> Janssencouple had ten children, of whom eight survived infancy. Theirmodest means automatically trained <strong>the</strong>m in thriftiness andintelligent circumspection in using those means. In h<strong>is</strong> studiesArnold obtained good marks only in ma<strong>the</strong>matics and in <strong>the</strong>scientific subjects. H<strong>is</strong> results in languages, on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r hand,were ra<strong>the</strong>r modest.After <strong>the</strong> passing <strong>the</strong> matriculation examination in 1855 heenrolled in <strong>the</strong> universities of Münster and Bonn. At first hestudied ma<strong>the</strong>matics and scientific subjects, in which he obtainedexcellent results. Th<strong>is</strong> permitted h<strong>is</strong> diligence and intelligenthandling of problems to be tested and deepened. H<strong>is</strong> report cardsabove all pra<strong>is</strong>ed h<strong>is</strong> “evident capacity to <strong>for</strong>m clear and prec<strong>is</strong>econcepts, “ h<strong>is</strong> “cons<strong>is</strong>tent earnest striving and keen sense <strong>for</strong>understanding <strong>the</strong> laws of language,” and finally h<strong>is</strong> untiringdiligence and h<strong>is</strong> pers<strong>is</strong>tence and perseverance. He acquired <strong>the</strong>69

national teacher’s certification <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> subjects to be taught insecondary school (Gymnasium).The study of <strong>the</strong>ology was concluded with priestly ordinationon 15 August 1861 in Münster. H<strong>is</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop assigned him to schoolwork to teach natural science at a school in Bocholt. ArnoldJanssen was respected as a strict but fair teacher. He used h<strong>is</strong>organizational ability to put on scientific exhibits. He also passedon h<strong>is</strong> knowledge to <strong>the</strong> larger public through articles andlectures.Arnold Janssen later regarded h<strong>is</strong> activity as teacher andeducator as providential preparation <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> new and much morecomprehensive tasks he was to take on. He recalled h<strong>is</strong> thoughtsat that time: “Why a teacher? Why not work elsewhere, whereyou can do more good? My b<strong>is</strong>hop, however, said to me: It <strong>is</strong> indivine providence. And I did not brood but did what wasincumbent on me; and later when establ<strong>is</strong>hing <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion houseit became clear to me that I had been in <strong>the</strong> right place <strong>for</strong>preparation.”During those 12 years of teaching Arnold Janssen matured inh<strong>is</strong> personal spiritual life. The total renunciation of tobacco, <strong>the</strong>strong limitation in <strong>the</strong> consumption of alcohol, fasting and <strong>the</strong>deprivation of sleep represent <strong>the</strong> outer aspect of h<strong>is</strong> spiritualdevelopment. The more important dimension, however, was <strong>the</strong>interior one, namely to be freed of oneself and <strong>the</strong> world, to beable to be caught up in prayer and meditation and <strong>the</strong> ability tolead o<strong>the</strong>rs to deeper faith and prayer. The latter he did aboveall, since 1869, as director of <strong>the</strong> Apostleship of Prayer, first inh<strong>is</strong> home diocese, <strong>the</strong>n in <strong>the</strong> entire German-speaking Catholicarea. For th<strong>is</strong> he sacrificed h<strong>is</strong> annual holidays.The concern <strong>for</strong> and identification with <strong>the</strong> intentions and desiresof Jesus opened Arnold Janssen to <strong>the</strong> entirety of faith, to <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sion of <strong>the</strong> Church and to h<strong>is</strong> own life task. He became“catholic” - universal - first in thinking and praying, <strong>the</strong>n inplanning and acting. In 1873 he left school min<strong>is</strong>try and from70

<strong>the</strong>n on dedicated all h<strong>is</strong> ef<strong>for</strong>ts to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion among pagans.He publ<strong>is</strong>hed an easily understandable m<strong>is</strong>sion magazine toprovide in<strong>for</strong>mation, but also, in addition, to ask <strong>for</strong> prayersand active support of m<strong>is</strong>sionary activity.III. The Foundation and <strong>the</strong> Beginnings of <strong>the</strong> SteylM<strong>is</strong>sionary Enterpr<strong>is</strong>eInfluenced by <strong>the</strong> Prefect Apostolic and, later, Vicar Apostolicof Hong Kong, Mgr. Giovanni Timoleone Raimondi, ArnoldJanssen in <strong>the</strong> summer of 1874 came to <strong>the</strong> dec<strong>is</strong>ion to personallystart a m<strong>is</strong>sion house <strong>for</strong> German-speaking Catholics, althoughmost of h<strong>is</strong> acquaintances judged him <strong>the</strong> least suitable <strong>for</strong> sucha task. With <strong>the</strong> approval and <strong>the</strong> blessing of all b<strong>is</strong>hops ofGermany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Holland —although not on <strong>the</strong>ir behalf — as well as with <strong>the</strong> generousass<strong>is</strong>tance of <strong>the</strong> German Franc<strong>is</strong>cans, he was able to open <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sion seminary in Steyl, a small place in Holland close to <strong>the</strong>German border, in a <strong>for</strong>mer inn, on September 8, 1875. Thesermon Arnold Janssen preached gives us a glimpse of h<strong>is</strong> innerfeelings: “May <strong>the</strong> good God <strong>the</strong>n do with us what he wants. Ifour seminary succeeds we will thank <strong>the</strong> grace of God, and ifnothing comes of it, we will humbly strike our breast and admitthat we were not worthy of <strong>the</strong> grace.”The first decade turned out to be very difficult. Within half ayear after <strong>the</strong> opening of Steyl he felt constrained to part withtwo collaborators. The idea of m<strong>is</strong>sion was clear, but <strong>the</strong> mannerof realizing it and of training <strong>the</strong> future m<strong>is</strong>sionaries led to abreak. Arnold Janssen emphasized h<strong>is</strong> own commitment toeducation and teaching: “From <strong>the</strong> beginning it has been myaim 1. to work hard <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> instruction of <strong>the</strong> candidates and 2.also as much as possible to exerc<strong>is</strong>e an influence on <strong>the</strong> spirit of<strong>the</strong> candidates by means of conferences and spiritual readingand spiritual guidance in order to <strong>for</strong>m and edify <strong>the</strong>m.”The number of students grew from year to year. Since most of<strong>the</strong> candidates came from poorer families <strong>the</strong>y were unable to71

pay <strong>the</strong> required fees <strong>for</strong> board and lodging. The apostolate of<strong>the</strong> press helped to provide <strong>the</strong> lacking funds. At <strong>the</strong> same time<strong>the</strong> magazines inspired new candidates to come to Steyl in orderto become m<strong>is</strong>sionaries. The d<strong>is</strong>tribution of <strong>the</strong> magazinesdepended on <strong>the</strong> unpaid volunteer work of thousands of laypeople in <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>hes who, guided by <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs from Steyl,considered th<strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir contribution to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sions. With <strong>the</strong> helpof <strong>the</strong> magazines and <strong>the</strong> printing press it was possible toestabl<strong>is</strong>h a solid financial bas<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> enterpr<strong>is</strong>e. The departmentof <strong>the</strong> Bro<strong>the</strong>rs, which compr<strong>is</strong>ed skilled men in <strong>the</strong> various craftsand in agriculture, became important prec<strong>is</strong>ely in countries likeTogo and New Guinea. The ex<strong>is</strong>tence of <strong>the</strong> Bro<strong>the</strong>rs’ departmentcould be considered assured when, in 1882, <strong>the</strong> first bro<strong>the</strong>rspronounced <strong>the</strong>ir vows and were sent to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion.Continuing in a rhythm of every seven years <strong>the</strong>re followed <strong>the</strong>foundation of <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary s<strong>is</strong>ters in 1889 and of <strong>the</strong> adorations<strong>is</strong>ters in 1896. Being clearly convinced of <strong>the</strong> pastoral andm<strong>is</strong>sionary necessity of <strong>the</strong> involvement of women, he took on<strong>the</strong> task of founding a congregation of women with a m<strong>is</strong>sionaryorientation. Starting in 1895 <strong>the</strong>se “S<strong>is</strong>ters <strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong> HolySpirit” were sent abroad, at first to Argentina <strong>for</strong> work among<strong>the</strong> German-speaking immigrants, but soon to all <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r areaswhere priests and bro<strong>the</strong>rs from Steyl were active followed.What was probably dec<strong>is</strong>ive <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> success of h<strong>is</strong> publicity workand <strong>the</strong> silencing of negative judgments about him was <strong>the</strong> factthat already on March 2, 1879 Arnold Janssen was able to send<strong>the</strong> first two m<strong>is</strong>sionaries to China. One of <strong>the</strong>m was JosephFreinademetz. The tree planted began to bear fruit already at anearly stage and thus showed its vitality.IV. Expansion and LeadershipArnold Janssen was now in a position to shape <strong>the</strong> structures of<strong>the</strong> young community, in a juridical and spiritual sense. Just ashalf a year be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> foundation of Steyl he already cast h<strong>is</strong>eyes on Rome as headquarters in order to counteract <strong>the</strong> dangers72

of an exaggerated national<strong>is</strong>m, he also simultaneously hadano<strong>the</strong>r goal in mind: “I believe we cannot do without <strong>the</strong>foundation of a religious congregation.”Th<strong>is</strong> foundation was laid in <strong>the</strong> tenth year of <strong>the</strong> ex<strong>is</strong>tence ofSteyl, at <strong>the</strong> first general chapter in 1885. To lead <strong>the</strong> congregation<strong>the</strong> current head, Arnold Janssen , was elected superior general<strong>for</strong> life. A rule was designed, still needing fur<strong>the</strong>r improvementsbut never<strong>the</strong>less approved by <strong>the</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop of Roermond. It statedthat <strong>the</strong> society cons<strong>is</strong>ted of priests and bro<strong>the</strong>rs, that <strong>the</strong>ircommon goal was <strong>the</strong> spreading of <strong>the</strong> word of God especiallyamong <strong>the</strong> pagan nations and that all had to be ready to gowherever <strong>the</strong> superior would send <strong>the</strong>m <strong>for</strong> life. Following Chr<strong>is</strong>t<strong>the</strong>y were to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience. In <strong>the</strong>irrelations with each o<strong>the</strong>r love of neighbor was to be <strong>the</strong> supremenorm. Th<strong>is</strong> basic thrust remained unchanged even during <strong>the</strong>next two general chapters held under Arnold Janssen .The enterpr<strong>is</strong>e grew by leaps and bounds. After six years of toughnegotiations with civil authorities, Arnold Janssen was able toopen a central house <strong>for</strong> philosophy and <strong>the</strong>ology in <strong>the</strong> outskirtsof Vienna in autumn 1889. A year earlier, in autumn 1888, a smallgroup began specialized studies in Rome to prepare <strong>the</strong>mselves<strong>for</strong> teaching those subjects. Starting in autumn 1892 in easternGermany, in <strong>the</strong> heart of <strong>the</strong> province of Silesia, a minor seminarygrew rapidly and provided access to <strong>the</strong> Slavic populations. Th<strong>is</strong>was followed in 1898 by St. Wendel (in <strong>the</strong> west of Germany)and in 1904 by St. Rupert, near B<strong>is</strong>chofshofen (in Austria).New areas of work in <strong>for</strong>eign countries were sought and takenover. Thus, in 1889 pastoral work among immigrants was startedin Argentina, followed by Ecuador, Brazil and Chile. Those wereCatholic countries but where <strong>the</strong> faith had grown weak and wasin danger of d<strong>is</strong>appearing. Something similar applied toCatholics in <strong>the</strong> USA. Arnold Janssen defended <strong>the</strong>se newcommitments: “Here we have to do with baptized Chr<strong>is</strong>tianswho <strong>for</strong> that reason have a certain preference as compared too<strong>the</strong>rs, although <strong>the</strong> pagans have <strong>the</strong> first claim to our help on73

<strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> of what <strong>is</strong> stated in our Constitutions.” The sameconsiderations applied to <strong>the</strong> engagement in <strong>the</strong> Philippines.M<strong>is</strong>sionary work in <strong>the</strong> strict sense in non-Chr<strong>is</strong>tian countrieswas in no way neglected. Apart from China, one needs tomention Togo, New Guinea, and Japan.When <strong>the</strong> 25th anniversary of <strong>the</strong> Society was celebrated in 1900Arnold Janssen could justly be proud: The Society was active onall five continents and was preparing to take on new areas ofwork. On May 1, 1900 it numbered 208 priests, 99 <strong>the</strong>ologystudents, 549 bro<strong>the</strong>rs, 731 candidates in <strong>the</strong> secondary schools(minor seminaries) and <strong>the</strong> lyceum (college level) and 190 s<strong>is</strong>ters.In recognition of <strong>the</strong>se facts <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word in1901 received definitive approval.Arnold Janssen trained collaborators on all levels and <strong>for</strong>med<strong>the</strong>m in h<strong>is</strong> spirit. He assigned responsibilities to o<strong>the</strong>rs and thusgot to know, almost automatically, <strong>the</strong> capacities, perseverance,speed, and cooperativeness of <strong>the</strong> individuals. Th<strong>is</strong> system beganalready among <strong>the</strong> lower classes. There were seniors in chargeof household chores, <strong>for</strong> opening and closing <strong>the</strong> windows in<strong>the</strong> dormitories, <strong>for</strong> ringing <strong>the</strong> bells, <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> refectories, <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>library. In studies not only intelligence and quick understandingshowed <strong>the</strong>mselves but also diligence, and above, all, humilityand modesty. The higher <strong>the</strong> level <strong>the</strong> greater <strong>the</strong> responsibilitygiven, and thus <strong>the</strong> character of each one showed itself moreclearly.V. H<strong>is</strong> Principles of ActionThe first thing Arnold Janssen looked <strong>for</strong> when faced with animportant dec<strong>is</strong>ion was to obtain sufficient in<strong>for</strong>mation <strong>for</strong>himself and h<strong>is</strong> councilors. That meant reading books, articlesor statements of experts. He was truly “hungry” <strong>for</strong> in<strong>for</strong>mation.He w<strong>is</strong>hed to arouse such hunger also in o<strong>the</strong>rs and <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>espoke of h<strong>is</strong> many questions as “thought-provoking”.74

He chose <strong>the</strong> places <strong>for</strong> starting a house or an activity with verygreat care. Just two examples. H<strong>is</strong> reaction to an offer he receivedfrom <strong>the</strong> Roman Congregation in 1891 was put in <strong>the</strong> followingterms: “14 days ago I received an inquiry from <strong>the</strong> Propagandawhe<strong>the</strong>r I would be willing to accept a m<strong>is</strong>sion in South Africaand that I should as soon as possible indicate <strong>the</strong> more specificarea. Th<strong>is</strong> meant, of course, that I had at once to studytravelogues, books, m<strong>is</strong>sionary reports with greatest intensityin order not to act imprudently. I at once ordered various books,<strong>the</strong> most important travelogues etc. and studied <strong>the</strong>m as best Icould. Everything not absolutely necessary had to wait. Invarious conferences I tried to explain clearly what I had learnt.How many things needed to be taken into consideration: health,location, climate, character<strong>is</strong>tics of <strong>the</strong> populations, rainyseasons, dry seasons, <strong>the</strong> possibility of having it ceded to us,plans <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> future etc.”One can likew<strong>is</strong>e very well illustrate th<strong>is</strong> basic attitude in h<strong>is</strong>procedure when looking <strong>for</strong> a suitable place to possibly open anew m<strong>is</strong>sion house. In <strong>the</strong> July 1895 <strong>is</strong>sue of h<strong>is</strong> magazinesArnold Janssen had addressed “a request to our friends” tosupply him with in<strong>for</strong>mation about suitable opportunities <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> foundation of a new house within or outside Germany. Steylno longer had sufficient space to accept <strong>the</strong> many applicants.The following points would have to be taken into considerationin <strong>the</strong> choice of a property: 1. An old monastery would bepreferable to a big private house. 2. Even more welcome wouldbe a big property with only such buildings as could be used asshops or <strong>for</strong> agricultural purposes; he would be thinking of anarea, compact if at all possible, of three hectares on which <strong>the</strong>needed buildings, garden and play/sports grounds could beconstructed. 3. The d<strong>is</strong>tance to <strong>the</strong> next railroad station as wellas to <strong>the</strong> next church should be indicated, and in th<strong>is</strong> regard agreater d<strong>is</strong>tance would be preferable to too close a proximity. 4.Finally, in view of <strong>the</strong> health of <strong>the</strong> future students it would beimportant to be able to take suitable walks in <strong>the</strong> surroundingsnearby and <strong>the</strong> water and <strong>the</strong> climate would have to be healthy.75

Arnold Janssen left many things to h<strong>is</strong> councilors and o<strong>the</strong>rsuperiors except <strong>for</strong> one thing: <strong>the</strong> care <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> priests, inparticular <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> new priests. Practically all throughout <strong>the</strong> earlyh<strong>is</strong>tory of <strong>the</strong> Society he personally preached <strong>the</strong> retreat prior toordination and afterwards introduced <strong>the</strong>m to priestly life andmin<strong>is</strong>try by giving <strong>the</strong>m many conferences. He had developedh<strong>is</strong> own system <strong>for</strong> assigning <strong>the</strong>ir work. The new priests had tosubmit a lengthy curriculum vitae in which <strong>the</strong>y also had toindicate <strong>the</strong>ir academic grades and any scientific inclinations.Next, <strong>the</strong>y had to state <strong>the</strong>ir w<strong>is</strong>hes regarding <strong>the</strong>ir future work,giving reasons and explanations. What was demanded in all th<strong>is</strong>was a sincere and open presentation of w<strong>is</strong>hes and proposals,including what each one would refuse or d<strong>is</strong>like. Arnold Janssenhimself collated <strong>the</strong> requests <strong>for</strong> manpower from <strong>the</strong> variousareas of activity, as well as matters that ra<strong>the</strong>r belonged to <strong>the</strong>private and family life of <strong>the</strong> new priest. He noted whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>parents were still alive, how many bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters he had,each with age and job. When somebody came from a farm heknew its size, at times even <strong>the</strong> number of horses and cows.Subsequently he talked at least twice to each one to arrive at aconcrete dec<strong>is</strong>ion in order to do justice to <strong>the</strong> w<strong>is</strong>hes, talentsand condition of health of <strong>the</strong> candidate, <strong>the</strong> needs andrequirements of <strong>the</strong> place of work and <strong>the</strong> evaluations of <strong>the</strong><strong>for</strong>mators and councilors.One of h<strong>is</strong> major concerns was to create and maintain <strong>the</strong> innerunity and harmony of <strong>the</strong> Society. H<strong>is</strong> ample correspondenceserved th<strong>is</strong> aim. Although Arnold Janssen admitted to himselfand to o<strong>the</strong>rs h<strong>is</strong> inadequacy as a letter writer, he wasnever<strong>the</strong>less conscious that he had something to say - not justas a person in authority but also in reference to <strong>the</strong> matter itselfand on <strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> of h<strong>is</strong> experience. The principle which herecommended to o<strong>the</strong>rs and also used himself was: “Don’t speak,write, or preach often and much – but ra<strong>the</strong>r give somethingsolid, well thought out, well reflected on! Let that be your motto!”He placed h<strong>is</strong> correspondence in <strong>the</strong> wider context of <strong>the</strong> task tobe done. What was at stake was “that <strong>the</strong> Society should try76

more and more to become a useful instrument in <strong>the</strong> hand ofGod […] But we should accompl<strong>is</strong>h <strong>the</strong> task indicated as truesons of <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word.. That <strong>is</strong> why it <strong>is</strong> necessary<strong>for</strong> us to adhere to it quite closely.” Consequently, whoeverwould endanger <strong>the</strong> inner cohesion of <strong>the</strong> Society, irrespectiveof whe<strong>the</strong>r superior or subject, e.g. by d<strong>is</strong>obedience or unjustifiedcritic<strong>is</strong>m, by behavior showing lack of charity and by giving badexample, should have no place in it, unless he showed evidentsigns of trying to improve.If one looks <strong>for</strong> concrete principles which something used as<strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> action and h<strong>is</strong> dec<strong>is</strong>ions, one will find <strong>the</strong>m in<strong>the</strong> following seven questions:1. Is <strong>the</strong> activity useful or even necessary <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> reign of God?2. Is <strong>the</strong>re no one else around to do <strong>the</strong> work or to accept <strong>the</strong>task?3. Is <strong>the</strong>re a request or an offer coming from ecclesiasticalauthorities?4. Are <strong>the</strong> necessary personnel and sufficient materialresources available?5. Has enough research, reflection and especially sufficientprayer been done in order to arrive at <strong>the</strong> right dec<strong>is</strong>ion?6. Is any setback or failure to be interpreted as a sign ofrejection by <strong>the</strong> Lord of h<strong>is</strong>tory or as a challenge <strong>for</strong>renewed reflection, more intense prayer and a greaterreadiness <strong>for</strong> sacrifice?7. Is <strong>the</strong> sole fundamental aim of all we do <strong>the</strong> glory of Godand <strong>the</strong> salvation of people?VI. The Mystery of <strong>the</strong> PersonAfter th<strong>is</strong> presentation of <strong>the</strong> life and work of Arnold Janssenwe must ask: What were <strong>the</strong> sources of h<strong>is</strong> energy? Where did77

he get <strong>the</strong> courage to begin and carry on to <strong>the</strong> end “<strong>the</strong>adventure of faith”? What <strong>for</strong>ces drew him out of <strong>the</strong>predetermined track to embark on <strong>the</strong> arduous road to Steyl,which he started with <strong>the</strong> words: “I have to go. Onward!” Whatwas it that opened h<strong>is</strong> eyes to see and judge <strong>the</strong> events of h<strong>is</strong>time in a way that differed from that of h<strong>is</strong> contemporaries?What must be considered <strong>the</strong> basic <strong>for</strong>ce <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> manner and <strong>for</strong>mof h<strong>is</strong> faith. What <strong>is</strong> specific to Arnold Janssen <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> intensitywith which he made <strong>the</strong> central realities of faith <strong>the</strong> content ofh<strong>is</strong> own life, untiringly modeled <strong>the</strong>m <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> followers andrecommended <strong>the</strong>m as guidelines <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir lives, namely <strong>the</strong> HolyTriune God who should live in <strong>the</strong> hearts of all people. In itsdeepest sense m<strong>is</strong>sionary activity had to serve th<strong>is</strong> goal. Toproclaim <strong>the</strong> Triune God as source and goal of every earthlycommunity, th<strong>is</strong> was what gave him a strong dynam<strong>is</strong>m. ArnoldJanssen derived <strong>the</strong> name he gave to h<strong>is</strong> foundation in Steyl from<strong>the</strong> Word of God seen as <strong>the</strong> expression of <strong>the</strong> dialogue takingplace in God himself and with humanity, as <strong>the</strong> Prologue of <strong>the</strong>Gospel of John presents it. It was and <strong>is</strong> imperative to look mostcarefully and most zealously <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> traces of <strong>the</strong> manifoldmanifestation of th<strong>is</strong> Word of God in Holy Scripture, <strong>the</strong> h<strong>is</strong>toryof humanity, <strong>the</strong> religions and cultures, as well as incontemporary h<strong>is</strong>tory. Th<strong>is</strong> was already demanded by <strong>the</strong> firstStatutes of 1876. It was <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e only natural that in <strong>the</strong> courseof time Arnold Janssen would enter ever more deeply into <strong>the</strong>mystery of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit. For <strong>the</strong> Spirit <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> spirit of d<strong>is</strong>tinctionor separation at <strong>the</strong> beginning of creation; he <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> spirit ofd<strong>is</strong>cernment when it comes to knowing whom we should follow;and he <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> spirit of dec<strong>is</strong>ion when it comes to choosing whomwe want to follow. From th<strong>is</strong> perspective it <strong>is</strong> easy to understandwhy Arnold Janssen promoted retreats; <strong>for</strong> in <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> powerof <strong>the</strong> Spirit who will renew <strong>the</strong> face of <strong>the</strong> earth <strong>is</strong> likely tomanifest itself more <strong>for</strong>cefully and with greater frequency. Theengagement in favor of <strong>the</strong> unity of Chr<strong>is</strong>tians, too, finds itsdepth dimension in th<strong>is</strong>.78

Arnold Janssen felt himself borne and led by <strong>the</strong> Church. TheChurch was h<strong>is</strong> spiritual home. Just as he asked <strong>for</strong> prayers <strong>for</strong>himself to be enlightened by <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit, he desired thatparticularly when he presented important petitions to Rome <strong>the</strong>members of h<strong>is</strong> foundations, especially <strong>the</strong> Adoration S<strong>is</strong>ters,would storm heaven with prayers in order to implore <strong>the</strong> rightand speedy dec<strong>is</strong>ion. He considered prayer <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> adv<strong>is</strong>ers of<strong>the</strong> Pope and of <strong>the</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hops - and at times a frank word spokenin all humility – as more helpful and meaningful than critic<strong>is</strong>mand griping about <strong>the</strong>ir ordinances. As regards love <strong>for</strong> andobedience to <strong>the</strong> Church <strong>the</strong>re was no one in h<strong>is</strong> Society whocould have surpassed him or taught him anything. In th<strong>is</strong> wayhe maintained h<strong>is</strong> inner balance and k<strong>is</strong>sed <strong>the</strong> hand of God,prec<strong>is</strong>ely in those moments when he did not understand itsdirections and d<strong>is</strong>positions.After having l<strong>is</strong>tened to what has been said we can perhaps betterunderstand what <strong>the</strong> Church states in one of <strong>the</strong> prefaces <strong>for</strong>holy pastors:You inspire us by h<strong>is</strong> holy life,Instruct us by h<strong>is</strong> preachingAnd give us your protection in answer to h<strong>is</strong> prayers[Talk given at St. Wendel’s and in Munich, in January 2009]79


Reflections on St. JosephFreinademetz SVDPietro Irsara, SVD82My years are fast declining and moving toward <strong>the</strong> endwith giant steps. Th<strong>is</strong> makes one feel deeply sorry <strong>for</strong> nothaving put <strong>the</strong> long series of grace-filled years of one’s lifeto better use in <strong>the</strong> vineyard of <strong>the</strong> Lord; one would atleast like to wake up in <strong>the</strong> eleventh hour and work withfull strength as long as <strong>the</strong> time lasts. Your pious prayershelp me.Joseph Freinademetzto Theodor Buddenbrock, Feb. 1907IntroductionOn January 28, 1908, Fr. Joseph Freinademetz died of typhoidfever in Taikia, <strong>the</strong> Central House of <strong>the</strong> Divine WordM<strong>is</strong>sionaries in South Shantung. He was worn out and had nostrength left in him to battle <strong>the</strong> contagious d<strong>is</strong>ease. Some twodays be<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> death, Fr. Theodor Bücker, in <strong>the</strong> name of allm<strong>is</strong>sionaries, asked him <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> blessing and said: “We prom<strong>is</strong>eyou to continue working in your spirit.” With a faint smile onh<strong>is</strong> face Joseph answered: “You w<strong>is</strong>h to continue working in myspirit? I was far from doing everything well”.Freinademetz tried to love and serve God and people with h<strong>is</strong>whole heart and h<strong>is</strong> whole soul. He understood h<strong>is</strong> life asworship of God. The brief period of service in h<strong>is</strong> native land,and h<strong>is</strong> many years in China had only one aim: <strong>the</strong> glory ofGod. H<strong>is</strong> humble statement at <strong>the</strong> end of h<strong>is</strong> life “I was far fromdoing everything well “certainly expresses h<strong>is</strong> honest opinionof himself. Today we may rightly state: Fr. Freinademetz didnot make things easy <strong>for</strong> himself, but he did <strong>the</strong>m well; he wasa good m<strong>is</strong>sionary.

The brief reflections which follow are meant to help us in ourspiritual reflections on <strong>the</strong> life of St. Joseph Freinademetz. May<strong>the</strong>y help us to reflect on our own life and work as members of<strong>the</strong> Arnoldus family and on our relation with God and with ourm<strong>is</strong>sion.The quotes used in <strong>the</strong>se reflections are mostly taken from:- Augustinus Henninghaus, P. Jos. Freinademetz S.V.D., SeinLeben und Wirken, Zugleich Beiträge zur Geschichte der M<strong>is</strong>sionin Süd-Shantung, Yenchowfu 1920, p. 633. [Abbreviation:Henninghaus]- Fritz Bornemann, As Wine Poured out, Blessed JosephFreinademetz SVD, M<strong>is</strong>sionary in China 1879-1908, Rome1984. [Abbreviation: Bornemann]- Fritz Bornemann (ed.), Josef Freinademetz, Berichte aus derChina-M<strong>is</strong>sion, Rome 1973 (Anacleta SVD 27)[Abbreviation: Berichte]- Fritz Bornemann (ed.), Erinnerungen an P. Josef Freinademetz,Mödling und St. Augustin 1974.- P. Pietro Irsara SVD (ed.), Lettere di un santo, GiuseppeFreinademetz, L’amore per il prossimo, la famiglia e la Badia [Acollection of letters in <strong>the</strong> original Italian. Abbreviation:Lettere]1. Saying Good-bye 1In Summer 1878 it was time <strong>for</strong> Jose Freinademetz to say goodbye: good bye to <strong>the</strong> familiar surroundings, to parents, relativesand friends, to <strong>the</strong> flow of life he had grown used to; good byealso to <strong>the</strong> kind of life <strong>for</strong> which he had prepared himself <strong>for</strong> solong: <strong>the</strong> security and warmth of <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>h house, <strong>the</strong> work as1 Bornemann, p. 34; letter to Franz Thaler, Steyl, 18.2.1887, in Letterep. 15f.83

ass<strong>is</strong>tant par<strong>is</strong>h priest which he had come to like very much. Tosay good bye means to go away; it means to leave behind whathad been important until now, that which had filled <strong>the</strong> life ofJoseph Freinademetz and given meaning to it. Why does he doth<strong>is</strong>? What moves him? Does he know what he <strong>is</strong> doing? Wha<strong>the</strong> <strong>is</strong> getting into?On Sunday, August 11, 1878, he said good bye to <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>h ofSt. Martin in Thurn, where he served as ass<strong>is</strong>tant par<strong>is</strong>h priestand elementary school teacher: “The divine good shepherd inh<strong>is</strong> unfathomable goodness has invited me to go out toge<strong>the</strong>rwith him into <strong>the</strong> desert in order to help him in h<strong>is</strong> search <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> lost sheep. What else should I do but k<strong>is</strong>s h<strong>is</strong> hand full of joyand gratitude and say with <strong>the</strong> Scriptures: ‘Behold I come!’ andwith Abraham leave my fa<strong>the</strong>r’s house, native land and you,my dear ones, and go to <strong>the</strong> land which <strong>the</strong> Lord will show me.”A week later, in h<strong>is</strong> home par<strong>is</strong>h St. Leonhard, he added: “Forme, too, it <strong>is</strong> difficult - I cannot deny th<strong>is</strong> - to leave my dearparents and so many benefactors and friends. But after all, man<strong>is</strong> not meant <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> world. He has been created <strong>for</strong> somethinggreater: not to enjoy life, but to work wherever <strong>the</strong> Lord callshim.”Joseph Freinademetz did not piously look <strong>for</strong> self sacrifice; hedid not follow <strong>the</strong> itch <strong>for</strong> adventure or romantic wanderlust.Joseph Freinademetz felt called; he followed an invitation andset out on a journey like Abraham long ago. To leave, to saygood-bye, was difficult <strong>for</strong> him. But he did not hesitate becausehe was sure that he was on <strong>the</strong> way to <strong>the</strong> land that God wouldshow him, as <strong>the</strong> Bible says of Abraham. He set out to do <strong>the</strong>will of God and was thus led to himself, to fulfillment in life.H<strong>is</strong> inner sentiments are laid bare in a letter which he wrote toFranz Thaler, h<strong>is</strong> friend and benefactor in Sottrù, a small villagenext to Oies, on February 18, 1879, a few days be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong>departure ceremony in Steyl:84

“… Dear friend, at times I find it hard to live far away fromthose whom I have loved so much, to leave my native place,which has given me so many friends and joys, and to look <strong>for</strong>ano<strong>the</strong>r home where one has to start from <strong>the</strong> very beginninglike a child beginning life anew, where one has to learn new andvery difficult languages and get to know people who havecompletely different interests and customs ... It <strong>is</strong> hard to beginsuch a life after I have been so happy among you Ladins. And Isay it to you in all honesty: I would never do th<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> anything inth<strong>is</strong> world, not even <strong>for</strong> millions of worlds. But I am very happyand content that I can do th<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> good Lord up <strong>the</strong>re, even ifI would encounter death a thousand times. And I know h<strong>is</strong> gracewill never abandon me. My only desire <strong>is</strong> to be able to convertmany, very many of our poor bro<strong>the</strong>rs. Only <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> do I leavemy dear fa<strong>the</strong>r, my dear mo<strong>the</strong>r, my bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters,relatives and friends, among whom you occupy one of <strong>the</strong> veryfirst places, and my beloved St. Martin.”For reflection:Joseph Freinademetz left h<strong>is</strong> native land, but he did not go insearch of ano<strong>the</strong>r one. He remained “stateless”, and even laterin <strong>the</strong> midst of h<strong>is</strong> Chinese whom he loved so much he felt beinga stranger. The reason why he “set out on <strong>the</strong> journey” was h<strong>is</strong>faith, <strong>the</strong> faith that gave him assurance that he would find h<strong>is</strong>home in God, that he would be sheltered “in <strong>the</strong> shadow of h<strong>is</strong>wings” as <strong>the</strong> Psalm<strong>is</strong>t says. 1 Pet 2:13 states: “Beloved, you arestrangers and in exile.” “After all, man <strong>is</strong> not meant <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong>world..., <strong>the</strong> young Freinademetz told h<strong>is</strong> home par<strong>is</strong>h.In my life, to which things did I say good bye? From which haveI moved away, perhaps in pain? Where do I feel at home andsheltered? Am I on <strong>the</strong> way, like Abraham and Freinademetz, to<strong>the</strong> “land” which God wants to show me? Do I inquire aboutth<strong>is</strong> land, to I look <strong>for</strong> it? “By <strong>the</strong> infinite mercy of God, whochooses <strong>the</strong> weak as h<strong>is</strong> instruments, I hope to share in a graceof which I am not worthy <strong>for</strong> eternity,” Freinademetz said whenbidding good bye to St. Martin.85

2. Living with D<strong>is</strong>appointments 2With <strong>the</strong> Te Deum on h<strong>is</strong> lips and h<strong>is</strong> heart beating <strong>for</strong> joy, <strong>the</strong>young m<strong>is</strong>sionary Joseph Freinademetz stepped on Chinese soil.But what he experienced and had to face at first were bitterd<strong>is</strong>appointments. He had truly arrived “in a <strong>for</strong>eign land”. Backhome he was highly esteemed and honored as a priest and wellaccepted as a person. But here people curiously stared at h<strong>is</strong>European look and behavior. Nobody asked <strong>for</strong> him; no oneseemed to be interested in knowing why he was <strong>the</strong>re. Theloneliness began to affect h<strong>is</strong> mind. Everything contrastedharshly with what he had expected. “What I saw, heard andexperienced day after day, was often diametrically opposed to<strong>the</strong> convictions I held hi<strong>the</strong>rto”, he wrote looking back on thosedays.But what was totally incomprehensible to him and what he feltmost bitterly was <strong>the</strong> seeming religious indifference. Nobodyseemed to hunger <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> bread of truth and grace as he hadexpected. He found nothing familiar. Being a man of h<strong>is</strong> timeand with h<strong>is</strong> European background <strong>the</strong>re was no room in him<strong>for</strong> understanding <strong>the</strong> <strong>for</strong>eign culture and way of life: “One canhardly make ten steps without coming across a lot of devil<strong>is</strong>hlygrimacing faces and <strong>the</strong> most diverse <strong>for</strong>ms of devilry. The airone brea<strong>the</strong>s here <strong>is</strong> thoroughly pagan; no inspiration comingfrom <strong>the</strong> outside; <strong>the</strong> encouraging word, <strong>the</strong> inspiring goodexample <strong>is</strong> absent. No sound of a church bell, no religious feast,no solemn procession speaks to <strong>the</strong> heart; in most cases <strong>the</strong>chapel has <strong>the</strong> same decoration on Good Friday as on EasterSunday. Externally <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> no difference between Chr<strong>is</strong>tmas andAsh Wednesday; always and everywhere <strong>the</strong> same milling massmoving to and fro without beginning or end...”2 Bornemann, p. 47; Berichte, pp. 37, 39f., 41; Verbum (SVD InternalPublication), Vol. 4, 1962, p. 410; letter to h<strong>is</strong> godchild Franz Thaler,China, 28.05.1902, in Lettere, p. 86f.; letter to El<strong>is</strong>abetta Thaler, Yenfu,23.01.1907, in Lettere, p. 93; letter to El<strong>is</strong>abetta Thaler, 26.12.1907,in Lettere, p. 96.86

He himself described those first two years as h<strong>is</strong> “m<strong>is</strong>sionnovitiate”. They were a tough school <strong>for</strong> him since <strong>the</strong> trulyex<strong>is</strong>tential questions were ra<strong>is</strong>ed: For what had he left home?Was China indeed <strong>the</strong> country which – remember Abraham –God wanted to show him?He must have spent much time brooding, meditating, strugglingwith himself and praying be<strong>for</strong>e he wrote <strong>the</strong>se almost mysticallines: “The quiet solitude and general loneliness speak to <strong>the</strong>heart of <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary in a unique manner, and since <strong>the</strong> morewe are alone, <strong>the</strong> closer God <strong>is</strong> to us, <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary does notknow whe<strong>the</strong>r in such a situation he should cry because of innerhurt or shout <strong>for</strong> great joy, and so he does both.”The difficulties at <strong>the</strong> beginning of h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary life, however,were not <strong>the</strong> only ones. Again and again d<strong>is</strong>appointmentscrossed h<strong>is</strong> path: “In spring 1890, he had an experience whichhe called <strong>the</strong> saddest of h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary life. 200 catechumens(candidates <strong>for</strong> bapt<strong>is</strong>m) fell away; and th<strong>is</strong> because, of all things,<strong>the</strong>ir catech<strong>is</strong>t, whom Fr. Freinademetz himself had baptizedand employed, seduced <strong>the</strong>m to apostasy and instigated <strong>the</strong>magainst Fr. Freinademetz. Th<strong>is</strong> was a bitter d<strong>is</strong>appointment, bu<strong>the</strong> knew how to control himself. Pretty soon <strong>the</strong> catech<strong>is</strong>t madehimself impossible and <strong>the</strong> majority of <strong>the</strong> catechumensreturned.”Towards <strong>the</strong> end of h<strong>is</strong> life, when physical hardships had becomeless, persecutions had come to an end, and loneliness was nolonger a problem because of <strong>the</strong> affectionate loyalty of Chr<strong>is</strong>tiansand <strong>the</strong> arrival of many confreres. The m<strong>is</strong>sion was flour<strong>is</strong>hing,so to say. Freinademetz had to fear that <strong>the</strong> blossoms wouldwhi<strong>the</strong>r all too quickly, because with <strong>the</strong> increasing influx ofEuropeans, <strong>the</strong>ir irreligious behavior also made itself felt. Hecomplains about th<strong>is</strong>, writing to h<strong>is</strong> godchild on May 28, 1902:“For <strong>the</strong> rest, at present we live in peace here in China, and onceagain many become Chr<strong>is</strong>tians. The main scourge <strong>for</strong> us and<strong>the</strong> poor Chinese are <strong>the</strong> many Europeans, without faith andtotally corrupt, who begin to flood China. Yes, <strong>the</strong>y are Chr<strong>is</strong>tians87

ut <strong>the</strong>y are worse than <strong>the</strong> pagans. They have no o<strong>the</strong>r thoughtthan to make money and enjoy all worldly pleasures; poorpeople!”He defended h<strong>is</strong> Chinese: “The Chinese are not hostile toreligion, and if Europe were Chr<strong>is</strong>tian today as it could andshould be, I am convinced <strong>the</strong> whole of China would convert toChr<strong>is</strong>tianity. ... <strong>the</strong> wind coming from Europe <strong>is</strong> very chilly andevil; one must, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, fear that <strong>the</strong> poor Chinese will remainpagans and even become worse than <strong>the</strong> pagans.” Just one monthbe<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> death he writes with bitterness: “The bad example ofthose who come to China ... causes <strong>the</strong>m (<strong>the</strong> Chinese) to beindifferent to, or even enemies of, Chr<strong>is</strong>tianity.”For reflection:D<strong>is</strong>appointments and cr<strong>is</strong>es are part of our life. They d<strong>is</strong>courageus, block <strong>the</strong> flow of life and cause certain things to come to astill stand. But that <strong>is</strong> prec<strong>is</strong>ely where <strong>the</strong>ir great importancelies. They <strong>for</strong>ce us to pause, to reflect and thus turn <strong>the</strong>m intoopportunities; <strong>the</strong>y challenge us to consider o<strong>the</strong>r ways, to daremaking a new start.God dares to send us cr<strong>is</strong>es which cannot simply be brushed offby prayer or pious exerc<strong>is</strong>es. Even <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> believer cr<strong>is</strong>es arechallenges which <strong>for</strong>ce us to reflect, call <strong>for</strong>th hi<strong>the</strong>rto hiddencapacities in us and thus promote <strong>the</strong> development of ourpersonality.Faith does not gloss over problems and difficulties but gives us<strong>the</strong> strength and courage to see things in <strong>the</strong>ir full reality. It <strong>is</strong> aquestion of faith whe<strong>the</strong>r I accept that God acts differently fromwhat I expect and w<strong>is</strong>h. God often arranges things in such away that through d<strong>is</strong>appointments, through cr<strong>is</strong>es andsufferings, I arrive at a relation with him which would not havebeen possible <strong>for</strong> me without <strong>the</strong>m.Am I capable of seeing that <strong>the</strong> obstacles on my way can openme to <strong>the</strong> presence of God which surrounds me everywhere?88

Can I understand that cr<strong>is</strong>es coming from God are always amanifestation of love and can make my life mature and enrichit?3. Attractive Kindness 3“H<strong>is</strong> gentle and kind nature radiated a charm which won <strong>the</strong>hearts of all who came into contact with him”. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> how B<strong>is</strong>hopHenninghaus characterizes Joseph Freinademetz, and hecontinues: “Most of <strong>the</strong> time h<strong>is</strong> eyes shone with such attractivegoodness, with such kind serenity that <strong>the</strong> Chinese easily trustedhim and felt at home with him”.Even if <strong>the</strong> language and expressions of <strong>the</strong> early 20 th centurymay sound exaggerated today, <strong>the</strong>re seems to be little doubtthat Freinademetz indeed possessed an “untiring goodness andkindness”, was endowed with inexhaustible patience, andradiated a “noble self-<strong>for</strong>getful love”.Th<strong>is</strong> kindness did not leave him, according to Henninghaus,“even when reprimanding and imposing pun<strong>is</strong>hments”,although he made “no small demands” on confreres andChr<strong>is</strong>tians. If on rare occasions he became stern and angry, h<strong>is</strong>words would shake people to <strong>the</strong> core, Henninghaus quotesChinese Chr<strong>is</strong>tians as saying. Evidently he never let himself becarried away to use corporal pun<strong>is</strong>hment. “The hand of <strong>the</strong> priest<strong>is</strong> meant <strong>for</strong> blessing and not <strong>for</strong> beating”, was one of h<strong>is</strong> guidingprinciples.The longer Freinademetz lived and labored among <strong>the</strong> Chinese<strong>the</strong> greater <strong>the</strong> understanding he showed <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>m and <strong>the</strong>irways, <strong>the</strong> more <strong>the</strong> natural d<strong>is</strong>position of h<strong>is</strong> personality cameto <strong>the</strong> <strong>for</strong>e. B<strong>is</strong>hop Henninghaus attributes “th<strong>is</strong> pleasant andserene friendliness” to h<strong>is</strong> natural d<strong>is</strong>position but also points toa deeper reason: “H<strong>is</strong> happy natural d<strong>is</strong>position had been refined3 Henninghaus, pp. 69, 77f., 81, 82, 83; Erinnerungen, p. 99.89

into <strong>the</strong> pure gold of superna-tural, noble unself<strong>is</strong>hness in <strong>the</strong>school of <strong>the</strong> Sacred Heart of Jesus and in that school he hadacquired that self-control which does not allow itself to beinfluenced by one’s moods and <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r.”Th<strong>is</strong> does not mean, <strong>the</strong> B<strong>is</strong>hop emphasizes, that <strong>the</strong>re were no“days of sorrow” and he believes that Freinademetz oftenenough experienced times when he could say with <strong>the</strong> Psalm<strong>is</strong>t:“My drink I mix with tears” (Ps. 102, 10).He did not make o<strong>the</strong>rs pay <strong>for</strong> d<strong>is</strong>appointments, failures andirritations. The b<strong>is</strong>hop finds <strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> in “<strong>the</strong> core of h<strong>is</strong>character”, h<strong>is</strong> unself<strong>is</strong>hness. “To refuse nothing to o<strong>the</strong>rs, todemand nothing <strong>for</strong> one self,” was ano<strong>the</strong>r of h<strong>is</strong> guidingprinciples, or, as Fr. Johannes Blick SVD quotes him as saying:“The pagans will only be converted by <strong>the</strong> grace of God and, letus add that, by our love,” <strong>for</strong> “<strong>the</strong> language of love <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> only<strong>for</strong>eign language which <strong>the</strong> pagans understand”. Freinademetzhad evidently learned to speak th<strong>is</strong> “<strong>for</strong>eign language” very well.For reflection:A fellow student of Freinademetz in Brixen, Fr. Mair, CSsR,described him as follows: “I find no better description of himthan th<strong>is</strong>: (he <strong>is</strong>) <strong>the</strong> incarnation of <strong>the</strong> twelve fruits of <strong>the</strong> HolySpirit, a personality which radiates <strong>the</strong> supernatural virtue ofserenity. It was <strong>the</strong> spirit of love, silent joy, inner peace,gentleness, modesty which manifested itself externally”.What impression does such an attitude in life make on me?Would I strive <strong>for</strong> such virtues?From daily experience we know how difficult an understandingand patient love of neighbor can be. Can <strong>the</strong> example of th<strong>is</strong>saint spur us on and help us to train ourselves in th<strong>is</strong> love andgoodness which manifests itself in unself<strong>is</strong>h service? How do Ibehave toward someone who keeps aloof from me and doesn’tshow me any love?90

4. Prayer: The Atmosphere of H<strong>is</strong> <strong>Life</strong> 4Freinademetz worked a lot, and prayed a lot! Very often heremained be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> tabernacle till late into <strong>the</strong> night. There <strong>is</strong>hardly any letter of h<strong>is</strong> that does not contain <strong>the</strong> request toremember him, <strong>the</strong> Chinese entrusted to h<strong>is</strong> care and <strong>the</strong> wholeM<strong>is</strong>sion in prayer, just as he emphasizes and affirms again andagain that he never <strong>for</strong>gets <strong>the</strong> recipients (of <strong>the</strong> letters) andfrequently recommends <strong>the</strong>m to <strong>the</strong> Heart of Jesus and <strong>the</strong>Mo<strong>the</strong>r of God.From Steyl, that <strong>is</strong> even be<strong>for</strong>e leaving h<strong>is</strong> native place never toreturn, he writes: “You, too, should pray and thank God everyday at least by saying an Our Fa<strong>the</strong>r and a Hail Mary, becausehe was so gracious to call a m<strong>is</strong>sionary from our family.” H<strong>is</strong>vocation had truly been <strong>the</strong> fruit of h<strong>is</strong> fervent prayer. “Since Ihave often consulted with <strong>the</strong> Most Sacred Heart of Jesus inprayer and th<strong>is</strong> thought <strong>for</strong>cefully enters my mind prec<strong>is</strong>ely at<strong>the</strong> time of prayer, I believe I can truly find in th<strong>is</strong> a hint…,” hewrote in h<strong>is</strong> application to Arnold Janssen.Be<strong>for</strong>e leaving <strong>for</strong> Steyl, in h<strong>is</strong> farewell sermon in St. Martin, hecalls on <strong>the</strong> faithful: “Pray! Prayer <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> key to parad<strong>is</strong>e. Prayer<strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> staff on our pilgrim way, <strong>the</strong> source of life giving water,<strong>the</strong> food which streng<strong>the</strong>ns our soul.” The thought that one day<strong>the</strong>y would meet again in parad<strong>is</strong>e helps him find consolationin view of <strong>the</strong> definitive separation from parents and home. But<strong>the</strong> presupposition <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> prayer. While traveling to China,in a letter to h<strong>is</strong> parents from Singapore, he wrote: “Pray <strong>for</strong> me,and I shall pray <strong>for</strong> you, that th<strong>is</strong> day may be <strong>for</strong> all of us a dayof joy. Pray also that I may receive <strong>the</strong> grace to spend my lifeworking hard in <strong>the</strong> vineyard of <strong>the</strong> Lord <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> salvation ofsouls.”4 Letter to Franz Thaler, in Lettere, p. 62; letter to h<strong>is</strong> parents andbro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters, Steyl 29.10.1878, in Lettere, p. 15; Bornemann,pp. 31, 34, 140; letter from Singapore, 14. April 1879, in Lettere, p.21; Berichte, p. 61; Henninghaus, p. 83f.91

In a long report sent to Steyl he describes how much th<strong>is</strong> workin <strong>the</strong> vineyard of <strong>the</strong> Lord was joined to prayer: “I was alone in<strong>the</strong> midst of a totally pagan people … Deo gratias! … And now,what shall I do here, what shall I aim at? … Dear God, do youbuild, o<strong>the</strong>rw<strong>is</strong>e I shall build in vain; do you fight, do you watch,o<strong>the</strong>rw<strong>is</strong>e I shall fight and watch in vain. The harvest wouldseem to be plenty, but … Never<strong>the</strong>less, God wants it! Hence, getgoing, get to work!”For Fr. Anton Volpert who had h<strong>is</strong> training as a m<strong>is</strong>sionary underFr. Freinademetz, he was “a man of prayer. When traveling hesat in <strong>the</strong> cart praying or reading. At home in <strong>the</strong> course of <strong>the</strong>day and frequently until late into <strong>the</strong> night he was often seen inchurch, lost in prayer.”In <strong>the</strong> opinion of B<strong>is</strong>hop Henninghaus, too, Fr. Freinademetzwas “a man of prayer. Prayer was <strong>the</strong> atmosphere and <strong>the</strong> joy ofh<strong>is</strong> life. The first place in h<strong>is</strong> prayer life belonged to <strong>the</strong> twosacred duties of a priest: daily holy mass and <strong>the</strong> recitation of<strong>the</strong> bre-viary. Even on exhausting m<strong>is</strong>sion trips he never omitted<strong>the</strong>se two sacred exerc<strong>is</strong>es … Even when pressured by work hetried to pray <strong>the</strong> breviary at <strong>the</strong> proper time. … One could seehim kneeling be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> altar, <strong>for</strong> a long time and repeatedly in<strong>the</strong> course of <strong>the</strong> day, absorbed in silent prayer. It <strong>is</strong> noexaggeration to say that he dedicated all of h<strong>is</strong> time that was notoccupied by o<strong>the</strong>r duties to prayer. He had a very specialdevotion to <strong>the</strong> Sacred Heart of Jesus. To love and honor <strong>the</strong>Sacred Heart was <strong>for</strong> him, as a Tyro-lese, a precious heritage.He, too, felt bound by <strong>the</strong> oath by which h<strong>is</strong> ancestors hadconsecrated <strong>the</strong>mselves to <strong>the</strong> Sacred Heart; th<strong>is</strong> correspondedaltoge<strong>the</strong>r to <strong>the</strong> inclinations of h<strong>is</strong> own heart. It was, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e,always h<strong>is</strong> concern to also instill th<strong>is</strong> love and devotion in <strong>the</strong>hearts of o<strong>the</strong>rs.”For reflection:Joseph Freinademetz was convinced of <strong>the</strong> power of prayer. Th<strong>is</strong>made him unafraid. “Even if <strong>the</strong> whole world collapses, God92

does not let prayer go unheeded. One thing alone <strong>is</strong> alwaysnecessary: to pray much. A life without prayer <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> surest wayto hell. Never <strong>for</strong>get to pray <strong>for</strong> us and all m<strong>is</strong>sionaries”.- Am I convinced of <strong>the</strong> power of prayer?- Could anyone say of me: “He <strong>is</strong> a man/woman of prayer?”Freinademetz knew: God does not need our prayer, but we needprayer <strong>for</strong> our life. Also, he never <strong>for</strong>got that our prayer shouldnot only be centered on our own concerns and problems butabove all on those of o<strong>the</strong>rs. Praying in th<strong>is</strong> way we become <strong>the</strong>voice of <strong>the</strong> church in <strong>the</strong> whole world - just like JosephFreinademetz in China.- Does my prayer embrace <strong>the</strong> concerns and problems ofo<strong>the</strong>rs?- Do I ask God’s help <strong>for</strong> our confreres, <strong>for</strong> our m<strong>is</strong>sionaries?Do I beg <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> blessings on our m<strong>is</strong>sion?5. Enthusiastic and Untiring 5During <strong>the</strong> first decades of <strong>the</strong> Shantung m<strong>is</strong>sion, Fr.Freinademetz personally ei<strong>the</strong>r founded or fur<strong>the</strong>r developedalmost all of <strong>the</strong> Chr<strong>is</strong>tian communities. He paid <strong>the</strong>secommunities frequent v<strong>is</strong>its. For a long time he did not haveany place he could call h<strong>is</strong> home. Wherever a Chr<strong>is</strong>tian wasliving, that was ‘home’ <strong>for</strong> him. To reach <strong>the</strong> more remotecommunities he had to travel hundreds of kilometers. He alwayscarried with him <strong>the</strong> most necessary things: mass kit, bedding,clothing, etc. A horse or mule served as pack animal, more rarelya cart. A Chinese accompanied him.As an itinerant m<strong>is</strong>sionary he was also a preacher. All throughouth<strong>is</strong> life, “wherever he happened to find an opportunity - whe<strong>the</strong>ron <strong>the</strong> road or in country inns - he used to preach to <strong>the</strong> people5 Henninghaus, p. 186.93

who ga<strong>the</strong>red around him or engage in religious conversationwith <strong>the</strong>m. Even when exhausted from a long trip, he didn’thave <strong>the</strong> heart to send people away without having had afriendly religious conversation with <strong>the</strong>m.” Towards <strong>the</strong> end ofh<strong>is</strong> life, in <strong>the</strong> fall of 1907, he still made a long roundtrip through<strong>the</strong> d<strong>is</strong>tricts of Lini and Tsingtao. Th<strong>is</strong> trip was so exhausting<strong>for</strong> him that he had to stop twice to take a longer period of rest.He dedicated h<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong>emost attention directly to <strong>the</strong> spiritual lifeof <strong>the</strong> communities. He took <strong>the</strong> preparation of catechumens<strong>for</strong> bapt<strong>is</strong>m and first Holy Communion most seriously.Whenever possible, he gave <strong>the</strong>m courses and talks. In h<strong>is</strong>catecheses and sermons he put <strong>the</strong> emphas<strong>is</strong> on religious truthsand instruction in prayer.In spite of h<strong>is</strong> big workload, Fr. Freinademetz found time to send<strong>the</strong> B<strong>is</strong>hop written reports about h<strong>is</strong> experiences, translated textsand wrote booklets, among o<strong>the</strong>r things, a brief outline ofChr<strong>is</strong>tian Doctrine, a devotional meditation on <strong>the</strong> Mass, rules<strong>for</strong> leaders of Chr<strong>is</strong>tian communities, and <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> seminarianstwo treat<strong>is</strong>es in Latin on <strong>the</strong> Sacrifice of <strong>the</strong> Mass and on <strong>the</strong>Breviary.Finally, Fr. Freinademetz was superior in a variety of functions:rector in Puolichwang, director of <strong>the</strong> school in Tsining, headteacher of <strong>the</strong> women catech<strong>is</strong>ts, Pro-vicar (ass<strong>is</strong>tant vicar), sixtimes admin<strong>is</strong>trator of <strong>the</strong> entire m<strong>is</strong>sion, provincial superior.At times he even became treasurer, which he liked least; butalso such a task he tried to carry out conscientiously.In <strong>the</strong> retreat conferences of 1902, Fr. Freinademetz repeatedlyemphasized <strong>the</strong> sentence of St. Paul from Second Corinthians:“I will most gladly spend and be spent <strong>for</strong> your sakes” (2 Cor12,15). Joseph Freinademetz made <strong>the</strong>se words h<strong>is</strong> own. He wasalways ready to give all, even h<strong>is</strong> life.94

For reflection:I try to become aware of myself, of my capacities and talents,my hopes and successes, <strong>the</strong> goals I have achieved. To whatextent do I pay attention to <strong>the</strong> manifold needs of people?Jesus wants that we find true life, life in joy and abundance. AmI aware that he <strong>is</strong> counting on my help in order to bring th<strong>is</strong>about?6. A Testimony of Gratitude 6Thomas Cardinal Tien, SVD, <strong>the</strong> first Chinese Cardinal, was astudent of Fr. Joseph Freinademetz. In May 1963 he v<strong>is</strong>ited Oies.In <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>h church of St. Leonhard/Abtei where JosephFreinademetz had been baptized, celebrated h<strong>is</strong> First Mass, andtaken leave of h<strong>is</strong> homeland, Cardinal Tien addressed <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>hcommunity in German. Here are some of h<strong>is</strong> words:“…My dear people! It <strong>is</strong> a great joy <strong>for</strong> me to be here in yourcommunity, and I genuinely feel <strong>the</strong> need to bring you and yourpeople my own and my people’s gratitude <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> holym<strong>is</strong>sionary that you sent to us. Fr. Freinademetz, <strong>the</strong> servant ofGod, was <strong>the</strong> kind of m<strong>is</strong>sionary that <strong>the</strong> Lord God certainlyintended. We could not have w<strong>is</strong>hed <strong>for</strong> a better one. That hewas a true m<strong>is</strong>sionary can be seen in <strong>the</strong> great suffering heendured just to gain a foothold in my country in order to be ableto proclaim <strong>the</strong> Gospel. My native land has been <strong>the</strong> homelandof <strong>the</strong> great Confucius, and prec<strong>is</strong>ely because of th<strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> moreeducated among my people were utterly opposed to any <strong>for</strong>eignm<strong>is</strong>sionary. They did everything possible to prevent <strong>for</strong>eignm<strong>is</strong>sionaries from gaining a foothold in China. From th<strong>is</strong> wecan ga<strong>the</strong>r that your servant of God, Fr. Freinademetz, must havehad to follow <strong>the</strong> Lord in a veritable ‘Via Cruc<strong>is</strong>’ during h<strong>is</strong> firstyears in my homeland. But just as our Savior carried h<strong>is</strong> cross,6 A. Bald<strong>is</strong>sera, Siur Ujöp Freinademetz, Balsan/Bozen 1975.95

so Joseph Freinademetz heroically bore h<strong>is</strong>; he gladly acceptedevery ignominy done to him and every difficulty placed in h<strong>is</strong>way, <strong>for</strong> salvation’s sake and in order to save souls. And <strong>the</strong>grace of God won out in <strong>the</strong> end!“…For a long time already - indeed <strong>for</strong> years - I have longed tocome to th<strong>is</strong> homeland and home village of your holy m<strong>is</strong>sionaryand now that I have <strong>the</strong> joy of being here with you, my happiness<strong>is</strong> complete. My hopes and my longings really have been fulfilled.I simply had to come here to tell you about him. I had <strong>the</strong>happiness of living with him <strong>for</strong> almost eight years. He first tookme in when I was only a boy in primary school, and later acceptedme into <strong>the</strong> seminary. There I was often allowed to serve h<strong>is</strong>Holy Mass; I had <strong>the</strong> opportunity again and again to l<strong>is</strong>ten toh<strong>is</strong> teaching, something <strong>for</strong> which I can never thank him enough.He was <strong>the</strong> quintessential m<strong>is</strong>sionary. not only because he hadto bear such a heavy cross and suffering, but also because <strong>the</strong>rein my homeland he became all things to all men and women.Whoever came to him with a happy heart, with that person herejoiced. Whoever came to him in suffering, found in himconsolation and help. We simply called him “our mo<strong>the</strong>r”. Hehelped us in whatever way he could, and he <strong>is</strong> still helping ustoday. It <strong>is</strong> not only here in your homeland that men and womenturn to him <strong>for</strong> help and protection. You are not <strong>the</strong> only oneswho experience a boost when you pray to him. My people too –our faithful Chinese – still pray to him, and whoever prays tohim never remains unheard.“My dear people! Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> reason why I am experiencing suchgreat joy at being here in h<strong>is</strong> home village, at being able to bepresent, to pray, and to offer <strong>the</strong> Holy Sacrifice in th<strong>is</strong> samechurch in which he grew up and in which he became <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary that he was in my homeland.”96

For reflection:Cardinal Tien said: “The picture of th<strong>is</strong> priest kneeling be<strong>for</strong>e<strong>the</strong> tabernacle has become an indelible image in my memory.”- Do I foster personal prayer be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> tabernacle?Cardinal Tien said: “Fr. Freinademetz was simply <strong>the</strong>re <strong>for</strong>o<strong>the</strong>rs. We knew that we could come to him at any hour of dayor night. We were never a burden to him, never. He was alwaysfriendly, he was a saint.”- Charitable goodness belongs to <strong>the</strong> very essence of m<strong>is</strong>sion.What <strong>is</strong> my attitude toward those who do not think as Ido; who belong to o<strong>the</strong>r cultures, or who are poor andmarginalized?7. Sickness and Recovery 7In February of 1898, Fr. Freinademetz, as representative of <strong>the</strong>b<strong>is</strong>hop, v<strong>is</strong>ited <strong>the</strong> German colonial troops who had occupied<strong>the</strong> bay of Kiaochow in November of <strong>the</strong> previous year. Thesoldiers were deeply impressed. Captain Dannhauer described<strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary in a Berlin newspaper: “The numerous sufferingsand deprivations that he has undergone during <strong>the</strong> course ofnineteen, unbroken years exerc<strong>is</strong>ing h<strong>is</strong> difficult m<strong>is</strong>sionary taskin China’s hinterlands can be clearly seen on h<strong>is</strong> noble andclassically craggy Tyrolean face and physique. But although h<strong>is</strong>neck <strong>is</strong> bowed, h<strong>is</strong> face and cheeks thin, pale and emaciated, h<strong>is</strong>eyes sunk deep in <strong>the</strong>ir sockets, prec<strong>is</strong>ely from <strong>the</strong>se eyes, whichnormally are so filled with friendliness and gentleness, <strong>the</strong>reare flashes of enthusiasm and boundless energy whenever hetouches upon h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion during <strong>the</strong> course of h<strong>is</strong> report.”At that point in time Fr. Freinademetz’ health was no longerwhat it used to be. Years of hard work, worries, dangers and7 Bornemann, p. 258; Henninghaus, pp. 394 and 82f.97

hardships had broken it. In <strong>the</strong> end h<strong>is</strong> voice gave out. He, whopreached so gladly and so fervently, suddenly felt that he wasno longer able to speak out loud. A serious illness was affectingh<strong>is</strong> larynx and lungs, he was coughing up blood.When B<strong>is</strong>hop Anzer returned from Europe in mid 1898 heordered h<strong>is</strong> pro-vicar to go to Shang-hai and have himselfexamined by <strong>the</strong> doctors <strong>the</strong>re. The findings showed that h<strong>is</strong>lungs had been affected. The doctor prescribed absolute rest,repose and good food. The b<strong>is</strong>hop sent him to Nagasaki in Japan.It was extremely difficult <strong>for</strong> Freinademetz to leave “h<strong>is</strong>”m<strong>is</strong>sion. The clientele of <strong>the</strong> health resort Unzen, furn<strong>is</strong>hedaccording to European standards, did not correspond to wha<strong>the</strong> was accustomed to. After only a few weeks he was back inChina. Although he felt better h<strong>is</strong> illness was not completelyhealed. For <strong>the</strong> time being he was <strong>for</strong>bidden to preach. He placedh<strong>is</strong> life in <strong>the</strong> hands of <strong>the</strong> Lord and thanked <strong>the</strong> B<strong>is</strong>hop <strong>for</strong>having “so generously allowed him to take th<strong>is</strong> vacation trip.”Freinademetz did not spare himself and, to some extent, burnt<strong>the</strong> candle at both ends. Was he right in doing so? On <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rhand, as provincial, he paid great attention to <strong>the</strong> physical andspiritual well-being of h<strong>is</strong> confreres. He expanded <strong>the</strong> centralhouse in Taikia and asked <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionaries to use its facilitiesand opportunities in order to recuperate physically and mentally,make <strong>the</strong>ir annual retreat, and spend time toge<strong>the</strong>r in ongoingpastoral <strong>for</strong>mation and education. He saw to it that <strong>the</strong> confreresfelt at home in <strong>the</strong> central house.In spite of h<strong>is</strong> ascetic<strong>is</strong>m and unassuming character Fr.Freinademetz obviously enjoyed companionship and jokes. “Fr.Freinademetz belonged nei<strong>the</strong>r to <strong>the</strong> ‘sons of thunder’ nor to<strong>the</strong> ‘sour faces’, Henninghaus writes and adds: Wherever he was,a ligh<strong>the</strong>arted mood prevailed most of <strong>the</strong> time; even as superiorhe was not one of those whose presence covers <strong>the</strong> surroundingslike a damp cold fog making everyone feel depressed andparalyzed.”98

For reflection:Our service in <strong>the</strong> vineyard of <strong>the</strong> Lord demands that we lookafter our health, that we take <strong>the</strong> time <strong>for</strong> recollection andreflection so that our spiritual life doesn’t get shortchanged.When body and soul are in harmony, we will be happy and atpeace.- Am I thankful <strong>for</strong> my health? Do I recognize it as a greatgift of God?- Do I look after my health? Do I go to a doctor promptlywhen I recognize signs of illness or physical problems?- Do I try to d<strong>is</strong>cern <strong>the</strong> will of God in my old age or inillness and put up with my sufferings while maintainingmy good cheer and a sense of subm<strong>is</strong>siveness?8. Nearing <strong>the</strong> End 8At <strong>the</strong> beginning of January 1882, <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>n Vicar Apostolic ofShantung, Msgr. Cosi, had named J. B. Anzer as h<strong>is</strong> Pro-Vicar<strong>for</strong> South Shantung. Several days later, Anzer traveled to Puoli,where <strong>the</strong> only Chr<strong>is</strong>tian community of <strong>the</strong> new m<strong>is</strong>sion territoryentrusted to <strong>the</strong> SVD was to be found.When <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion in South Shantung celebrated its twenty fiveyears of ex<strong>is</strong>tence on January 28, 1907, nobody could ever have<strong>for</strong>eseen that on prec<strong>is</strong>ely that same day, one year later, <strong>the</strong> lightof <strong>the</strong> great m<strong>is</strong>sionary would be extingu<strong>is</strong>hed - Anzer hadalready died in 1903.The m<strong>is</strong>sion’s jubilee was planned as a very simple celebrationto thank God <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> protection and blessings of <strong>the</strong> past twentyfive years. At <strong>the</strong> time of <strong>the</strong> jubilee, Fr. Freinademetz was stayingin Yen-chow-fu. For him <strong>the</strong> day was not only an occasion tolook back but also to look toward <strong>the</strong> future. On th<strong>is</strong> day he8 Henninghaus, p. 619.99

aptized 150 new Chr<strong>is</strong>tians. He had thoroughly prepared <strong>the</strong>m<strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> sacrament during an instruction period which had lastedseveral weeks.As B<strong>is</strong>hop Henninghaus writes in h<strong>is</strong> biography, at th<strong>is</strong> time Fr.Freinademetz was already v<strong>is</strong>ibly weakened. Sicknesses,troubles and sufferings had “left <strong>the</strong>ir imprint on him. H<strong>is</strong> hairwas streaked with grey and h<strong>is</strong> friendly features showed deepcreases. H<strong>is</strong> voice had lost its earlier bright, metallic tone. Despiteall th<strong>is</strong> he stuck fast to h<strong>is</strong> usual ascetical and pious daily habits.H<strong>is</strong> strictness with himself did not let up in <strong>the</strong> least. H<strong>is</strong> mild,hearty friendliness was always <strong>the</strong> same, and h<strong>is</strong> ‘first love’, <strong>the</strong>holy fire of eagerness <strong>for</strong> souls, burned as brightly as ever in h<strong>is</strong>mature heart as when he was young. Th<strong>is</strong> gave him <strong>the</strong> freshnessof youth, boundless energy and an obvious joy in carrying outevery task that had been loaded on h<strong>is</strong> shoulders <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> good of<strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion”.Half a year after <strong>the</strong> jubilee celebrations, at <strong>the</strong> beginning of June1907, Henninghaus left <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> first trip to Europe as b<strong>is</strong>hop.Th<strong>is</strong> meant that Fr. Freinademetz had to once again shoulder<strong>the</strong> burden of leadership in <strong>the</strong> China m<strong>is</strong>sion. It was <strong>the</strong> sixthtime that he served as Admin<strong>is</strong>trator of <strong>the</strong> China m<strong>is</strong>sion.In <strong>the</strong> middle of August he set out on a v<strong>is</strong>itation of <strong>the</strong> eastwhich was to keep him away from <strong>the</strong> central station <strong>for</strong> morethan three months. An accident and stresses and strains causedhim much trouble, kidneys and heart acted up, water collectedin h<strong>is</strong> badly swollen legs and feet and <strong>for</strong>ced him to interrupth<strong>is</strong> travels <strong>for</strong> some days of rest. In December he returned toYenchowfu. He wanted to prepare himself <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> RegionalSynod of B<strong>is</strong>hops in which, in <strong>the</strong> absence of <strong>the</strong> B<strong>is</strong>hop, he wasscheduled to take part. But that never happened. In Yen-chowfutyphoid fever was raging; it had already claimed manyvictims. Joseph himself contracted <strong>the</strong> fatal d<strong>is</strong>ease whilespending himself in <strong>the</strong> care of those who had been stricken by<strong>the</strong> d<strong>is</strong>ease. H<strong>is</strong> weakened body was unable to put up a defense.100

For reflection:Every human person would like to live long and reach ripe oldage. But how are we preparing <strong>for</strong> our own old age?Freinademetz asked h<strong>is</strong> superior general several times to relievehim of h<strong>is</strong> office as provincial.To what extent do we manage to turn over responsibility toyounger ones?Despite sickness, hardships and suffering one could sense inJoseph Freinademetz a certain “youthful freshness, energy andjoy in taking on any task that needed to be done.”How can I learn to be of service to o<strong>the</strong>rs, even when bodilyailments and limitations begin to make <strong>the</strong>mselves felt?9. The Deadly Epidemic 9At <strong>the</strong> end of <strong>the</strong> 19th and <strong>the</strong> beginning of <strong>the</strong> 20th centurytyphoid fever was one of <strong>the</strong> most dreaded d<strong>is</strong>eases in China. Italso claimed victims among men and women m<strong>is</strong>sionaries. At<strong>the</strong> end of 1907 <strong>the</strong> d<strong>is</strong>ease had broken out anew in Yenchowfuwhere <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion maintained a big orphanage and girls’ home.Fr. Freinademetz arrived in Yenchowfu at <strong>the</strong> beginning of <strong>the</strong>December, returning from a v<strong>is</strong>itation trip. He was physicallyweakened. A confrere noted that he was hardly able to keephimself in <strong>the</strong> saddle during <strong>the</strong> trip. Yenchowfu was <strong>the</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop’sseat. Since B<strong>is</strong>hop Henninghaus was in Europe from June of thatyear Freinademetz had to take care of <strong>the</strong> official business as<strong>the</strong> representative of <strong>the</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop. He had barely arrived when<strong>the</strong> care <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> sick became h<strong>is</strong> main preoccupation. In <strong>the</strong> wordsof h<strong>is</strong> first biographer: “Like a good fa<strong>the</strong>r he was in <strong>the</strong> midstof h<strong>is</strong> suffering children, trying to console, help and especiallyprepare <strong>the</strong> gravely ill <strong>for</strong> a good death. Every morning he went9 Henninghaus, p. 628f; Bornemann, p. 477, 481.101

from room to room to give Holy Communion to each one.” Thedeath of <strong>the</strong> first Superior of <strong>the</strong> SSpS S<strong>is</strong>ters was an especiallyheavy blow <strong>for</strong> him. “The good Lord has taken her from us andwe must accept th<strong>is</strong> heavy blow with resignation to God’s willand bear it with courage,” he wrote to h<strong>is</strong> Superior GeneralArnold Janssen. Admittedly, again and again h<strong>is</strong> courage beganto fail him. He felt overburdened, was downcast, almostdepressed: “One difficulty after <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r! Please, return soon…I am often at a loss and at times without joy,” he wrote h<strong>is</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop.Being in constant contact with <strong>the</strong> sick he himself got infected.When he traveled to Tsining on January 17 in order to presideover <strong>the</strong> exams in <strong>the</strong> catech<strong>is</strong>ts’ school, he complained of aheadache but still wrote an extensive letter - h<strong>is</strong> last one – to h<strong>is</strong>b<strong>is</strong>hop and friend: “Like a cart our M<strong>is</strong>sion moves on as usualin <strong>the</strong> midst of all sorts of crosses and sorrows. ...”He concludes <strong>the</strong> letter with a request <strong>for</strong> a blessing whichsounds like a last w<strong>is</strong>h: “May your Excellency please bless yourflock again and again and pray <strong>for</strong> it; may <strong>the</strong> dear Lordaccompany all your steps, make your strenuous labor fruitful<strong>for</strong> yourself and <strong>the</strong> South Shantung M<strong>is</strong>sion and soon bringyou back safely into our midst.”The letter covers “three and one half pages in quarto” and “<strong>is</strong>written in h<strong>is</strong> typical clear and flowing handwriting. Not a wordin <strong>the</strong> letter gives a hint that he felt gravely ill or even near <strong>the</strong>end of h<strong>is</strong> life. Except <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> brief personal remark justmentioned he, being faithful and committed to h<strong>is</strong> duties, onlyreports <strong>the</strong> happenings and concerns of <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion.” Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong>how <strong>the</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop evaluates <strong>the</strong> last letter of h<strong>is</strong> representative.Already on <strong>the</strong> next day, on January 18, Fr. Freinademetz had tocut short <strong>the</strong> exams; he felt <strong>the</strong> typhoid fever in h<strong>is</strong> body. OnSunday, January 19, he still celebrated mass; it was h<strong>is</strong> last mass.In <strong>the</strong> afternoon he was brought to Taikia, where he had h<strong>is</strong> seatas provincial superior. “Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> last journey,” he said whenboarding <strong>the</strong> carriage.102

For reflection:Fr. Freinademetz evidently felt that h<strong>is</strong> days were numbered,that h<strong>is</strong> life filled with troubles and struggles was coming to anend. Th<strong>is</strong> did not prevent him from reporting <strong>the</strong> difficultiesand problems of <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion to h<strong>is</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop and sending him h<strong>is</strong>best w<strong>is</strong>hes; he did not say a word about h<strong>is</strong> own health. “ThatChr<strong>is</strong>t may take shape in us; that <strong>is</strong> and shall remain my prayer,”he had written h<strong>is</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop at <strong>the</strong> beginning of <strong>the</strong> new year onJanuary 1, 1907. The source of h<strong>is</strong> strength was h<strong>is</strong> faith andtrust in God’s love and help. “If we love our vocation we are nottraveling <strong>the</strong> wrong road,” he had told <strong>the</strong> s<strong>is</strong>ters during <strong>the</strong>irretreat.Trials and doubts as to whe<strong>the</strong>r one <strong>is</strong> traveling “on <strong>the</strong> rightroad,” will ar<strong>is</strong>e in everybody’s life, including my own … Howdid I experience that <strong>the</strong> Lord was at my side and gave mestrength and patience to persevere?Where do I find courage and strength, w<strong>is</strong>dom and patience, tohandle <strong>the</strong> tasks entrusted to me with trust and a sense ofresponsibility?10. “The Next Move <strong>is</strong> Upward!” 10“There, now I have gotten to <strong>the</strong> end; <strong>the</strong> next move <strong>is</strong> upward!”With <strong>the</strong>se words, as Br. Ulrich Heyen recalls, Fr. Freinademetz,clearly marked by typhoid fever, got down from <strong>the</strong> carriagethat had taken him from Tsining to <strong>the</strong> provincial house in Taikia.Th<strong>is</strong> was on Sunday evening, January 19, 1908.During <strong>the</strong> night he ran a high fever which slightly decreasedon Monday morning, but he had no illusions and gave h<strong>is</strong> finalorders– as provincial he was religious superior and in <strong>the</strong> absenceof <strong>the</strong> b<strong>is</strong>hop also admin<strong>is</strong>trator of <strong>the</strong> whole M<strong>is</strong>sion. In adocument that was to be opened only after h<strong>is</strong> death he named10 Bornemann, pp. 481-483; Henninghaus, pp. 630-633.103

h<strong>is</strong> successor “until o<strong>the</strong>r arrangements are made by higherauthorities.” “For <strong>the</strong> rest I die with full confidence in <strong>the</strong> mercyof <strong>the</strong> Divine Heart and <strong>the</strong> intercession of H<strong>is</strong> and my Mo<strong>the</strong>rMary toge<strong>the</strong>r with that of my patron saint and patron of <strong>the</strong>dying, St. Joseph,” were <strong>the</strong> final words of <strong>the</strong> communication.He signed it “Taikia, 20.1.1908, from my sickbed, Jos.Freinademetz.”With deep devotion he received <strong>the</strong> anointing of <strong>the</strong> sick or <strong>the</strong>“sacraments of <strong>the</strong> dying,” as <strong>the</strong>y were <strong>the</strong>n called.At h<strong>is</strong> request <strong>the</strong> images of St. Joseph, <strong>the</strong> Heart of Jesus and<strong>the</strong> Guardian Angel were hung above h<strong>is</strong> bed from which hewas no longer able to get up. In life he had put h<strong>is</strong> trust in <strong>the</strong>m,now at <strong>the</strong> hour of death he w<strong>is</strong>hed to have <strong>the</strong>ir image be<strong>for</strong>eh<strong>is</strong> eyes. H<strong>is</strong> trembling hands clasped <strong>the</strong> rosary with <strong>the</strong> cross,as had always been h<strong>is</strong> custom.The thoughts of <strong>the</strong> book “Preparation For A Happy Death,”which he asked to be read to him, helped him to overcome <strong>the</strong>final fear of dying; thus he could say in <strong>the</strong> end: “If one hasdone one’s duty and all that was within one’s power, <strong>the</strong> goodGod will surely be merciful…”He did h<strong>is</strong> duty till h<strong>is</strong> very last day. With a trembling hand hewrote to Fr. Röser on January 21: “Am writing you from my bed,probably sick with typhoid; last night I had a 39ˆ fever; by nowI have perspired some; however, I must be prepared <strong>for</strong> my lasthour! Fiat voluntas Dei Summi Omnipotent<strong>is</strong> (May <strong>the</strong> will ofGod Most High and Almighty be done)!” It <strong>is</strong> moving that evenin th<strong>is</strong> situation he was still concerned about o<strong>the</strong>rs, andespecially of “h<strong>is</strong>” Chinese: “The infirmary of <strong>the</strong> virgins (<strong>the</strong>sewere <strong>the</strong> young orphan girls who lived in <strong>the</strong> orphanage inYenchowfu until <strong>the</strong>y got married) needs a stove,” he instructedFr. Röser and adds: “When one <strong>is</strong> sick oneself, one knows wellenough what would do one good, and we owe <strong>the</strong> same to <strong>the</strong>Chinese. For we came to serve.” Even on h<strong>is</strong> death bed in h<strong>is</strong>final illness he remains true to h<strong>is</strong> basic attitude and m<strong>is</strong>sion. At104

<strong>the</strong> end of <strong>the</strong> letter he remarks: “I pity you that you must alwaysbe in <strong>the</strong> midst of <strong>the</strong> many people sick with typhoid. May <strong>the</strong>good Lord keep you and protect you from getting infected.Memento mei, quaeso, (remember me, I beg you) especially if<strong>the</strong> good God should call me.”H<strong>is</strong> confreres, especially Br. Ulrich Heyen, who had been withhim in many a danger, cared <strong>for</strong> him with loving attention anddid <strong>for</strong> him what <strong>the</strong>y could do, that which he had done <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong>m throughout life: Many prayers were said <strong>for</strong> him, includingby Chr<strong>is</strong>tians from <strong>the</strong> vicinity.Every day Fr. Petrus Noyen celebrated Holy Mass in one of <strong>the</strong>adjacent rooms and gave him Holy Communion. All <strong>the</strong> timeone of <strong>the</strong> priests or bro<strong>the</strong>rs was nearby. One after <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionaries came from <strong>the</strong> outlying stations in <strong>the</strong> surroundingsto spend a few moments with him. In <strong>the</strong> name of all Fr. TheodorBücker spoke words of thanks and farewell and asked <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>blessing <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> priests and <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion. He assured him: “Weprom<strong>is</strong>e you to continue working in your spirit.” Though neardeath he did not want to take th<strong>is</strong> lying down: “You w<strong>is</strong>h tocontinue working in my spirit? I was far from doing everythingwell”.For reflection:Joseph Freinademetz lived h<strong>is</strong> personal vocation until h<strong>is</strong> lastmoment with every fiber of h<strong>is</strong> being. The deepest driving <strong>for</strong>ceof h<strong>is</strong> life was love. Serving people he made God’s love v<strong>is</strong>ibleand tangible and thus brought many closer to God, cheered <strong>the</strong>mup and filled <strong>the</strong>m with joy. When <strong>the</strong> moment came <strong>for</strong> him tolet go of what he had loved so much and what he had built up,he could do so with <strong>the</strong> confidence that he had not lived in vain.How do I prepare <strong>for</strong> death?The burial gown, <strong>the</strong>y say, has no pockets! I must <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e letgo, leave behind, even those things which all throughout life105

were precious and dear to me. Am I aware of those things – andthose persons?Am I aware that in <strong>the</strong> end it does not matter what and howmuch I have achieved but solely whe<strong>the</strong>r I have given o<strong>the</strong>rslove and have thus lived my life as <strong>the</strong> image of God?11. “Thank <strong>the</strong> Physician!” 11The strength of Joseph Freinademetz was spent, h<strong>is</strong> body wornout; he could no longer fight <strong>the</strong> typhus. H<strong>is</strong> final agony lastednine days, from <strong>the</strong> 19 th to <strong>the</strong> 28 th of January. The pain becameunbearable, but nei<strong>the</strong>r Chinese medicine nor <strong>the</strong> skill of anAmerican doctor was able to help him. Br. Ulrich broke out intears when Joseph woke up in agony after long hours ofunconsciousness and mumbled to him: “Thank <strong>the</strong> physician!”During <strong>the</strong> last days he frequently lost consciousness; in <strong>the</strong>intervals he could be heard saying short ejaculatory prayers. H<strong>is</strong>last night turned out to be a night of excruciating suffering,caused by additional bladder problems. An intervention broughttemporary relief, until complete exhaustion set in. There was noreal agony. Accompanied by <strong>the</strong> prayer of h<strong>is</strong> confreres JosephFreinademetz died on Tuesday, January 28, 1908 at about 6:00p.m. H<strong>is</strong> was, in <strong>the</strong> truest sense of <strong>the</strong> word, a return to <strong>the</strong>Fa<strong>the</strong>r.Although h<strong>is</strong> death was not really unexpected, h<strong>is</strong> closestcollaborators were deeply affected. “The worst blow that couldstrike our M<strong>is</strong>sion struck it today,” Fr. Georg Stenz wrote <strong>the</strong>Superior General in Steyl and reported: “Just now at 18:00 hoursour kind pro-vicar died here of typhus... In h<strong>is</strong> illness he gaveus a heroic example of patience. He did not want to die yet, bu<strong>the</strong> also resigned himself fully to <strong>the</strong> holy will of God. … It <strong>is</strong>only now that people of South-Shantung will become aware ofwhat he meant <strong>for</strong> us!”11 Bornemann, pp. 483-485.106

They were conscious that in Fr. Freinademetz <strong>the</strong>y had lost morethan an ordinary person: “A heavy blow not only <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion,but also <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> whole Society,” Fr. Johannes Düster wrote andadded: “Right away people prayed <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> deceased but alsoalready to him.”That was probably also what Sr. Blandina, Holy Spirit M<strong>is</strong>sionaryS<strong>is</strong>ter, had in mind when she wrote: “Already now one wouldw<strong>is</strong>h to honor our highly esteemed Fr. Superior Freinademetzas a saint. Our poor orphans have only one consolation left, thatwe have an exceptionally good intercessor; <strong>the</strong> future will showth<strong>is</strong>!”The mourning was particularly deep among <strong>the</strong> simple Chinese:“Many will moan over <strong>the</strong> loss of Fu Shenfu!” was <strong>the</strong> opinionof a catech<strong>is</strong>t, knowing full well that <strong>the</strong> deceased had sacrificedhimself <strong>for</strong> “h<strong>is</strong>” Chinese. What moved <strong>the</strong> Chr<strong>is</strong>tians was notjust what he had done <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, but above all how he had dealtwith <strong>the</strong>m. “I feel as if I had lost my fa<strong>the</strong>r and my mo<strong>the</strong>r!”was how someone expressed it.Superior General Fr. Arnold Janssen tried to console h<strong>is</strong>confreres: “The Lord God has taken from us th<strong>is</strong> second founderof <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion, th<strong>is</strong> good soul, whose merits <strong>for</strong> South-Shantungare great and immortal. We may thus hope that h<strong>is</strong> heavenlycrown was ready and that <strong>the</strong> Lord called him in order to givenh<strong>is</strong> faithful servant <strong>the</strong> well earned rest and a beautiful place inH<strong>is</strong> glorious kingdom. The more zealously, unself<strong>is</strong>hly andsacrificially he worked <strong>the</strong> more will he now rejoice, but also beactive <strong>for</strong> us as intercessor at <strong>the</strong> heavenly throne.”For reflection:Fr. Freinademetz did not long <strong>for</strong> death. Initially he was ra<strong>the</strong>rfearful; but <strong>the</strong>n he let himself be sustained by <strong>the</strong> thoughts of abook, became calm and composed and was thus able to say goodbye,in peace with himself and with God, and to let go in <strong>the</strong>awareness that he had “fought <strong>the</strong> good fight, fin<strong>is</strong>hed <strong>the</strong> race,and kept <strong>the</strong> faith” ( 2 Tim 4,7).107

For many Chr<strong>is</strong>tians it was clear: “If he <strong>is</strong> not in heaven, <strong>the</strong>n noone can ever hope to go to heaven!”In h<strong>is</strong> native place a prayer card was printed which said: “Diedin China with a reputation of holiness …”Which impression does <strong>the</strong> death of th<strong>is</strong> holy man make on me?What can I learn from it <strong>for</strong> my life – <strong>for</strong> my death? What do I doagainst <strong>the</strong> fear of death? Am I serious enough in asking myselfwhe<strong>the</strong>r I do God’s will, or whe<strong>the</strong>r I do that which he <strong>is</strong> probablyexpecting of me?What does “holy” mean to me? – The word has something to dowith “whole,” wholeness, health. For me what <strong>is</strong> a “saintly” life?Can I imagine to live – and to die – in a “saintly” way, i.e.according to <strong>the</strong> salvation which God offers me?12. “Truly a Saint” 12Joseph Freinademetz was known and respected in Chr<strong>is</strong>tiancircles in Chinas. The expressions of sympathy and appreciationwhen <strong>the</strong> news of h<strong>is</strong> death broke are a clear evidence of th<strong>is</strong>.Msgr. Jarlin CM, Apostolic Vicariate of North-Chihli, Peking:“We loved and revered your dear deceased. I recall <strong>the</strong> kindand strong impression he made on me when I saw him in Pekingseveral years ago. H<strong>is</strong> memory has always remained in my heart.It seemed to me as if I had seen a Saint Franc<strong>is</strong> de Sales, sounassuming and kind he appeared to me. Surely <strong>the</strong> Lord hasalready received him into parad<strong>is</strong>e. Never<strong>the</strong>less I recommendedhim to <strong>the</strong> prayers of all my priests and Chr<strong>is</strong>tians.”12 Henninghaus, pp. 637-639, 641; Jakob Reuter (trl. J. Vogelgesang),Blessed Joseph Freinademetz SVD, South Tyrol’s Outstanding M<strong>is</strong>sionaryto <strong>the</strong> Far East, Rome 1975, p. 76f.108

Msgr. Ciceri CM from Chinkiang:“The news of <strong>the</strong> loss suffered by your Vicariate on account of<strong>the</strong> death of Rev. Fr. Freinademetz pained me. I regarded himhighly since I knew him personally and I esteemed h<strong>is</strong> virtuesvery much. He was a truly a saint.”Fr. Henri Boucher SJ, Rector of <strong>the</strong> Jesuits in Zikawei:“In <strong>the</strong> person of Rev. Fr. Freinademetz you have lost anoutstanding member of your Society, a priest after <strong>the</strong> heart ofGod, a truly apostolic man.”Fr. Thomas Ceska, Vincentian from Chihli:“As <strong>for</strong> me, <strong>the</strong> sad news of <strong>the</strong> passing of your saintly Superiorand Pro-Vicar Fr. Joseph Freinademetz has filled me with deepsorrow, particularly since <strong>the</strong> dear deceased was my compatriotand h<strong>is</strong> virtues were known far beyond <strong>the</strong> boundaries of yourApostolic Vicariate. Your beloved M<strong>is</strong>sion now has an intercessorclose to <strong>the</strong> throne of God.”Thomas Tien SVD, <strong>the</strong> first Chinese Cardinal, who had been astudent of St. Joseph Freinademetz recalled how highly Fr.Freinademetz was regarded by h<strong>is</strong> Chinese countrymen: “AllChr<strong>is</strong>tians considered Freinademetz a living saint. ‘He <strong>is</strong> likeKungtse’ (Confucius), <strong>the</strong> Chinese said: ‘in him everything <strong>is</strong>good, everything <strong>is</strong> perfect in him, always friendly, unassumingand humble’. He spoke Chinese well. All those who came incontact with him were deeply impressed by him. An oldcatech<strong>is</strong>t, who hardly saw anything good in <strong>the</strong> <strong>for</strong>eignm<strong>is</strong>sionaries and on principle always d<strong>is</strong>agreed with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs,was of one mind with <strong>the</strong>m in th<strong>is</strong>: ‘Fu Shenfu <strong>is</strong> a saint. He <strong>is</strong>different from all <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs.’ In my time as a seminarian inYenchowfu I often met Fr. Freinademetz. It was our custom thatevery Sunday after high mass we would go to him in order tospeak with him.109

In <strong>the</strong> church he knelt in <strong>the</strong> sanctuary, v<strong>is</strong>ible to us all. To seehim pray was an impressive experience. The image of th<strong>is</strong> prieston h<strong>is</strong> knees has been indelibly etched in my memory... He livedonly <strong>for</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs and sacrificed himself <strong>for</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs to <strong>the</strong> last withutter unself<strong>is</strong>hness and self-<strong>for</strong>getfulness. H<strong>is</strong> piety wasattractive and unfeigned.”B<strong>is</strong>hop Augustinus Henninghaus, h<strong>is</strong> companion <strong>for</strong> may years:“Throughout h<strong>is</strong> many years as a m<strong>is</strong>sionary he never receivedpublic recognition; he never received any tribute from <strong>the</strong>Chinese, no decoration and no status button, no honors withwhich <strong>the</strong> Chinese government was ra<strong>the</strong>r liberal at that time...Fr. Freinademetz who had shown kindness to so many, to whomthousands felt indebted in gratitude and esteem never receivedany such tribute... Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> nothing short of striking to one whoknows <strong>the</strong> circumstances here and lets one conclude how wellFr. Freinademetz knew how, quite unobtrusively, to steer clearof external tributes. He desired no earthly recognition andreward <strong>for</strong> himself; he did not want to step out of <strong>the</strong> ranks of<strong>the</strong> milites gregarii (<strong>the</strong> ordinary soldiers), but only to fulfill h<strong>is</strong>duty with modesty and fidelity.”B<strong>is</strong>hop Henninghaus continues:“Dangers, sufferings, worries, toil, difficult hours were notlacking in h<strong>is</strong> life. But even <strong>the</strong>n he always remained <strong>the</strong> same,because h<strong>is</strong> whole being and striving was rooted in God anddirected to God alone. In God he found h<strong>is</strong> foothold and h<strong>is</strong>strength, in him <strong>the</strong> center and goal of h<strong>is</strong> whole interior andexterior life.”For reflection:Taking into consideration all I have so far read and heard aboutJoseph Freinademetz, how would I describe him <strong>for</strong> myself?Does my knowledge of him challenge me? Does it affect me?110

Freinademetz was considered a “living saint”, meaning in him,in h<strong>is</strong> manner of living, people were able to glimpse and perceiveGod’s salvation. Can something like that also be perceived inmy life?Do h<strong>is</strong> personality, h<strong>is</strong> commitment, h<strong>is</strong> piety and - last but notleast – h<strong>is</strong> dying exerc<strong>is</strong>e an influence on me?Can I adopt something from h<strong>is</strong> life in my own life?13. “In <strong>the</strong> Odor of Sanctity”P. Freinademetz died “in <strong>the</strong> odor of sanctity”, a phrase used<strong>for</strong> centuries to describe heroic holiness. Many of h<strong>is</strong>contemporaries considered him a saintly man, a “just man”, as<strong>the</strong> Bible calls such persons. The Chinese Chr<strong>is</strong>tians revered himas a ‘fa<strong>the</strong>r figure’ during h<strong>is</strong> life time. But many of h<strong>is</strong> confrereslikew<strong>is</strong>e held him in high esteem. Fr. Georg Froew<strong>is</strong>, <strong>for</strong> instance,calls him a “model m<strong>is</strong>sionary” in h<strong>is</strong> diary. On November 4/5,1907 he writes about him: “<strong>the</strong> holiness of <strong>the</strong> man shines <strong>for</strong>thin everything”In <strong>the</strong> eyes of many Chinese Chr<strong>is</strong>tians Fr. Freinademetz couldhave immediately been canonized, or “ra<strong>is</strong>ed to <strong>the</strong> honors of<strong>the</strong> altar” as <strong>the</strong> traditional phrase goes. They were absolutelyconvinced that after h<strong>is</strong> death <strong>the</strong>y had him as an intercessorwith <strong>the</strong> eternal Fa<strong>the</strong>r. Thus immediately after h<strong>is</strong> death, as Fr.Johannes Düster reports, people “not only prayed <strong>for</strong> him, butalso immediately began to pray to him”. In <strong>the</strong> funeral sermonwhich he delivered, Fr. Theodor Bücker called him an “heroicapostle” and a “holy religious”.The memorial ‘holy card’ printed in h<strong>is</strong> native Tyrol at <strong>the</strong> timeof h<strong>is</strong> death said that he had died in <strong>the</strong> “odor of sanctity”. Th<strong>is</strong>was most likely based on <strong>the</strong> obituaries which had been written.But it certainly also reflected what was known from h<strong>is</strong> ownletters as well as from reports of o<strong>the</strong>rs about him, about h<strong>is</strong> lifefull of privations and self-sacrifice. People’s admiration <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>111

deep piety, h<strong>is</strong> ascetical life-style, and h<strong>is</strong> generous spirit ofsacrifice was now trans<strong>for</strong>med into veneration <strong>for</strong> a countrymanwhom <strong>the</strong>y knew to be with God.In h<strong>is</strong> native South Tyrol, under <strong>the</strong> regime of Italian fasc<strong>is</strong>m,everything German and “Ladin” was suppressed and peoplewere confronted with <strong>the</strong> heart-wrenching choice of staying onand publicly identifying <strong>the</strong>mselves as Italians or of emigratingto Germany. During th<strong>is</strong> time of difficult dec<strong>is</strong>ions many turnedto him <strong>for</strong> refuge as one of <strong>the</strong>ir own who had left home inobedience to God’s call, but who had never denied or hiddenh<strong>is</strong> origins and was, in fact, proud of being from h<strong>is</strong> beloved‘Tyrol’. There was scarcely a home in South Tyrol in which <strong>the</strong>Servant of God, was not called upon <strong>for</strong> help during that difficulttime. At present <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> an image or a statue of <strong>the</strong> Saint inpractically every church and chapel in South Tyrol.The house in which he was born in <strong>the</strong> small hamlet of Oies in<strong>the</strong> upper Garda Valley (Alta Badia) has become a favorite placeof prayer. Pilgrims and casual v<strong>is</strong>itors, tour<strong>is</strong>ts and local people,stop over <strong>for</strong> a while, <strong>for</strong> a time of inner and exterior rest, andrecollection. In silence <strong>the</strong>y <strong>for</strong>mulate <strong>the</strong>ir petitions, desires andaspirations. In <strong>the</strong> v<strong>is</strong>itors’ book one comes across, above all,petitions <strong>for</strong> blessings on <strong>the</strong> family, <strong>for</strong> health, <strong>for</strong> help insuffering and sorrow. But <strong>the</strong>re are also requests <strong>for</strong> success inupcoming exams and in finding employment. For every petition,<strong>the</strong>re are frequent expressions of gratitude.For many people Oies has become “holy ground” where <strong>the</strong>yfind what <strong>the</strong>y really need. According to Saint JosephFreinademetz: “Just as <strong>the</strong> tree needs <strong>the</strong> earth in order to findsap and nour<strong>is</strong>hment so <strong>the</strong> soul needs prayer!”For 30 years now, every second Sunday in September a big groupof pilgrims, some thousand persons, organized by <strong>the</strong> CatholicFamily Association of <strong>the</strong> diocese of Innsbruck has been comingto Oies. Processions arrive from many par<strong>is</strong>hes of South Tyrolbut also from <strong>the</strong> neighboring provinces of Belluno and Trento.112

For some years now young people have been making <strong>the</strong> elevenhour trek from Oies to Brixen – <strong>the</strong> very same journey made byJoseph Freinademetz at <strong>the</strong> age of ten when he left home <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>first time to go “to study.”The correspondence of <strong>the</strong> Secretariat shows just how manypeople turn with confidence to Joseph Freinademetz as <strong>the</strong>irintercessor. Nor should we overlook <strong>the</strong> numerous images andstatues of him, done professionally or in popular style, whichare to be found in every corner of h<strong>is</strong> native region,Chapels and churches in h<strong>is</strong> honor have been built not only inh<strong>is</strong> native Tyrol but also in o<strong>the</strong>r countries and continents,showing how Joseph Freinademetz, local patron saint of <strong>the</strong>people of South Tyrol, has also found many devotees in o<strong>the</strong>rparts of <strong>the</strong> world. No doubt th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> due in part to <strong>the</strong> fact that hebelonged to <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word, which hasmeanwhile grown into a worldwide m<strong>is</strong>sionary religiouscongregation.For reflection:The veneration of a saint like St. Joseph Freinademetz <strong>is</strong> anexpression of <strong>the</strong> confident conviction that in <strong>the</strong> life and workof th<strong>is</strong> person God makes v<strong>is</strong>ible something of h<strong>is</strong> own savingaction. And th<strong>is</strong> means that we may trust and hope that withGod’s help our life, too, can find fulfillment.Fur<strong>the</strong>rmore, veneration leads to imitation: “If anyone loves mehe will keep my word “, <strong>the</strong> gospel of John says (14,23).To which extent <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> veneration of St. Joseph Freinademetz anencouragement <strong>for</strong> me and an incentive to live a life that “pleasesGod”?[From <strong>the</strong> Ancestral Home and Shrineof St. J. Freinademetz, Oies, Badia, Italy]113

Homily on Joseph FreinademetzAntonio M. Pernia, SVDA hundred years ago, on Tuesday, 28 January 1908, about sixo’clock in <strong>the</strong> evening, after almost 30 years of uninterruptedm<strong>is</strong>sionary service, Joseph Freinademetz expired in <strong>the</strong> SVDcentral house in Taikia, South Shandong, China. The word“expire” <strong>is</strong> a good word to describe <strong>the</strong> death of JosephFreinademetz, because Joseph came to China to give h<strong>is</strong> life <strong>for</strong>h<strong>is</strong> dear Chinese. He gave all, in such a way that, in <strong>the</strong> end,nothing remained. He literally “expired” or “extingu<strong>is</strong>hedhimself” – like a candle which gives light in <strong>the</strong> dark until <strong>the</strong>very end. And, in <strong>the</strong> end it simply expires. But more than <strong>the</strong>end of a life, <strong>the</strong> death of Joseph Freinademetz was ra<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>fulfillment of a dream. In1886, seven years after h<strong>is</strong> arrival inChina, he wrote to h<strong>is</strong> family in Val Badia: “I love China and <strong>the</strong>Chinese, and I would die a thousand deaths <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>m”. Six yearslater, in 1892, he wrote again: “As <strong>for</strong> myself, I really love mydear Chinese and I have no o<strong>the</strong>r desire than to live and dieamong <strong>the</strong>m”.So, that evening of 28 January 1908, <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary life of JosephFreinademetz was not really ended, but ra<strong>the</strong>r fulfilled.“To die a thousand deaths” <strong>is</strong>, indeed, an appropriate descriptionof <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary life of Joseph Freinademetz in China. From<strong>the</strong> time he reached China in 1879, Joseph did not spare himselfin preaching <strong>the</strong> gospel to h<strong>is</strong> dear Chinese, even in <strong>the</strong> mostfar-flung villages. He had to suffer much, but never onceretreated from any suffering or sacrifice: long trips, res<strong>is</strong>tanceto h<strong>is</strong> preaching, hostility of non-believers, persecutions, attacksby bandits, death threats. In 1884 he wrote to h<strong>is</strong> parents, saying:“Many were <strong>the</strong> times when I was in danger of death, when <strong>the</strong>pagans conspired to kill me, but <strong>the</strong> Lord has always protectedme until now”. And again in 1888, he wrote: “Those villages are114

very dangerous; at certain times of <strong>the</strong> year, it <strong>is</strong> almostimpossible to go <strong>the</strong>re because travelers are attacked by bandits,robbed and even killed”. And <strong>the</strong>n a year afterwards, in 1889,he narrated <strong>the</strong> now well-known incident when he once tried tosave a poor Chinese who was being pun<strong>is</strong>hed by a Mandarin<strong>for</strong> having consented to be baptized. For th<strong>is</strong>, Joseph was struckand hit, tied up and thrown to <strong>the</strong> ground, dragged to <strong>the</strong> roadand left half-dead. Thus, even be<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> death that evening of28January 1908, Joseph had already died a thousand deaths <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> gospel and <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> dear Chinese.More than <strong>the</strong> physical sufferings, <strong>the</strong>re was <strong>the</strong> innertrans<strong>for</strong>mation which he sought to achieve from <strong>the</strong> time hereached China. Arriving in Hong Kong from Europe, Joseph didnot lose time. He immediately dedicated himself to <strong>the</strong> study of<strong>the</strong> Chinese language and <strong>the</strong> attempt to trans<strong>for</strong>m himselfexteriorly so as to have <strong>the</strong> appearance of a Chinese. Indeed,Joseph easily became a Chinese exteriorly. H<strong>is</strong> name became“Fu Shenfu”. H<strong>is</strong> redd<strong>is</strong>h blond hair was shorn except <strong>for</strong> a cropat <strong>the</strong> back to which a black pigtail was fastened. The blackcassock from Europe gave way to a blue Chinese robe. Clothshoes replaced <strong>the</strong> lea<strong>the</strong>r ones. But h<strong>is</strong> view of things remainedEuropean, Tyrolean. After two years in Hong Kong, he wrote:“China <strong>is</strong> well and truly <strong>the</strong> kingdom of <strong>the</strong> devil. You can hardlygo ten steps without coming up against all kinds of hell<strong>is</strong>himages and every manner of devilry!” And again he wrote: “TheChinese character has little that appeals to us Europeans. ... TheCreator did not endow <strong>the</strong> Chinese with <strong>the</strong> same qualities as<strong>the</strong> Europeans. ... The Chinese are incapable of higher motives.”Chinese clothing did not turn Joseph Freinademetz into a newman. He recognized that and realized what had to be done. Hesaid: “The main work still remains: trans<strong>for</strong>mation of <strong>the</strong> innerperson; to study <strong>the</strong> Chinese way of thought, Chinese customsand usages, Chinese character and d<strong>is</strong>position. All that cannotbe achieved in a day, not even in one year, and also not withoutsome painful surgery.” With <strong>the</strong>se words, Joseph <strong>for</strong>mulated115

h<strong>is</strong> life plan without actually realizing it. He began to free himselffrom h<strong>is</strong> narrow thinking and became a graced m<strong>is</strong>sionary. Thus,twelve years later, he could declare: “I am now more Chinesethan Tyrolese, and I would like to remain a Chinese also inheaven”. Thus, Joseph repeatedly said: “The greatest task of <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> trans<strong>for</strong>mation of <strong>the</strong> inner self”.Th<strong>is</strong> inner trans<strong>for</strong>mation obviously entailed an inner death; that<strong>is</strong>, <strong>the</strong> death of <strong>the</strong> old person (<strong>the</strong> Tyrolese) so that <strong>the</strong> newperson (<strong>the</strong> Chinese) could be born. And so <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionaryspirituality of Joseph could be described as a spirituality of <strong>the</strong>cross. It was because of th<strong>is</strong> that <strong>the</strong> painting made <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>canonization in Rome four years ago shows him clasping <strong>the</strong>cross with h<strong>is</strong> hands close to h<strong>is</strong> breast. In 1888 he wrote to h<strong>is</strong>parents: “As <strong>for</strong> us m<strong>is</strong>sionaries, <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> no lack of crosses. Icould write you an entire book recounting all <strong>the</strong> calumnies that<strong>the</strong> pagans throw at us. ... But with God’s grace we are nowaccustomed to carry <strong>the</strong> cross; <strong>the</strong> cross <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> daily bread of <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary”. And to <strong>the</strong> catech<strong>is</strong>ts receiving instruction fromhim in Tsining he said (1893/94): “There <strong>is</strong> one path all have totake if <strong>the</strong>y w<strong>is</strong>h to become saints. I mean meditation on <strong>the</strong>bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus.”Joseph, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>for</strong>e, understood that m<strong>is</strong>sionary work had to follow<strong>the</strong> path of Chr<strong>is</strong>t’s passion. He wrote: “The entire Passionrepeats itself in <strong>the</strong> life and h<strong>is</strong>tory of <strong>the</strong> Church. ... The Churchhere has to traverse a week of <strong>the</strong> Passion, sweat blood in <strong>the</strong>Garden of Olives, die on <strong>the</strong> Cross, she has constantly to struggleand fight, to work and suffer, to endure and to bleed. Bloodyand bloodless martyrdom <strong>is</strong> her constant character<strong>is</strong>tic.” Thus,Joseph understood that m<strong>is</strong>sion <strong>is</strong> a sharing of <strong>the</strong> cross of Jesus,a giving of oneself to <strong>the</strong> people, a pouring out of one’s life <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> gospel of Chr<strong>is</strong>t. And not as a sacrifice, but as a privilege, anhonor, a gift from God. Shortly after having been admitted byArnold Janssen to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion house in Steyl, Joseph wrote toh<strong>is</strong> parents(1878): “Thank God. ... that <strong>the</strong> Lord has given us <strong>the</strong>grace of having a m<strong>is</strong>sionary in our family. I repeat what I already116

said earlier: I do not consider th<strong>is</strong> as a sacrifice that I offer toGod, but as <strong>the</strong> greatest gift that God <strong>is</strong> giving me”. Andin 1880,he wrote from China: “To be a m<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>is</strong> an honor that Iwould not exchange with <strong>the</strong> golden crown of <strong>the</strong> Emperor ofAustria”. And again in 1884, he wrote: “I cannot thank <strong>the</strong> Lordenough <strong>for</strong> having made me a m<strong>is</strong>sionary in China”. In 1887 hesaid: “When I think of <strong>the</strong> countless graces that I have receivedand continue to receive until now from God. ... I confess that Icould cry. The most beautiful vocation in <strong>the</strong> world <strong>is</strong> being am<strong>is</strong>sionary”.And so, in that evening of 28 January 1908, when JosephFreinademetz expired, h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary life was not extingu<strong>is</strong>hedor ended; ra<strong>the</strong>r it was brought to fulfillment. Without doubt, itcan be said of Joseph Freinademetz: “<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Life</strong> given<strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion”. H<strong>is</strong> death that evening of 28 January 1908 was but<strong>the</strong> last act of a life completely given <strong>for</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion.Indeed, precious <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life given <strong>for</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion. At <strong>the</strong> entrance of<strong>the</strong> room, or small house, where Saint Joseph died at only 56years old in Taikia, South Shandong, China, one can still findtwo marble plaques announcing h<strong>is</strong> death, one in Latin and <strong>the</strong>o<strong>the</strong>r in Chinese. The announcement says: “Here, in th<strong>is</strong> smallroom, <strong>the</strong> servant of God, Fr. Joseph Freinademetz, tirelesspreacher of <strong>the</strong> Gospel, outstanding in words and deeds, afterhaving received <strong>the</strong> last sacraments, gave h<strong>is</strong> soul back to God –28January 1908”. “Infatigabil<strong>is</strong> Evangelii praeco, verbo et opereclarus”! Dear confreres and s<strong>is</strong>ters, let us pray today that, asyounger s<strong>is</strong>ters and bro<strong>the</strong>rs of St. Joseph in <strong>the</strong> same religiousm<strong>is</strong>sionary family, we may, by following h<strong>is</strong> footsteps, be truly“infatigabiles Evangelii praecones, verbo et opere clari”; that <strong>is</strong>,“tireless preachers of <strong>the</strong> Gospel, outstanding in words anddeeds.”[Homily, Euchar<strong>is</strong>tic Celebration, Rome, January 29, 2008;publ<strong>is</strong>hed in Arnoldus Nota, February 2008]117

The Relevance of Freinademetz in<strong>the</strong> Asian ContextAnthony Poruthur, SVDIntroductionWhen <strong>the</strong> Commun<strong>is</strong>ts took over <strong>the</strong> reins of China around sixdecades ago, in <strong>the</strong>ir revolutionary zeal <strong>the</strong>y wanted to obliterateas many memories of <strong>the</strong> past as possible. Incidentally in Taikia<strong>the</strong>y d<strong>is</strong>covered <strong>the</strong> grave of Joseph Freinademetz. At once <strong>the</strong>yexhumed it and found that h<strong>is</strong> mortal remains, even after fourdecades, were intact. They put kerosene on it and burned it. 1Members of <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word, by and large, havealways considered Joseph a saintly person and a zealousm<strong>is</strong>sionary. It <strong>is</strong> quite appropriate that a close look <strong>is</strong> taken againat h<strong>is</strong> life and work.There are already many writings 2 about Fu Shen-fu, as he wascalled in Chinese. Hence in <strong>the</strong> present article those details abouth<strong>is</strong> checkered life would not be presented hew. Instead, <strong>the</strong>relevance of Freinademetz’s life and work will be viewed from am<strong>is</strong>sionary point of view. There<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> emphas<strong>is</strong> here, by choice,<strong>is</strong> more on analytical and interpretative aspects than on <strong>the</strong>descriptive dimension.1 From <strong>the</strong> Address of a South American M<strong>is</strong>sionary during ASPACAssembly, 2005, in Taipei.2 Fritz Bornemann, As Wine Poured out, Blessed Joseph FreinademetzSVD, M<strong>is</strong>sionary in China 1879-1908, Rome, 1984. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> bestauthoritative biography so far available. Hereafter all <strong>the</strong> referencesto th<strong>is</strong> book will be as AWP.118

I. Person and M<strong>is</strong>sion1. A Brief Biographical NoteJoseph Freinademetz was born on 15 th April 1852 at Oies/Brixen;studied at Brixen; was ordained priest in 1875; and served aspar<strong>is</strong>h curate <strong>for</strong> two years. 3 Besides knowing classical Europeanlanguages he spoke German, Italian and French. 4 He knew about<strong>the</strong> starting of a m<strong>is</strong>sion seminary in Steyl from an article ofArnold Janssen written in Kirchenblatt publ<strong>is</strong>hed in Brixen. Hejoined <strong>the</strong> Steyl m<strong>is</strong>sionary group in 1878. 5 He left <strong>for</strong> Chinawith J. B. Anzer in 1879, and held positions of responsibility likeProvincial Superior and Admin<strong>is</strong>trator. He died on 28 th Jan. 1908at Taikia, China. He was beatified on 19 th October 1975. and wascanon<strong>is</strong>ed as saint of <strong>the</strong> universal church on 5 th October 2003.2. Personal TraitsFreinademetz’s personality was oozing with self-effacinghumility. He would not hesitate to be self-critical when necessaryand had <strong>the</strong> inner freedom to own h<strong>is</strong> limitations. When he wasasked to head <strong>the</strong> new foundation of <strong>the</strong> society in Austria hewrote in response to Arnold Janssen: “Do not be shocked, I begyou, but pray much <strong>for</strong> me, a poor sinner. I have manytemptations against chastity… and cannot testify that I havefought <strong>the</strong>m properly. I am frightfully vain and anxious to please.I am peev<strong>is</strong>h and morose when things don’t go my way. I ameasily impatient and stubborn, and many times scandalize <strong>the</strong>catechumens by my bad example. On no point do I have myselfunder control.” 63 Cf. Josef Alt., Journey in Faith, The M<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>Life</strong> of Arnold Janssen(Analecta SVD 85), Rome 2002, p. 1034.4 Cf. AWP, p. 13.5 Cf. AWP, p. 30.6 AWP, p. 94.119

Freinademetz had an ascetical bend of mind and he lived anaustere way of life. But he never demanded <strong>the</strong> same from o<strong>the</strong>rs,h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary companions, nei<strong>the</strong>r as <strong>the</strong>ir religious superiorand nor as Admin<strong>is</strong>trator of <strong>the</strong> diocese. It <strong>is</strong> often said that th<strong>is</strong><strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> secret of h<strong>is</strong> popularity among fellow SVDs. For <strong>the</strong>confreres who came to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion after him he was quiteedifying in <strong>the</strong> way he lived. H<strong>is</strong> actions were more eloquentthan h<strong>is</strong> words. In fact he was both a master and model. 7H<strong>is</strong> simplicity of heart <strong>is</strong> reflected in a sense of humour whichused to be demonstrated now and <strong>the</strong>n. He once made a veryhilarious observation about one of h<strong>is</strong> own catechumens in <strong>the</strong>following manner: “Many have already learned <strong>the</strong>ir prayersby heart. One old gray-beard always carries h<strong>is</strong> prayer bookunder h<strong>is</strong> hat since h<strong>is</strong> clo<strong>the</strong>s have no pocket.” 8H<strong>is</strong> simplicity was quite outstanding and o<strong>the</strong>rs too took noteof it easily. Fr. Leopold Gain, S.J, a contemporary m<strong>is</strong>sionaryfrom <strong>the</strong> neighbouring m<strong>is</strong>sion territory had <strong>the</strong> following tosay in th<strong>is</strong> regard: “He <strong>is</strong> a true Tyroler. I was overwhelmed byh<strong>is</strong> great simplicity, h<strong>is</strong> virtue, h<strong>is</strong> prudence, keep h<strong>is</strong> knowledgeand zeal.” 93. <strong>Life</strong> in SteylFor <strong>the</strong> training of future m<strong>is</strong>sionaries <strong>the</strong>re should be solidspiritual foundation. “<strong>Life</strong> at its source must be pure and strong.”That was <strong>the</strong> contention of Arnold Janssen, <strong>the</strong> Rector of <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sion house. 10 The young priest, Freinademetz d<strong>is</strong>covered <strong>the</strong>very same thing on h<strong>is</strong> arrival at Steyl. He wrote to h<strong>is</strong> parentsthat <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion seminary <strong>is</strong> truly a house of God. “Here <strong>the</strong>7 Cf. AWP, p. 95.8 AWP, p. 72.9 AWP, p. 137.10 Cf. F. Bornemann and O<strong>the</strong>rs, A H<strong>is</strong>tory of Our Society (AnalectaSVD 54/1), Rome, 1981, p. 17.120

spirit of piety and fear of God reigns… I have never seenanything like it, nei<strong>the</strong>r at Cassianeum nor at <strong>the</strong> Brixenseminary. The zeal, <strong>the</strong> diligence, <strong>the</strong> simplicity of <strong>the</strong> students<strong>is</strong> something quite new to me… So I am most happy to be hereand thank <strong>the</strong> Lord <strong>for</strong> allowing me to come to th<strong>is</strong> place whereI can learn many things, above all to live as a Chr<strong>is</strong>tian should.” 11Also in right earnest he started learning Chinese as a fittingpreparation to go to h<strong>is</strong> desired m<strong>is</strong>sionary destination.4. Early Impressions in ChinaChina <strong>the</strong> land of <strong>the</strong> great w<strong>is</strong>e man Confucius, has beenpermeated by h<strong>is</strong> philosophy which <strong>is</strong> basically guided by jen(translated as ‘human-heartedness’). Although founded onhuman<strong>is</strong>m, veneration of ancestors <strong>is</strong> an integral part ofConfucian<strong>is</strong>m. Th<strong>is</strong> dimension <strong>is</strong> manifested in <strong>the</strong>ir allegianceto rituals. “Human beings are part of a cosmic whole, and everyhuman activity of eating and drinking, walking and talking,marrying and caring <strong>for</strong> a family, sowing and harvesting, caring<strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> sick dying, has to be related to <strong>the</strong> universe to which weall belong and to <strong>the</strong> power, by whatever name it <strong>is</strong> known, whichruled <strong>the</strong> universe.” 12 Confucius was so highly successful inspreading h<strong>is</strong> w<strong>is</strong>dom that it has gone into <strong>the</strong> psyche of <strong>the</strong>Chinese people. They carry <strong>the</strong> essence of h<strong>is</strong> teaching wherever<strong>the</strong>y go. It <strong>is</strong> to th<strong>is</strong> socio-cultural and religious milieu thatFreinademetz arrived as a m<strong>is</strong>sionary.A traditional Asian village will usually have its local physicians,ritual experts, exorc<strong>is</strong>ts, astrologers and healers. 13 The socialfabric of Asian societies <strong>is</strong> generally very well knit. It <strong>is</strong> in a sensea self-sufficient system. Any outsider coming in, particularly awhite man, <strong>is</strong> perceived as an intruder. Th<strong>is</strong> impression was fed11 AWP, p. 37.12 Bede Griffiths, Universal W<strong>is</strong>dom, Indus, New Delhi, 1995, p. 251.13 Cf. R. De Smet, Religious Hindu<strong>is</strong>m, St. Paul’s, Mumbai, 1997, p.390.121

into <strong>the</strong>ir minds all <strong>the</strong> more during <strong>the</strong> colonial era. Am<strong>is</strong>sionary trying to make an entry to such a society would betreading on <strong>the</strong> toes of many. Such a challenge awaitedFreinademetz, although he had taken <strong>the</strong> trouble of picking up<strong>the</strong> Chinese language be<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> arrival on <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary scene.When a m<strong>is</strong>sionary tries to create a little space in <strong>the</strong> traditionalsocial setting someone’s importance will naturally be reducedor taken away. Any one from <strong>the</strong> locality who joins <strong>the</strong>newcomer’s company <strong>is</strong> seen as a turn-coat and would be treatedas a traitor. He/she will be ostracized. No wonder, in h<strong>is</strong> earlydays as m<strong>is</strong>sionary, Freinademetz faced a similar hostilesituation. “Just today a man came to v<strong>is</strong>it me, a young man whoonly a month ago had become a Chr<strong>is</strong>tian. H<strong>is</strong> parents haveslammed <strong>the</strong> door of <strong>the</strong>ir house in h<strong>is</strong> face and do not allowhim to enter any more.” 14 In such an exclusive society where allare knit toge<strong>the</strong>r well, opposition to m<strong>is</strong>sion <strong>is</strong> a group affair.The system opposes <strong>the</strong> new entrant with all its vehemence.A keen observer of <strong>the</strong> surroundings, he has also recorded h<strong>is</strong>first impression about <strong>the</strong> place where he had to say mass once:“You should see <strong>the</strong> hut in which I am obliged to offer <strong>the</strong>Sacrifice of <strong>the</strong> Mass… Heating stoves are unknown here; in <strong>the</strong>winter a fire <strong>is</strong> simply built on <strong>the</strong> earth floor; <strong>the</strong> smokegradually turns <strong>the</strong> room black.” 15 But he had tremendouscapacity to adjust to <strong>the</strong> situation.5. M<strong>is</strong>sion MethodsFreinademetz had <strong>the</strong> ability to establ<strong>is</strong>h contact with peopleeasily. Simple folks used to flock to him. H<strong>is</strong> way of dressing inChinese style served to make him acceptable to <strong>the</strong>m. Theflour<strong>is</strong>h with which he made friends with people was a gift thatflowed from h<strong>is</strong> closeness with God. 16 Using it to its best he14 AWP, p. 75.15 AWP, p. 7216 AWP, p. 95.122

would make direct contact with people. The next step was tobegin with catechetical instructions toge<strong>the</strong>r with teachingprayers. He followed up with v<strong>is</strong>its at regular intervals. In <strong>the</strong>intervening period, during h<strong>is</strong> absence, catech<strong>is</strong>ts would monitor<strong>the</strong> situation. 17It did not take him too long to realize that <strong>the</strong> sheep have to beguarded. He had to be very prudent in h<strong>is</strong> manner of speaking,and h<strong>is</strong> presence with <strong>the</strong> little flock was very necessary. “WhenI am with <strong>the</strong>m I seem to be in <strong>the</strong> very centre of a stormy seawhere one ship after ano<strong>the</strong>r flounders and sinks beneath <strong>the</strong>waves. A mere triviality, even a single word, can send an entirefamily back to <strong>the</strong> worship of <strong>the</strong> false gods <strong>the</strong>y had alreadyrenounced. That <strong>is</strong> why it <strong>is</strong> necessary <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary toremain with <strong>the</strong>m always.” 18In spite of fairly good success in h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion Freinademetz wouldnot take any credit <strong>for</strong> himself. With h<strong>is</strong> trade-mark humility aswell as trust he says: “It <strong>is</strong> clear that not we but God sowed <strong>the</strong>seed. We m<strong>is</strong>sionaries are only <strong>the</strong> reapers who bring in <strong>the</strong>harvest of Chr<strong>is</strong>tians. We plant and we water, but <strong>the</strong> growthand <strong>the</strong> increase remain <strong>the</strong> work of Him who sends us.” 19Freinademetz was quite real<strong>is</strong>tic in <strong>the</strong> way he looked at <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary scene. He was able to assess <strong>the</strong> motives that promptpeople to come to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary. Sometimes it had nothing todo with any spiritual quest. Some people used to approach himto derive financial benefit or “<strong>the</strong> European should teach himhow to take revenge on h<strong>is</strong> enemies, or he expects to land ajob…. But when h<strong>is</strong> plans evaporate in thin air, <strong>the</strong> unclean birdalso takes to flight.” 20 Such circumspection has saved him froma lot of trouble.17 Cf. AWP, p. 136.18 AWP, p. 75.19 AWP, p. 138.20 AWP, p. 72.123

The neophytes in faith faced various difficulties within <strong>the</strong>ir owncommunity. In <strong>the</strong> early years, as <strong>the</strong> new m<strong>is</strong>sionary found out<strong>for</strong> himself, ostracization stared often in <strong>the</strong>ir faces. “It <strong>is</strong> noteasy <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> poor people here to become Catholics. Thecatechumens tell me that in <strong>the</strong> beginning, after <strong>the</strong>ir conversion,<strong>the</strong>y no longer dared to go to <strong>the</strong> market place. When <strong>the</strong>y meto<strong>the</strong>r people <strong>the</strong>y blushed crimson <strong>for</strong> shame. Formerly <strong>the</strong>ywere regarded as respectable members of <strong>the</strong> community or asgood neighbours; now <strong>the</strong>y became ‘<strong>the</strong> most desp<strong>is</strong>ed of <strong>the</strong>world’, ‘outcasts of mankind’.” 21Teaching catech<strong>is</strong>m to women was very much a priority <strong>for</strong>Freinademetz in h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary endeavour. He faced a seriouschallenge in th<strong>is</strong> regard as <strong>the</strong>re was strict segregation of menand women in <strong>the</strong> Chinese society. But he would not give upthat easily: “The instruction of <strong>the</strong> women presents someproblems since male catech<strong>is</strong>ts are not allowed to instruct <strong>the</strong>m,and we do not have any female catech<strong>is</strong>ts who can. That slowsdown <strong>the</strong> development of <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion very much. In one place Iwas obliged to appoint as <strong>the</strong> women’s catech<strong>is</strong>t a 10-year oldgirl, who <strong>is</strong> still a catechumen herself but has learned <strong>the</strong> prayerswell.” 22Though Freinademetz was a devout religious and a zealousm<strong>is</strong>sionary, life <strong>for</strong> him was not a cake walk. He had to face h<strong>is</strong>own share of problems. Once he admitted to bapt<strong>is</strong>m a clever‘wheeler-dealer’ type of man ra<strong>the</strong>r quickly which was not h<strong>is</strong>normal practice. Th<strong>is</strong> worldly-w<strong>is</strong>e man knew <strong>the</strong> ropes to moveup and he became a catech<strong>is</strong>t soon. He indulged in variousnefarious activities including opium trade. EventuallyFreinademetz had to d<strong>is</strong>m<strong>is</strong>s him from service. He was quiteupset with th<strong>is</strong> incident as he had m<strong>is</strong>judged th<strong>is</strong> man who wasworking against <strong>the</strong> church <strong>the</strong>re. 2321 AWP, p. 72.22 AWP, p. 72.23 Cf. AWP, pp. 141-142.124

6. Leader of a Persecuted ChurchFreinademetz had to face ano<strong>the</strong>r ordeal in h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary lifein China. When he was <strong>the</strong> Admin<strong>is</strong>trator of <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion twom<strong>is</strong>sionaries were brutally murdered. Richard Henle and Franc<strong>is</strong>Nies were doing good work in <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion field. Th<strong>is</strong> tragicincident pained him much. On some o<strong>the</strong>r occasion Mon. Anzerand Freinademetz too had received maltreatment in <strong>the</strong> handsof Chinese hooligans.Besides <strong>the</strong>se <strong>the</strong>re were also o<strong>the</strong>r occasions when <strong>the</strong> localchurch faced persecution. A church was broken into and <strong>the</strong>catech<strong>is</strong>t was roughed up. Of course <strong>the</strong>ir main target was <strong>the</strong>priest <strong>the</strong>re who had providentially escaped from <strong>the</strong> place alittle earlier. So <strong>the</strong> poor lay leader bore <strong>the</strong> brunt of <strong>the</strong> attack.Looting and plunder had been part of th<strong>is</strong> incident too, as in <strong>the</strong>case of many o<strong>the</strong>r m<strong>is</strong>sion stations.The Admin<strong>is</strong>trator of <strong>the</strong> diocese did not take <strong>the</strong>se incidents ofpersecution lying down. He drew up a prec<strong>is</strong>e and detailedaccount of <strong>the</strong>se atrocities and presented a memorandum to <strong>the</strong>powers-that-be in Germany <strong>for</strong> necessary action. He also pointedout <strong>the</strong> indifference and lethargy of Chinese authorities. Thoughno compensation was received from any quarter, reg<strong>is</strong>teringprotest and ra<strong>is</strong>ing voice seemed to have some desired effect as<strong>the</strong> number of attacks on m<strong>is</strong>sionaries and m<strong>is</strong>sion came downslowly. 2424 Cf. AWP, pp. 242-3.125

II. Asian Relevance“Chr<strong>is</strong>tianity was born in <strong>the</strong> Middle East as a religion, went toGreece and became a philosophy, migrated to Rome and becamea legal system, spread through Europe and became a culture,and finally headed to America, where it became Big Business.” 25Various shades have been added over centuries with <strong>the</strong>encounter of different cultures. In much of Asia it <strong>is</strong> seendifferently – a colonial hangover, often grudgingly tolerated.Despite th<strong>is</strong> limitation SVD has been making ef<strong>for</strong>ts right from<strong>the</strong> beginning to make a difference in m<strong>is</strong>sion. Its m<strong>is</strong>sionaryv<strong>is</strong>ion originated with Arnold Janssen, was articulated byWilliam Schmidt and was lived by Freinademetz. 26 Theprecedent he set <strong>is</strong> outstanding and later generations of SVDslook up to <strong>the</strong>ir first m<strong>is</strong>sionary to China. 27 H<strong>is</strong> life <strong>is</strong> viewedfrom <strong>the</strong> angle of its relevance to fur<strong>the</strong>r promote <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion adgentes.1. Paradigm of InculturationAlthough <strong>the</strong> western world-view has dominated <strong>the</strong> globalscene, in recent times it <strong>is</strong> being increasingly recognized even inacademic circles that <strong>the</strong>re are certain traits and character<strong>is</strong>ticswhich are typically Asian in nature. “People in <strong>the</strong> West aredominated by <strong>the</strong> conscious mind; <strong>the</strong>y go about <strong>the</strong>ir businesseach shut up in <strong>the</strong>ir own ego. There <strong>is</strong> a kind of fixed25 Gibson David, The Coming Catholic Church: How <strong>the</strong> Faithful areShaping a New American Catholic<strong>is</strong>m, Harper, San Franc<strong>is</strong>co, 2003,p. 224.26 From <strong>the</strong> Key Note Address of Antonio Pernia, SVD SuperiorGeneral, during <strong>the</strong> seminar on m<strong>is</strong>sion spirituality at Indore, on<strong>the</strong> occasion of Platinum Jubilee celebrations of SVD presence inIndia.27 In India <strong>the</strong> ef<strong>for</strong>ts made in th<strong>is</strong> regard by George Proksch, SVD(1904-1986), are still very much d<strong>is</strong>cussed as a model and ratedtruly as <strong>the</strong> work of a pioneer.126

determination in <strong>the</strong>ir minds;… But in <strong>the</strong> East people live notfrom <strong>the</strong> conscious mind but from <strong>the</strong> unconscious…” 28Freinademetz seems to have captured th<strong>is</strong> piece of w<strong>is</strong>dom,perhaps without h<strong>is</strong> own knowledge, soon after h<strong>is</strong> arrival in<strong>the</strong> orient and he imbibed more of ‘Asian-ness’ little by little,day by day.The Asian continent has a rich cultural legacy. China and Indiastand out in th<strong>is</strong> regard. Excavations done around Beijing a fewdecades ago (1923-27) clearly brought to <strong>the</strong> notice of <strong>the</strong> worldthat <strong>the</strong> Chinese civilization <strong>is</strong> very ancient and <strong>the</strong> people arequite proud of its antiquity. People of Chinese origin are steepedin <strong>the</strong>ir tradition and <strong>the</strong>y almost wear it on <strong>the</strong>ir sleeveswherever <strong>the</strong>y go. Even in modern cities like Singapore andHong Kong <strong>the</strong>y maintain <strong>the</strong>ir cultural identity. 29Freinademetz learned fast that, if he had to be effective, as am<strong>is</strong>sionary he needed to be one with <strong>the</strong> people to whom hewas sent. He had to show respect <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir culture and also adaptto <strong>the</strong>ir ways. 30 In h<strong>is</strong> case he was also quite aware that <strong>the</strong>Chinese had no love lost <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> white man. In fact he made alloutef<strong>for</strong>t to win <strong>the</strong>ir trust and very much wanted to show <strong>the</strong>mthat h<strong>is</strong> interest was not in trade, commerce or politics, but hewas a m<strong>is</strong>sionary. H<strong>is</strong> presence and activity was not intended tosubjugate a part of <strong>the</strong>ir land as a colony. He consciouslyprojected a different image although in that peculiar h<strong>is</strong>toricalera <strong>the</strong> Europeans were annexing more and more of Chineseland as <strong>the</strong>ir colonies.28 Bede Griffiths, The Marriage between East and West, Collins, London,1982, p. 8.29 Even after Mao Zedong’s great revolution it could only makecosmetic changes in <strong>the</strong>ir way of thinking.30 In India William Wuellner, SVD (1905-1987) who was a pioneerm<strong>is</strong>sionary among <strong>the</strong> Bhilalas, practically followed <strong>the</strong> exampleof Freinademetz.127

A realization dawned on him that if he maintained h<strong>is</strong> externalappearance as a European he would be practically rejected by<strong>the</strong> very people to whom he had come as a m<strong>is</strong>sionary. MateoRicci’s (1552-1680) ef<strong>for</strong>ts in th<strong>is</strong> regard must have been a goodreminder as well as a model <strong>for</strong> him. The great Jesuit m<strong>is</strong>sionaryhad taken pains to learn <strong>the</strong> language, literature and etiquetteof <strong>the</strong> Chinese to win <strong>the</strong>ir hearts. 31 Of course Fu Shen-fu couldnot change <strong>the</strong> colour of h<strong>is</strong> skin. Except <strong>for</strong> that, he made himhimself look like a Chinese in all o<strong>the</strong>r respects. 32Such an approach <strong>is</strong> very much needed to remove <strong>the</strong> impressionfrom <strong>the</strong> minds of <strong>the</strong> people that Chr<strong>is</strong>tianity <strong>is</strong> still alien toth<strong>is</strong> continent. In China many take to studying Chr<strong>is</strong>tianity inuniversities as a western religion oblivious of <strong>the</strong> fact that it <strong>is</strong>born in <strong>the</strong> same continent. It <strong>is</strong> through genuine inculturationthat <strong>the</strong> charge of Chr<strong>is</strong>tians being agents promoting westernculture would gradually d<strong>is</strong>appear. As Paul said, I become allthings to all people so that I may win some by whatever meanspossible. (I Cor. 9: 22).2. M<strong>is</strong>sionary Facing Religious PhenomenaThe Asian continent <strong>is</strong> known as <strong>the</strong> cradle of religions.Sotereology has many manifestations and <strong>the</strong>ir age-oldexpressions can not be faced with a rhetoric that might beconsidered brilliant in certain Chr<strong>is</strong>tian circles. “We have toopen ourselves to <strong>the</strong> revelation of <strong>the</strong> divine mystery whichtook place in Asia, in Hindu<strong>is</strong>m and Buddh<strong>is</strong>m, in Tao<strong>is</strong>m,Confucian<strong>is</strong>m and Shinto<strong>is</strong>m.” 33 The way so many Chr<strong>is</strong>tiansare flocking to some of <strong>the</strong>se sects and Masters of <strong>the</strong> orient31 In India Robert de Nobili SJ (1577-1656) too had made similar ef<strong>for</strong>tsof presenting a thoroughly inculturated church.32 H<strong>is</strong> zeal in immersing himself in <strong>the</strong> local culture went to <strong>the</strong> extentof him stating loud and clear “Even in Heaven I would like to be aChinese.”33 Griffiths, Marriage between East and West, p. 202.128

should make us look at <strong>the</strong>m and see what <strong>is</strong> good in <strong>the</strong>irapproach to life and reality. 34In many of <strong>the</strong> Asian countries <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> high regard <strong>for</strong> personsof religiosity whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y are Buddh<strong>is</strong>t monks or Hindumendicants or Sufi masters. 35 Even when one <strong>is</strong> an activem<strong>is</strong>sionary like Freinademetz h<strong>is</strong> model as a deeply devoutperson <strong>is</strong> quite inspirational <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> people of Asia as a whole.Renunciation <strong>is</strong> a value well appreciated as an essential elementof religiosity. Unlike in <strong>the</strong> West wherewith <strong>the</strong> growth ofmaterial<strong>is</strong>m and rational<strong>is</strong>m religion <strong>is</strong> on <strong>the</strong> verge of dyingout, in <strong>the</strong> Asian context even when <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> material progressreligious outlook <strong>is</strong> not totally comprom<strong>is</strong>ed. 36 Freinademetz’sgenuine ascetical d<strong>is</strong>cipline has been instrumental in drawingmany people to <strong>the</strong> fold of Chr<strong>is</strong>tian faith as it <strong>is</strong> not anuncommon phenomenon in Asia. 37As Abh<strong>is</strong>hiktananda (Henry le Saux 1910-1973), <strong>the</strong> Benedictineitinerant monk has said “What <strong>the</strong> world needs most urgentlynow <strong>is</strong> men who have met God in Chr<strong>is</strong>t and witness to it with<strong>the</strong> spontaneity and <strong>the</strong> liberty of a John or a Paul. Nobody can34 Nostra Aetate, No. 2. The Zen, Yogic and Vipassana methods ofmeditation, let alone many o<strong>the</strong>rs, have something different to offer.35 The ef<strong>for</strong>ts of Thomas Merton (1915–1968) to dialogue with <strong>the</strong>Buddh<strong>is</strong>t monks of Thailand at <strong>the</strong> level of spirituality, are a casein point of <strong>the</strong>ir regard. It <strong>is</strong> a fact that <strong>the</strong>y held th<strong>is</strong> C<strong>is</strong>tercianmonk from America in high esteem. So also <strong>the</strong> attempt of a fewBenedictine nuns who spent a month with <strong>the</strong>ir Buddh<strong>is</strong>tcounterparts in India brought to light that both have much commonground.36 Sunita Williams, an astronaut who recently spent 90 days in spacehad carried along with her a copy of <strong>the</strong> Hindu Scripture, BhagavadGita Th<strong>is</strong> gesture indicates that Asian sensibilities are different.37 For instance take <strong>the</strong> case of Mo<strong>the</strong>r Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997).Her simplicity of life and ascetical d<strong>is</strong>cipline drew many Hinduscloser to her, as a devout religious, not merely as a social worker.129

make <strong>the</strong> presence of Jesus known to o<strong>the</strong>rs if already Jesus <strong>is</strong>not <strong>for</strong> him a living presence.” 38 Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong>, no doubt, a personalchallenge <strong>for</strong> every m<strong>is</strong>sionary.3. Towards a Broad-based M<strong>is</strong>sionary Prax<strong>is</strong>A m<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>is</strong> most often perceived as a rank outsider. Heshould be quite conscious of th<strong>is</strong> fact. Initially much oppositionto h<strong>is</strong> arrival <strong>is</strong> expected. But that should not deter him frompursuing h<strong>is</strong> task. It <strong>is</strong> by building bridges across people that hefinds a place in <strong>the</strong> social milieu where he <strong>is</strong> placed. Hence <strong>the</strong>re<strong>is</strong> no substitute <strong>for</strong> entering into relationships with various typesof people. Being a humble learner <strong>is</strong> one of <strong>the</strong> best approachesa m<strong>is</strong>sionary could adopt at <strong>the</strong> beginning stage. He has tocontend with weird customs and a strange world-view. Withmuch patience he will be able to break new ground and slowlywin <strong>the</strong>ir hearts. In <strong>the</strong> case of Freinademetz he has presentedhimself as a model <strong>for</strong> a m<strong>is</strong>sionary at <strong>the</strong> grass-roots.The understanding of reality in some of <strong>the</strong> Asian cultures <strong>is</strong>like a ray of light passing through a spectrum. Various shadescan co-ex<strong>is</strong>t simultaneously without any contradiction. 39 It <strong>is</strong> likeNicholas of Cusa’s (1401-1461) principle of ‘Coincidentiaoppositorum’. He had said: “In God we must not conceive ofd<strong>is</strong>tinction and ind<strong>is</strong>tinction, <strong>for</strong> example, as two contradictories,but we must conceive of <strong>the</strong>m as antecedently ex<strong>is</strong>ting in <strong>the</strong>irown most simple beginning, where d<strong>is</strong>tinction <strong>is</strong> not o<strong>the</strong>r thanind<strong>is</strong>tinction.” 40 The m<strong>is</strong>sionary’s canvas has to be pretty broadin order that he does not get confused.38 Quoted in D. Bhatt, “An Apostle - a Chr<strong>is</strong>tian Guru”, in ClarenceSrambical, (ed.) M<strong>is</strong>sion Spirituality, Divine Word Publications,Indore, 1976, p.145.39 The Chinese symbol of Yin Yang illustrates it very clearly.40 http://integralscience.org/cusa.html.130

Sometimes lethargy and indifference go along with it. Just <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> sake of maintaining harmony even deviancy <strong>is</strong> nevercondemned. 41 In such situations when Chr<strong>is</strong>tian m<strong>is</strong>sionariesmake <strong>the</strong>ir entry <strong>the</strong> passive, static idea of harmony, even if notimmediately changed, at least it <strong>is</strong> challenged. Fatal<strong>is</strong>m which<strong>is</strong> quite common in Asian cultures too would not go unaffectedby h<strong>is</strong> presence and activity. 42 Naturally it will ra<strong>is</strong>e many eyebrowsand <strong>the</strong>re will be some tension. To some extent it <strong>is</strong> to beexpected as some dynamic element has entered <strong>the</strong> lull, dullsociety. It <strong>is</strong> to be seen and understood as a sign of positivechange as well as healthy growth. The outsider can be quite acatalyst <strong>for</strong> bringing about trans<strong>for</strong>mation in <strong>the</strong> society. It <strong>is</strong>truly prophetic dialogue that <strong>is</strong> in operation in th<strong>is</strong> context.4. Advocacy <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Little FlockIn <strong>the</strong> Asian context <strong>the</strong> Church <strong>is</strong> a small minority, truly ‘a littleflock’ (less than 3% of <strong>the</strong> vast multitudes of Asia). In such asituation mutual encouragement <strong>is</strong> constantly needed andappreciated. 43 Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> all <strong>the</strong> more necessary when incidents ofpersecution occur, every now and <strong>the</strong>n in India, Indonesia, Chinaand some of <strong>the</strong> Arabian countries. Many have become martyrsin <strong>the</strong> recent past. Everything should not be taken lying down.The consequences <strong>the</strong>n could be d<strong>is</strong>astrous. There <strong>is</strong> need <strong>for</strong>promoting advocacy about <strong>the</strong> situation at various national andinternational <strong>for</strong>a. Awareness should be ra<strong>is</strong>ed that <strong>the</strong>re arevarious ways of reg<strong>is</strong>tering protest. Sometimes immediate resultsmay not be <strong>for</strong>thcoming. Yet as it <strong>is</strong> a matter of survival <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>41 For instance, in India those who practice <strong>the</strong> cult of tantr<strong>is</strong>m stillmake sacrifice of children. Hardly anyone ra<strong>is</strong>es voice against it.42 The Hindu Re<strong>for</strong>mers in 19th and 20th century under Chr<strong>is</strong>tianm<strong>is</strong>sionary influence fought against <strong>the</strong> practice of sati – <strong>the</strong> wifejumping into <strong>the</strong> funeral pyre of <strong>the</strong> husband.43 Cf. James M. Kroeger, M. M., “M<strong>is</strong>sion Congress Reflection: God’sAsian Tapestry”, M<strong>is</strong>sion Today, Vol. IX, No. 2, Apr. - June 2007,Shillong, p. 126.131

‘little flock’, Church leadership at <strong>the</strong> local level can not af<strong>for</strong>dto ignore th<strong>is</strong> vital responsibility.In th<strong>is</strong> regard violent means should be totally excluded.Temptation could be pretty strong to take revenge with counterattacks and <strong>the</strong>re could be some short-term gains. But violenceonly begets more violence. Such an approach will create moreproblems than solutions. H<strong>is</strong>tory <strong>is</strong> replete with such lessons.Taking <strong>the</strong> cue from <strong>the</strong> New Testament, Gandhi had developednon-violent methods of reg<strong>is</strong>tering protest as well as fightinginjustice. If physical violence <strong>is</strong> faced with <strong>for</strong>titude, courageand patience, without fleeing from <strong>the</strong> situation, <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> goingto be positive result in <strong>the</strong> long run.5. Spiritual Back-up <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionIn th<strong>is</strong> era of crass material<strong>is</strong>m and consumer<strong>is</strong>m affecting <strong>the</strong>lives of even religious and m<strong>is</strong>sionaries, <strong>the</strong> life of Freinademetz<strong>is</strong> worthy of admiration as well as emulation. Once he left h<strong>is</strong>homeland in 1879 <strong>the</strong>re was no turning back; he never returnedto Europe even once. H<strong>is</strong> life has been marked by a sense ofdetachment, ascetical d<strong>is</strong>cipline and austere living. It was seenas an integral dimension of incarnational spirituality and all <strong>the</strong>setraits enhanced h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary profile.While on <strong>the</strong> one hand <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> a tendency today to play down<strong>the</strong> importance of <strong>the</strong>se elements and substitute <strong>the</strong>m with akind of activ<strong>is</strong>m <strong>the</strong>se are <strong>the</strong> very factors that keep <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionary on a steady track, without faltering. These are <strong>the</strong>genuine ingredients of h<strong>is</strong> unflagging zeal. The edifice calledm<strong>is</strong>sion <strong>is</strong> built on <strong>the</strong> foundation of simple living. That <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>message from <strong>the</strong> life of humble Fu Shen-fu.ConclusionFreinademetz was not a brilliant student nor was he veryextraordinarily gifted. But he as an average man was quitefocused in what he was doing, and marshalling all <strong>the</strong> resources132

he had at h<strong>is</strong> d<strong>is</strong>posal, achieved great things in <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion land.H<strong>is</strong> life epitomizes <strong>the</strong> laying of <strong>the</strong> foundation <strong>for</strong> a genuinelyChinese, nay, Asian Church. He has provided a v<strong>is</strong>ion of a trulyincarnated, inculturated Church without <strong>the</strong> usual trappings of<strong>the</strong> West.As Asian Synod Document (1999) says “In <strong>the</strong> process ofencountering <strong>the</strong> world’s different cultures, <strong>the</strong> Church not onlytransmits her truths and values and renews cultures from within,but she also takes from <strong>the</strong> various cultures <strong>the</strong> positive elementsalready found in <strong>the</strong>m. Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> obligatory path <strong>for</strong>evangelizers in presenting <strong>the</strong> Chr<strong>is</strong>tian faith and making it partof a peoples’ cultural heritage.” 44 Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> exactly whatFreinademetz lived <strong>for</strong> and h<strong>is</strong> life has in some way<strong>for</strong>eshadowed in <strong>the</strong> above statement. Even though 100 yearshave gone by after h<strong>is</strong> death, h<strong>is</strong> life and ways of m<strong>is</strong>sion havenot become irrelevant.III. EpilogueChina <strong>is</strong> currently going through a phase of great economicboom. Industry, trade and commerce are taking unprecedentedstrides. <strong>Life</strong> behind <strong>the</strong> bamboo curtain <strong>is</strong> fast changing. Globallyth<strong>is</strong> country <strong>is</strong> positioning itself as a super power and as it looksnothing can stop th<strong>is</strong> march <strong>for</strong>ward. As <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Church in Chinashe has faced many obstacles. Confucian philosophy ofnatural<strong>is</strong>m makes <strong>the</strong>m indifferent to o<strong>the</strong>r religions. Even whensome accept Chr<strong>is</strong>tianity temptations of making it a kind ofsyncret<strong>is</strong>m still pers<strong>is</strong>ts. Polygamy <strong>is</strong> yet ano<strong>the</strong>r obstacle <strong>the</strong>church has to contend with.Despite <strong>the</strong>se problems <strong>the</strong>re would have been a moreinculturated Church <strong>the</strong>re, but <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Commun<strong>is</strong>t revolution.Yet everything does not seem to be lost. There <strong>is</strong> a silver liningin <strong>the</strong> cloud. “Chr<strong>is</strong>tianity in China today evidences an heroic44 Ecclesia in Asia, No. 21.133

spirit. Tens of thousands have persevered … without priests andsacraments. The faith, hope and love are undaunted and carry<strong>the</strong>m through. Many have endured <strong>for</strong>ced labour, impr<strong>is</strong>onmentand even martyrdom.” 45 In <strong>the</strong> land of Confucius <strong>the</strong> words ofTertullian, viz., <strong>the</strong> blood of martyrs <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> seed of Chr<strong>is</strong>tian faith,could have a some telling effect in <strong>the</strong> not so d<strong>is</strong>tant future.The confession of Lou Tseng Tsiang, once <strong>the</strong> Prime Min<strong>is</strong>ter ofChinese Republic who later became a Catholic monk, <strong>is</strong> perhapsa harbinger of <strong>the</strong> days to come:“I am a Chr<strong>is</strong>tian and a Catholic because Holy Church, preparedfrom <strong>the</strong> beginning of mankind, founded by Jesus Chr<strong>is</strong>t, <strong>the</strong>Son of God, divinely enlightens and sustains <strong>the</strong> soul of manand gives <strong>the</strong> exclusive response to all our highest desires, to allour aspirations to all our needs.” 46[Publ<strong>is</strong>hed in Verbum SVD, Vol. 48-4,2007; pp. 373-385]45 F. Bornemann and O<strong>the</strong>rs, A H<strong>is</strong>tory of Our Society, p. 320.46 Dom Lou, The Way of Confucius and of Chr<strong>is</strong>t, Burns and Oats,London, 1948, p. 64. Quoted in H. Staffner, The Significance of JesusChr<strong>is</strong>t in Asia, Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand, 1985, p. 178.134

Joseph Freinademetz:H<strong>is</strong> “Conversion”Arnold Sprenger, SVDI assume that by now St. Joseph Freinademetz <strong>is</strong> well known toall of us. Is <strong>the</strong>re anything new to say about him? Yes! In a fewstrokes I’ll try to communicate what he means to me.During my first years in our Society I did not know him verywell. Yes, he was one of our very first m<strong>is</strong>sionaries, our firstm<strong>is</strong>sionaries to China. But, <strong>the</strong>re were greater and much betterknown m<strong>is</strong>sionaries in <strong>the</strong> h<strong>is</strong>tory of <strong>the</strong> Church: St. Paul, St.Franc<strong>is</strong> Xavier and many o<strong>the</strong>rs. In addition, <strong>the</strong>re was ourfounder, St. Arnold Janssen! He had made a great impressionon me. For various reasons he was even very close to my family.Fr. Joseph Freinademetz? No special relationship!But in recent years great changes have taken place in th<strong>is</strong>relationship. My <strong>for</strong>ty-four years in China (23 in Taiwan, 21 on<strong>the</strong> Mainland) have opened my eyes. V<strong>is</strong>iting <strong>the</strong> place wherehe lived and died, reading <strong>the</strong> letters and reports which he wroteand those which o<strong>the</strong>rs wrote about him was a revelation <strong>for</strong>me: h<strong>is</strong> life, h<strong>is</strong> development from an ideal and zealous youngpriest to a frustrated m<strong>is</strong>sionary in Hong Kong and Shandong,and <strong>the</strong> marvelous change or conversion to <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary wholearned to speak <strong>the</strong> language of love! Truly, <strong>the</strong> story of <strong>the</strong>making of a saint!When <strong>the</strong> son of <strong>the</strong> Tyrolen mountains left ship in Hong Kongin April 1879 he was sure that from <strong>the</strong>n on he would save poorpagans and root out idolatry and unbelief. In St. Martin’s Par<strong>is</strong>hin South Tyrol, he had told h<strong>is</strong> par<strong>is</strong>hioners: “If I think of thoseun<strong>for</strong>tunate countries and peoples where <strong>the</strong> true religion <strong>is</strong> notknown, and think of those people who are also our bro<strong>the</strong>rsand s<strong>is</strong>ters, my heart beats strongly, my eyes begin to fill withtears.” In h<strong>is</strong> farewell sermon he had said: “I know <strong>the</strong> deep135

m<strong>is</strong>ery of our bro<strong>the</strong>rs and s<strong>is</strong>ters beyond <strong>the</strong> ocean, who, <strong>the</strong>ireyes filled with tears, stretch out <strong>the</strong>ir arms and ask us <strong>for</strong> help.”D<strong>is</strong>appointmentHe had left h<strong>is</strong> home par<strong>is</strong>h in order to save people, to baptize,to fight <strong>the</strong> devils and demons. But in h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion no one wasinterested in him; no one wanted to see him, no one ever calledon him, no one wanted to be baptized, no one was interested inh<strong>is</strong> message. Sure, <strong>the</strong>y wanted to see <strong>the</strong> <strong>for</strong>eigner with h<strong>is</strong> longnose; <strong>the</strong>y even called him “a <strong>for</strong>eign devil”. They laughed athim when he tried to say something in <strong>the</strong> new language.Back home he had been highly esteemed and honored as a priestand had been well accepted as a person. But here in China, noone seemed to be interested in knowing why he was <strong>the</strong>re.Looking back on those days he wrote: “What I saw, heard andexperienced day after day, was often diametrically opposed to<strong>the</strong> convictions I held hi<strong>the</strong>rto.”What was totally incomprehensible to him and what he felt mostbitterly was <strong>the</strong> religious indifference he noticed everywhere.Nobody seemed to hunger <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> bread of truth and grace as hehad expected. Being a man of h<strong>is</strong> time with h<strong>is</strong> Europeanbackground <strong>the</strong>re was no room in him <strong>for</strong> understanding <strong>the</strong><strong>for</strong>eign culture and way of life. “The air one brea<strong>the</strong>s here <strong>is</strong>thoroughly pagan; no inspiration coming from <strong>the</strong> outside; anyencouraging word or inspiring good example <strong>is</strong> absent. Nosound of a church bell, no religious feast, no solemn processionspeaks to <strong>the</strong> heart; in most cases <strong>the</strong> chapel has <strong>the</strong> samedecoration on Good Friday as on Easter Sunday. Externally, <strong>the</strong>re<strong>is</strong> no difference between Chr<strong>is</strong>tmas and Ash Wednesday.” —Moments of despair!Where was God who had called him, who had sent him to <strong>the</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sion field? There were moments when he tried to share h<strong>is</strong>great frustration in letters to h<strong>is</strong> family and friends, momentswhen he put <strong>the</strong> blame <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> frustration on <strong>the</strong> Chinese people136

whom he had come to save. In letters of those early years weread sentences like <strong>the</strong> following, full of prejudices: “The Chinesecharacter has <strong>for</strong> Europeans little attraction. The creator has notequipped <strong>the</strong> Chinese with <strong>the</strong> same abilities as <strong>the</strong> Europeans.... The Chinese are unable to deal with higher thought.”In h<strong>is</strong> letters we read also about h<strong>is</strong> questionable concept of am<strong>is</strong>sionary: “And th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong> what <strong>the</strong> young m<strong>is</strong>sionary feels withgreat bitterness: he came full of fervor from Europe. He hadhoped that he could preach and baptize every day so manyChinese that h<strong>is</strong> arms would be tired in <strong>the</strong> evening.” Josephwas a man of h<strong>is</strong> time. There was no place <strong>for</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r religions. Tobe a m<strong>is</strong>sionary meant to win souls <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Catholic faith. Sincehe had failed to reach th<strong>is</strong> goal, he was d<strong>is</strong>appointed andfrustrated.ConversionH<strong>is</strong> personal d<strong>is</strong>appointments, h<strong>is</strong> lack of success <strong>for</strong>ced him toreflect about h<strong>is</strong> vocation. What had gone wrong? What kind ofm<strong>is</strong>sion approach had he applied so far? He realized that <strong>the</strong>wearing of Chinese clo<strong>the</strong>s had not made him into a new man.He began to understand what had to be done: <strong>the</strong>re had to be achange of <strong>the</strong> inner man. In Shandong he tried to do what inHong Kong he had failed to do: get to know <strong>the</strong> Chinese, <strong>the</strong>ircustoms and habits, <strong>the</strong>ir way of looking at things, <strong>the</strong>ir languageand culture. The result? The more he got to know <strong>the</strong> Chinese,<strong>the</strong>ir language and <strong>the</strong>ir culture, <strong>the</strong> more he appreciated <strong>the</strong>m.He admired <strong>the</strong>m more and began to truly love <strong>the</strong>m.Of course, he knew that <strong>the</strong> process would be painful. But soonJoseph was on <strong>the</strong> road to success. He was able to look at <strong>the</strong>Chinese and h<strong>is</strong> work in China in a new way and thus became<strong>the</strong> great m<strong>is</strong>sionary we know. From many of h<strong>is</strong> letters we canga<strong>the</strong>r that he had fallen in love with h<strong>is</strong> beloved Chinese. Whilepreparing <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> perpetual vows, he wrote to h<strong>is</strong> relatives: “Now,as <strong>the</strong> language <strong>is</strong> no longer so difficult <strong>for</strong> me and I know <strong>the</strong>people and <strong>the</strong>ir ways of living, China has become my home. Iwant to live and die with my Chinese.”137

Joseph’s main problem in h<strong>is</strong> first years as a m<strong>is</strong>sionary among<strong>the</strong> Chinese was that h<strong>is</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion approach did not start from<strong>the</strong> Chinese: <strong>the</strong>ir language, <strong>the</strong>ir living conditions, <strong>the</strong>ir needs,<strong>the</strong>ir religious thinking and practices, <strong>the</strong>ir way of life. And hecame to realize that he had to use a different approach. He hadto pray; he had to live with <strong>the</strong> Chinese to get to know <strong>the</strong>m,love <strong>the</strong>m, and befriend <strong>the</strong>m.Joseph realized that it was not <strong>the</strong> Chinese who had to change;he had to change; he had to be converted! And he did come toth<strong>is</strong> conversion. Joseph won <strong>the</strong> hearts of <strong>the</strong> Chinese. Theybegan to trust him, wanted to be with him, and accepted h<strong>is</strong>new message which he himself lived. He had learned <strong>the</strong>language of love and toge<strong>the</strong>r with h<strong>is</strong> Chinese friends he wenton <strong>the</strong> road to eternity where - he wanted to be <strong>for</strong>ever with h<strong>is</strong>beloved Chinese. What a conversion!Joseph’s conversion helped him to come close to <strong>the</strong> people hewas serving and thus come closer to God. He found himself on<strong>the</strong> road to sanctity. He became a model <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong> contemporaryconfreres and <strong>for</strong> all future m<strong>is</strong>sionaries in China.We have seen how, especially in <strong>the</strong> early years, Joseph facedmany dangers, problems and difficulties, creating <strong>for</strong> him a greatamount of sadness and suffering. But when he realized thatmany of <strong>the</strong>se phenomena were self-made problems, caused bym<strong>is</strong>understanding and lack of knowledge, he began to look in adifferent way at situations and people. He communicated with<strong>the</strong> people using <strong>the</strong> language everybody understands. Andpeople began to trust him; <strong>the</strong>y saw <strong>the</strong> good he did and wereready to work with him.The situation in China <strong>is</strong> different today than in Joseph’s time.But basic human relationships in China are still <strong>the</strong> same.Officially, many things can’t be done. Unofficially, many thingsare done. Mutual trust and friendship make many thingspossible. The language of love <strong>is</strong> truly <strong>the</strong> language thateverybody understands. Also today![Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center, Steyl, Bimonthly Reflections, No. 8]138


Centennial Prayerof Sts. Arnold Janssenand Joseph Freinademetz(29th January 2008 - 15th January 2009)“<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion”Holy Triune God, we thank and pra<strong>is</strong>e you <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> gifts of Sts.Arnold and Joseph. You chose St. Arnold to establ<strong>is</strong>h threem<strong>is</strong>sionary congregations and inspired St. Joseph to trans<strong>for</strong>m<strong>the</strong> people of China through <strong>the</strong> proclamation of <strong>the</strong> Good News.They responded to <strong>the</strong> needs of <strong>the</strong> time with great courage andfidelity.Through <strong>the</strong>ir intercession, may we, <strong>the</strong> children of <strong>the</strong> Arnoldusfamily, continue to d<strong>is</strong>cern God’s Will. May <strong>the</strong>ir prayers helpus to read <strong>the</strong> signs of <strong>the</strong> times and to respond to <strong>the</strong> needs ofour people with courage and dedication - through propheticdialogue and life-giving relationships.Help us Lord, to seek <strong>the</strong> values that will bring us lasting peacein th<strong>is</strong> changing world. Make us one in mind and heart, andmay <strong>the</strong> heart of Jesus live in our hearts and in <strong>the</strong> hearts of allpeople.We make th<strong>is</strong> prayer through <strong>the</strong> intercession of Sts. Arnold andJoseph, Blessed Maria Helena and Josefa, and our BlessedMartyrs. Amen.[Prepared by <strong>the</strong> Arnold Jansen Secretariat in Steyl.]140

Litany of Thanksgiving <strong>for</strong>Arnold and JosephAlleluia!Alleluia!We give you thanks, Lord, <strong>for</strong> you are good,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!We give thanks to you, God of gods,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You alone do great wonders,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!Your w<strong>is</strong>dom made <strong>the</strong> heavens,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You spread out <strong>the</strong> earth on <strong>the</strong> waters,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You chose St. Arnold to found three Steyl Congregations,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You sent St. Joseph Freinademetz to Chinato evangelize its people,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You sent SVD Bro<strong>the</strong>rs and Fa<strong>the</strong>rs to (country/continent)to open m<strong>is</strong>sions here,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You sent Holy Spirit M<strong>is</strong>sionary S<strong>is</strong>ters to (country/continent)to proclaim <strong>the</strong> good News,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You inspired b<strong>is</strong>hops to invite<strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit Adoration S<strong>is</strong>ters into <strong>the</strong>ir dioceses,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!You call members of St. Arnold’s Three Congregations tocelebrate and emulate <strong>the</strong> dedicated lives of Sts. Arnold andJoseph,Your love <strong>is</strong> everlasting!Amen, Alleluia![Adapted, Closing of <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year of Arnold and Joseph,SSpS USA Province,]141

Novena to Arnold Janssenand Joseph Freinademetz“<strong>Precious</strong> <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> life given <strong>for</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion”Readings <strong>for</strong> Morning Pra<strong>is</strong>e or Evening Pra<strong>is</strong>enine days preceding <strong>the</strong> opening of<strong>the</strong> Arnold-Joseph Centennial YearIntroductory NoteOur celebrations of St. Arnold and Joseph are to have <strong>the</strong>following objectives:• To deepen our knowledge of <strong>the</strong> two saints• To grow toge<strong>the</strong>r as one family• To make <strong>the</strong> two saints more known in <strong>the</strong> local churches• To reach out more to our lay partners.The following principles should characterize our celebrations:• The two events should be celebrated toge<strong>the</strong>r, since <strong>the</strong>two saints have always been closely linked toge<strong>the</strong>r.• The focus should be on <strong>the</strong> cause <strong>for</strong> which <strong>the</strong>y lived and<strong>the</strong> values <strong>for</strong> which <strong>the</strong>y stood. We want to highlight <strong>the</strong>irrelevance <strong>for</strong> us today.• The objective <strong>is</strong> to make <strong>the</strong> two saints and <strong>the</strong>ir relevance<strong>for</strong> today known in our countries, par<strong>is</strong>hes, m<strong>is</strong>sions andinstitutions.• The celebrations need to be kept simple, reflecting <strong>the</strong> livesof St. Arnold and St. Joseph.142

Day 1St. Arnold, A Man of God, A Man of PrayerArnold was in <strong>the</strong> best sense, a man of God, a man of prayer.With an unshakable faith, he lived consciously in <strong>the</strong> presenceof God and was aware that he was responsible to God. H<strong>is</strong> searchto fulfill h<strong>is</strong> God-given task urged him to put in all h<strong>is</strong> energy,taught him unexpected prudence, gave him a worldwide v<strong>is</strong>ionand provided him with courage, strength and perseverance.Animated with a passion <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> honor of God and <strong>the</strong> salvationof peoples, he accompl<strong>is</strong>hed much more than h<strong>is</strong> capabilitieswould suggest.Arnold was deeply convinced that <strong>the</strong> success of h<strong>is</strong> work wasGod’s doing, not h<strong>is</strong>. He wrote <strong>the</strong> Bro<strong>the</strong>rs in China:The hand of <strong>the</strong> Lord has founded th<strong>is</strong> vineyard andfostered it. From him comes <strong>the</strong> light of <strong>the</strong> sun, <strong>the</strong>rain and <strong>the</strong> success. I cannot ascribe anything tomyself, but a tiny portion of cooperation, and noteven that <strong>is</strong> of my own self. ... The foundation and<strong>the</strong> continuation of our Society has no o<strong>the</strong>r causethan <strong>the</strong> One who <strong>is</strong> in heaven and guides all <strong>the</strong>things here below.At <strong>the</strong> age of 68 years Arnold wrote:Happy <strong>the</strong> person whose eyes of <strong>the</strong> spirit Godopened so that he/she recognizes: I have a masterabove me. I have to serve him and I will serve him ,and <strong>the</strong>n arranges h<strong>is</strong>/her life accordingly.Th<strong>is</strong> Arnold Janssen did and by doing it gave us, h<strong>is</strong> sons anddaughters, an example.[Jakob Reuter, Proclaiming <strong>the</strong> Word in <strong>the</strong> Power of <strong>the</strong> Spirit,Steyl, 1993]143

Day 2St. Arnold: He did Ordinary Thingsin an Extraordinary MannerGod speaks to us in <strong>the</strong> lives of <strong>the</strong> saints in very diverse andoften unexpected ways. It was so with Saint Arnold: throughh<strong>is</strong> unspectacular life God wrought <strong>the</strong> extraordinary. Arnoldwas in no way a char<strong>is</strong>matic person, yet he became <strong>the</strong> founderof a religious family that today numbers 10,000 women and menfrom every continent and many cultures. Fa<strong>the</strong>r Arnold told h<strong>is</strong>spiritual daughters in <strong>the</strong> clo<strong>is</strong>ter on Chr<strong>is</strong>tmas Day in 1898:Saints are not born, but gradually are <strong>for</strong>med by grace. Th<strong>is</strong>piece of w<strong>is</strong>dom <strong>is</strong> typical of Arnold’s basic spiritual orientationand conviction. Cooperation with divine grace given daily insmall measures <strong>is</strong> of great significance. In <strong>the</strong> life and work ofSaint Arnold, God reveals himself as <strong>the</strong> God of life <strong>for</strong> all, asGod who <strong>is</strong> Good News <strong>for</strong> all people. To live that message andpass it on in word and deed was Saint Arnold’s passionate desireand enduring legacy. May we in <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus family live likeour Founder, alert to <strong>the</strong> God of life who d<strong>is</strong>perses h<strong>is</strong> grace aswe thread <strong>the</strong> path of our ordinary m<strong>is</strong>sion life.[Arnold Janssen: Serving <strong>the</strong> universal Church, Rome, 2003.]Day 2St. Arnold: Ahead in H<strong>is</strong> Thinkingin Effective Proclamation of <strong>the</strong> Good NewsArnold considered a thorough knowledge of o<strong>the</strong>r religions,cultures and languages an ind<strong>is</strong>pensable prerequ<strong>is</strong>ite <strong>for</strong> aneffective proclamation of <strong>the</strong> Good News. At h<strong>is</strong> time that wasan exception among m<strong>is</strong>sionary congregations. Today, <strong>the</strong>sesstudies are considered essential by all m<strong>is</strong>sionary institutes <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> inculturation of <strong>the</strong> Gospel and <strong>for</strong> dialogue with o<strong>the</strong>rreligions.144

For Arnold Janssen, Chr<strong>is</strong>tian unity was of special concern. Heconsidered th<strong>is</strong> unity, as Jesus did in h<strong>is</strong> farewell prayer (Jn.17:21), <strong>the</strong> condition <strong>for</strong> a convincing proclamation of <strong>the</strong> GoodNews. Th<strong>is</strong> concern has not lost its relevance today.[Henry Heekeren, SVD]Day 3The Significance of St. Arnold’s<strong>Life</strong> and Work <strong>for</strong> TodayIn Steyl and in <strong>the</strong> three Congregations founded by Arnold, <strong>the</strong>members lived a life of poverty and solidarity with <strong>the</strong> stillpoorer people of China, New Guinea, Togo, etc. Long be<strong>for</strong>e all<strong>the</strong> talk about development, Arnold Janssen encouraged h<strong>is</strong>m<strong>is</strong>sionaries to deal with social projects. Thus <strong>the</strong> universalChurch’s option <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> poor finds in Arnold Janssen an enduringmodel.Arnold Janssen’s solidarity with <strong>the</strong> abandoned andmarginalized in <strong>the</strong> world repeatedly brought him into conflictwith <strong>the</strong> German colonial authorities. Hence, he had to put upwith <strong>the</strong> superiors in <strong>the</strong> Togo m<strong>is</strong>sion being accused and thrownout, because <strong>the</strong>y had defended <strong>the</strong> local Togolese against unjusttreatment by <strong>the</strong> colonial officials <strong>the</strong>re. In 1898, he succeededin calling a meeting of superiors of m<strong>is</strong>sion-sending societies inGermany so that toge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y could put more pressure on <strong>the</strong>policies of <strong>the</strong> Colonial Office in Berlin. Th<strong>is</strong> was <strong>the</strong> first ofmore than one hundred national meetings of religious superiorsin Germany. Courageous opposition to political and industrialoppression of <strong>the</strong> poor remains relevant today.[Henry Heekeren, SVD]145

Day 3St. Arnold: Ahead in Multicultural Thinkingin Effective WitnessFrom <strong>the</strong> beginning Arnold was open to accepting candidatesfrom all nationalities and he wanted <strong>the</strong>m to live in communitiesmade up of different nationalities, which was unusual in h<strong>is</strong>day. Today, in an ever growing multicultural world filled withnumerous ethnic conflicts in many countries, international teamsof m<strong>is</strong>sionaries, who live and work toge<strong>the</strong>r in harmony, can bea powerful response to today’s tensions and conflicts betweendifferent nationalities and ethnic groups.[Henry Heekeren, SVD]Day 4St. Arnold: Ahead in H<strong>is</strong> Thinkingin Many AspectsO<strong>the</strong>r aspects of <strong>the</strong> relevance of <strong>the</strong> life and work of ArnoldJanssen <strong>for</strong> today include h<strong>is</strong> effective use of <strong>the</strong> media, h<strong>is</strong> deepappreciation <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> contribution of <strong>the</strong> laity in m<strong>is</strong>sionaryactivity, h<strong>is</strong> promotion of retreats, especially <strong>for</strong> lay people, andh<strong>is</strong> firm conviction that all m<strong>is</strong>sionaries must first live by <strong>the</strong>Word of God in order to preach it effectively.Day 4St. Arnold’s Last DayOn Friday, January 15, 1909, at one o’clock in <strong>the</strong> morning, ArnoldJanssen passed peacefully to h<strong>is</strong> eternal reward. He was 71 yearsold, had been a priest <strong>for</strong> 48 years, <strong>the</strong> Founder of threeCongregations, and Superior General of <strong>the</strong> Society of <strong>the</strong> DivineWord <strong>for</strong> 33 years.146

One hundred years have passed since <strong>the</strong> ma<strong>the</strong>matician diedin Steyl. What he establ<strong>is</strong>hed proved to be solid and innerlysound after h<strong>is</strong> death. The 3 Congregations (<strong>the</strong> SVD, SSpS and<strong>the</strong> SSpSAP) founded by Fa<strong>the</strong>r Arnold achieve a common goaland “go into <strong>the</strong> whole world and teach all nations, baptizing<strong>the</strong>m in <strong>the</strong> name of <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong> Son and Holy Spirit.[Fritz Bornemann (trl. J. Vogelgesang), Arnold Janssen: Founder of ThreeM<strong>is</strong>sionary Congregations, Manila 1975.]Day 5St. Joseph: Saying Good-byeIn summer 1878 it was time <strong>for</strong> Joseph Freinademetz to say goodbye: good bye to <strong>the</strong> familiar surroundings, to parents, relativesand friends; to <strong>the</strong> flow of life he had grown used to; good byealso to <strong>the</strong> kind of life <strong>for</strong> which he had prepared himself <strong>for</strong> solong: to <strong>the</strong> security and warmth of <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>h house, <strong>the</strong> workas ass<strong>is</strong>tant par<strong>is</strong>h priest which he had come to like very much.To say good bye means to go away; it means to leave behindwhat had been important until now, that which had filled <strong>the</strong>life of Joseph Freinademetz and given meaning to it. On Sunday,August 11, 1878, he said good bye to <strong>the</strong> par<strong>is</strong>h of St. Martin inThum, where he served as ass<strong>is</strong>tant par<strong>is</strong>h priest and elementaryschool teacher:The divine good shepherd in h<strong>is</strong> unfathomablegoodness has invited me to go out toge<strong>the</strong>r with himinto <strong>the</strong> desert in order to help him in h<strong>is</strong> search <strong>for</strong><strong>the</strong> lost sheep. What else should I do but k<strong>is</strong>s h<strong>is</strong>hand full of joy and gratitude and say with <strong>the</strong>Scriptures “Behold I come” and with Abraham leavemy fa<strong>the</strong>r’s house, native land and you, my dearones, and go to <strong>the</strong> land which <strong>the</strong> Lord will showme.H<strong>is</strong> inner sentiments are laid bare in a letter which he wrote toFranz Thaler, h<strong>is</strong> friend and benefactor in Sottru, a small village147

next to Oies, February 18, 1879, a few days be<strong>for</strong>e h<strong>is</strong> departureceremony in Steyl:Dear Friend, at times I find it hard to live far awayfrom those whom I have loved so much; to leave mynative place, which has given me so many friendsand joys; and to look <strong>for</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r home where onehas to start from <strong>the</strong> very beginning like a childbeginning life anew, where one has to learn new andvery difficult languages and get to know people whohave completely different interests and customs. ...It <strong>is</strong> hard to begin such a life after I have been sohappy among you Ladins. And I say it to you withall honesty: I would never do th<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> anything inth<strong>is</strong> world, not even <strong>for</strong> millions of worlds. But I amvery happy and content that I can do th<strong>is</strong> <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>good Lord up <strong>the</strong>re, even if I would encounter deatha thousand times. And I know h<strong>is</strong> grace will neverabandon me.[Pietro Irsara, Reflections on St. Joseph Freinademetz SVD]Day 6148St. Joseph: InculturationJoseph Freinademetz once wrote: “Not even <strong>for</strong> 3000 coronasam I prepared to leave country and friends so as to relocatemyself in a new world.” But love <strong>for</strong> Jesus and <strong>for</strong> all of God’speople motivated him to do exactly that. He left country, family,friends, culture and language, to go to China, a world that wastotally new to him. It was a difficult challenge. Struggles with<strong>the</strong> language and <strong>the</strong> new way of life provoked in him a cultureshock where everything seemed dark and depressing. Th<strong>is</strong> sameexperience afflicts almost all those who have to emigrate andput down roots in a new reality. But he was able to respond to<strong>the</strong> challenge. Though he never <strong>for</strong>got <strong>the</strong> mountains that

surrounded h<strong>is</strong> native valley, he opted to become Chinese among<strong>the</strong> Chinese, even writing: “I love China and <strong>the</strong> Chinese; I wantto die among <strong>the</strong>m and to be laid to rest among <strong>the</strong>m. ... I wantto continue being Chinese even in heaven.” And so it turnedout. ... There <strong>is</strong> a certain irony in <strong>the</strong> fact that <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>is</strong>situdes ofh<strong>is</strong>tory erased all trace of h<strong>is</strong> tomb. It <strong>is</strong> now entirely impossibleto separate him from China.[Arnold Janssen Secretariat - Steyl]Day 7St. Joseph: H<strong>is</strong> Style in Proclaiming <strong>the</strong> WordJoseph Freinademetz would travel in China by canal, by muleor on foot from place to place where he knew he was nei<strong>the</strong>rknown nor wanted. Except when anti-European bias blinded<strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong> peasants were favorably impressed by Joseph’s sunnyd<strong>is</strong>position. Joseph would take h<strong>is</strong> place in <strong>the</strong> village marketwhere he would entertain a fast ga<strong>the</strong>ring crowd with stories orsleight-of-hand tricks, while <strong>the</strong> music box he set beside himturned out a tinkling version of some old German tune. Frommusic and wizardry, to story-telling, to <strong>the</strong> basic truths ofChr<strong>is</strong>tianity—Joseph would lead h<strong>is</strong> enthralled l<strong>is</strong>teners to <strong>the</strong>Word of God.[Joseph Freinademetz: With Thy Whole Strength, Techny 1952]Day 8St. Joseph: True to <strong>the</strong> EndFrom Steyl to Rome to Chinese m<strong>is</strong>sion centers JosephFreinademetz proved himself to be adaptive, flexible andenergetic in nature, enabling him to efficiently fill diversepositions: head of a catech<strong>is</strong>t school, procurator, rector, pro-vicar(i.e. acting vicar apostolic), provincial superior. Twice heavyblows fell upon Joseph by anti-clerical factions. None broke h<strong>is</strong>149

enduring pers<strong>is</strong>tence and unalterable faith in God. It was only<strong>the</strong> fatal blow of typhus fever that debilitated Joseph. With acrucifix near h<strong>is</strong> pillow and a rosary between h<strong>is</strong> fingers, Fa<strong>the</strong>rProvincial Freinademetz slipped into semi-coma and quietlywent into <strong>the</strong> hands of h<strong>is</strong> God.[Joseph Freinademetz: With Thy Whole Strength, Techny 1952]Day 9Saints Arnold and Joseph: Our ModelsIn both Arnold and Joseph one finds a deep love <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> Word ofGod. In both <strong>the</strong>re was an intense passion to be instruments ofGod’s will. And in both, one finds a living testimony that <strong>the</strong>Kingdom <strong>is</strong> open to all, no matter what <strong>the</strong> race, culture orlanguage or way of life... <strong>the</strong>ir openness was also able to includeall, seeing in legitimate differences a source of enrichment, evenin spite of <strong>the</strong> difficulties that can sometimes result.Their lives do have something to say to us today. We live in amulticultural and multireligious world that compels people from<strong>the</strong> far<strong>the</strong>rmost ends of <strong>the</strong> earth to learn to live toge<strong>the</strong>r sideby-side.If Arnold and Joseph were able to do it, why can’t we?[Arnold Janssen Secretariat - Steyl]Of both we could say, <strong>the</strong>ir real worth <strong>is</strong> in:• <strong>the</strong>ir unshakable faith in God,• <strong>the</strong>ir pers<strong>is</strong>tence and endurance• in <strong>the</strong>ir love of God• and above all in God’s love and faithfulness to <strong>the</strong>m.[Opening of <strong>the</strong> Centennial Year of Arnold and Joseph,SSpS USA Province]150

Sayings of St. Arnold JanssenThe sayings given here are in <strong>the</strong> Engl<strong>is</strong>h version as found in a variety ofpublications of <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus Family. No ef<strong>for</strong>t was made to check <strong>the</strong>mwith <strong>the</strong> exact wording of <strong>the</strong> original documents.1. Everything <strong>is</strong> possible by <strong>the</strong> power of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit’sgrace.2. Never will we understand <strong>the</strong> value of time better thanwhen our last hour <strong>is</strong> at hand.3. True love and real trust <strong>for</strong>m <strong>the</strong> bas<strong>is</strong> of all good teamwork.4. May you trust in God all <strong>the</strong> more, <strong>the</strong> more adverse amatter <strong>is</strong>.5. It <strong>is</strong> not lengthy prayers but generous deeds that touch God’sheart.6. Announcing <strong>the</strong> gospel <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> first and greatest act of charity.7. Sufferings and crosses are a hard shell containing a sweetfruit.8. Even when God’s will does not correspond to your owndesires, it <strong>is</strong> always beneficial <strong>for</strong> you.9. The m<strong>is</strong>sionary <strong>is</strong> not <strong>the</strong> light but reveals <strong>the</strong> light — Chr<strong>is</strong>t.10. God loves those who thank him even in suffering.11. Since love completes all, makes hard things soft, and <strong>the</strong>difficult easy, let us strive to make all our acts proceed fromlove.12. If after mature consideration you do what you recognize tobe God’s holy will — what does it matter if o<strong>the</strong>rs find faultwith it?13. May your heart be like an altar, from which <strong>the</strong> sacrifice ofthanksgiving incessantly r<strong>is</strong>es up to God.151

14. Ask God <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> grace to remain calm even when you aretreated unfairly, and never to allow a harsh or contemptuousword to pass your lips.15. The most important thing in meditation <strong>is</strong> not reflectionbut communion with God, above all in love.16. A servant of <strong>the</strong> Lord must be prepared to have muchvinegar poured into <strong>the</strong> wine of h<strong>is</strong> or her life.17. Let us continue, <strong>the</strong>n, with unabated zeal to laboreverywhere in <strong>the</strong> world <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> many intentions of <strong>the</strong>Sacred Heart of Jesus, <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> sublime tasks entrusted to us.... Let us center all of our ef<strong>for</strong>ts.18. Pray particularly to <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit to grant you prudence,courage, patience and great confidence. Armed with <strong>the</strong>sevirtues, you can confidently face <strong>the</strong> future, und<strong>is</strong>turbedby <strong>the</strong> many difficulties that may ar<strong>is</strong>e now or later, and<strong>for</strong> which you must be prepared.[Compiled <strong>for</strong> Faith Sharing on <strong>the</strong> closing of <strong>the</strong> Arnold-JosephCentennial Year, SSpS USA Province]152

Sayings ofSaint Joseph FreinademetzThe sayings given here are in <strong>the</strong> Engl<strong>is</strong>h version as found in a variety ofpublications of <strong>the</strong> Arnoldus Family. No ef<strong>for</strong>t was made to check <strong>the</strong>mwith <strong>the</strong> exact wording of <strong>the</strong> original documents.1. Let us pray that no matter what happens to us in th<strong>is</strong> world,our eternity may be a happy one.2. May <strong>the</strong> will of God, supreme and almighty, be done.3. Prayers are <strong>the</strong> best help you can give a m<strong>is</strong>sionary.4. To suffer with joy <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> most beautiful thing in <strong>the</strong> worldand <strong>the</strong> saints in heaven envy us because of it.5. The language of love <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> only language everyoneunderstands.6. Do not refuse anything to o<strong>the</strong>rs, and claim nothing <strong>for</strong>yourself.7. Roses grow in <strong>the</strong> midst of thorns and virtues in <strong>the</strong> midstof desolation.8. The most beautiful <strong>for</strong>tune in life <strong>is</strong> to be a m<strong>is</strong>sionary.9. The more <strong>the</strong> Lord blesses us, <strong>the</strong> more we should work <strong>for</strong>him.10. As certain as we are of <strong>the</strong> truth that God <strong>is</strong> God, we can becertain that everything happens <strong>for</strong> our good.11. I am happy to be where <strong>the</strong>re <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> cross and suffering, <strong>for</strong>God <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>re.153

12. The true faith <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> resplendent star that lights up <strong>the</strong> darknight of th<strong>is</strong> world13. People are converted only through <strong>the</strong> grace of God and —may we add — by our love.14. May fraternal unity strike deep roots in th<strong>is</strong> place so thatno storm wind may be strong enough to uproot th<strong>is</strong> tree.15. Let us all reach out helping hands, ass<strong>is</strong>ting one ano<strong>the</strong>rsincerely.16. I do not consider <strong>the</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sionary life as a sacrifice that Ioffer to God, but as <strong>the</strong> greatest grace that God could haveever given to me.17. With <strong>the</strong> grace of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit no ef<strong>for</strong>t <strong>is</strong> ever too late!18. There <strong>is</strong> nothing more exhilarating on earth than to workas a zealous religious <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> glory of God and <strong>the</strong> salvationof all.[Compiled <strong>for</strong> Faith Sharing on <strong>the</strong> closing of <strong>the</strong> Arnold-JosephCentennial Year, SSpS USA Province]154

Arnold’s Top Ten Bible PassagesRomans 5:5 <strong>is</strong> one of <strong>the</strong> five Scripture texts most quoted by <strong>the</strong>Founder. Some have wondered what are <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r texts. AlbertRohner publ<strong>is</strong>hed two volumes of <strong>the</strong> Founder’s notes <strong>for</strong> h<strong>is</strong>retreat conferences and sermons (Analecta SVD 30 + 31) with anindex of all <strong>the</strong> Scripture references in <strong>the</strong>se two volumes. So itwould appear to be an easy task simply to count which texts in<strong>the</strong> index have <strong>the</strong> most references. But one also needs to checkeach reference because sometimes a text <strong>is</strong> referred to twice in<strong>the</strong> same talk or <strong>is</strong> one given in <strong>the</strong> notes by Rohner. In addition<strong>the</strong> Founder occasionally adds a simple l<strong>is</strong>t of text referencesrelevant to <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me of h<strong>is</strong> talk but without using any of <strong>the</strong>texts. With th<strong>is</strong> in mind we can set out <strong>the</strong> following as <strong>the</strong> tentexts most often quoted by Arnold Janssen:1) Heb 10:4-7 On coming into <strong>the</strong> world he said, ‘Youwanted no sacrifice …but (cf. Ps 40:6-8) yougave me a body… Here I am, I am coming todo your will, God.’2) Lk 4:18 The Spirit of <strong>the</strong> Lord <strong>is</strong> upon me, <strong>for</strong> he hasanointed me to bring (cf. Is 61:1) <strong>the</strong> goodnews to <strong>the</strong> afflicted.3) Rom 8:14-17 All who are guided by <strong>the</strong> Spirit are sons anddaughters of God. What you received <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong>Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out,‘Abba, Fa<strong>the</strong>r.’ … And if we are children, <strong>the</strong>nwe are heirs, heirs of God and joint - heirswith Chr<strong>is</strong>t.4) 1 Cor 3,16 You are a temple of God with <strong>the</strong> Spirit livingin you.5) Rom 5:5 The love of God has been poured into ourhearts by <strong>the</strong> gift of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit.155

6) Rev 21:3 Here God lives among human beings. He willmake h<strong>is</strong> home among <strong>the</strong>m; <strong>the</strong>y will be h<strong>is</strong>people and he will be <strong>the</strong>ir God, God-with<strong>the</strong>m.7) Jn 3:16 God loved <strong>the</strong> world so much that he gaveh<strong>is</strong> Son that those who believe in him mayhave eternal life.8) Jn 15:16 You did not choose me, no, I chose you.9) 2 Cor 11:2 I gave you all in marriage to a single husband,a virgin pure <strong>for</strong> presentation to Chr<strong>is</strong>t.10) Eph 1:4 He chose us in Chr<strong>is</strong>t be<strong>for</strong>e <strong>the</strong> world wasmade to be holy and faultless be<strong>for</strong>e him inlove.The OT text most quoted <strong>is</strong> Jer 31:3: I have loved you with aneverlasting love.Some of <strong>the</strong> above are actually multiple verses on a <strong>the</strong>me. So ifyou ask about <strong>the</strong> single verses most quoted, <strong>the</strong> order wouldbe: Lk 4:18; 1 Cor 3:16; Rom 5:5; Rev 21:3; Jn 3:16. Sometimes<strong>the</strong> content of a Scripture verse <strong>is</strong> quoted but without giving <strong>the</strong>reference. Jn 3:16 (For God so loved <strong>the</strong> world...), <strong>for</strong> example,<strong>is</strong> one used several times in th<strong>is</strong> way in h<strong>is</strong> talks and also in h<strong>is</strong>prayers. The first line of <strong>the</strong> Prologue to <strong>the</strong> SVD Constitutions,by <strong>the</strong> way, does <strong>the</strong> same.Not surpr<strong>is</strong>ingly, <strong>the</strong> ten texts reflect those aspects of <strong>the</strong>Chr<strong>is</strong>tian mystery that were central to Arnold’s spirituality.[Peter McHugh, SVDAJSC Newsletter, No. 8, Steyl, February 2008]156

We pra<strong>is</strong>e You,Blessed One in ThreeWe pra<strong>is</strong>e you, blessed One in Three,who draws us to fullness of life.We thank you <strong>for</strong> th<strong>is</strong> Centennial Year- a year to look backand to recognize with gratitude<strong>the</strong> design of your love,woven in all our YESTERDAYS.A year to celebrateyour blessings and wondersand l<strong>is</strong>ten to your voicespeaking through <strong>the</strong> challengesof our realities TODAY.A year to look <strong>for</strong>ward to your prom<strong>is</strong>e of TOMORROWknowing that whatever lies ahead,You are <strong>the</strong>re ahead of us,You walk with us,You are <strong>the</strong> power within us,Faithful God.Call us anew,as you called Arnold Janssenand Joseph Freinademetz,to be living signs of your WORDand true <strong>Servants</strong> of your HOLY SPIRIT.As Fr. Arnold pushed back horizonsand took upon h<strong>is</strong> ordinarinessextraordinary tasks,armed with naked faith, v<strong>is</strong>ion, daring,and a lot of stubborn pers<strong>is</strong>tence,rooted in H<strong>is</strong> love <strong>for</strong> you, Triune God,give us <strong>the</strong> courage to let go of our fears and tepidity.157

Make us bold in following your willno matter where and how you lead us.in m<strong>is</strong>sion, <strong>for</strong> m<strong>is</strong>sion.As Fr. Joseph Freinademetzheeded <strong>the</strong> call to leave ALLonly to face suspicion, unbelief,hostility and persecution in China,yet turned h<strong>is</strong> suffering into fertile soil<strong>for</strong> loving God’s flock unto <strong>the</strong> end,widen our minds and heartsto recognize you in <strong>the</strong> facesof peoples of all cultures and beliefs.May we experience your love in our mutual embrace.As <strong>the</strong>y took <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir only guideYour holy willd<strong>is</strong>cerned in prayerand contemplative l<strong>is</strong>tening;and allowed <strong>the</strong>mselvesto be led,to be shaped,to be used,totally trusting you and your oft-mysterious designs,never asking “How much?”nor “How long?”empower us with your Spiritto follow in <strong>the</strong>ir footsteps.O Blessed One in Three grant thatlike our two saints,our lives may become livingproclamations of YOUR LOVE,HOLY TRIUNE GOD, AMEN.[Lourdes Anne Berbano, SSpS;publ<strong>is</strong>hed in PULA –SSpS Botswana-Zambia-South Africa Newsletter,January 2008]158

Arnold Janssen: Who <strong>is</strong> th<strong>is</strong> Man?He was a man of humble origin,insignificant beginnings,never considered brilliant,not famous as Nelson Mandela,Martin Lu<strong>the</strong>r King, or Mahatma Gandhi would be.He was ordinary.H<strong>is</strong> grades were “sat<strong>is</strong>factory,”“less sat<strong>is</strong>factory,” sometimes “good.”He got through to priesthoodby simply working hard and diligently,becoming a Math teacher, and a strict one at that.He was <strong>the</strong> man least likely to succeedin starting a m<strong>is</strong>sionary society,much less to establ<strong>is</strong>h three.But incredibly, th<strong>is</strong> he did, at a time when <strong>the</strong>re wasreligious persecution and church suppression in Germany.He simply thought that if priests and religiouscould not work in <strong>the</strong>ir own land,<strong>the</strong>y should think of <strong>the</strong> millions of people in <strong>the</strong> worldwho have not heard <strong>the</strong> Good Newsand reach out to <strong>the</strong>m.H<strong>is</strong> dream: Let us send m<strong>is</strong>sionaries to <strong>the</strong> ends of <strong>the</strong> earth!People laughed at him and called him a fool.He did not have any money.However, Arnold Janssen had FAITH,v<strong>is</strong>ion, a daring spirit to try <strong>the</strong> untried,stubborn pers<strong>is</strong>tence.Anchored in deep faith and prayer,he had <strong>the</strong> courage to meet great odds,shaping a dream to reach out to faraway lands,rooted in <strong>the</strong> Trinity, whose love he yearned to make knownto all people of all nations. . .159

And so he dared <strong>the</strong> untried:with no money in h<strong>is</strong> pocket,but trusting in <strong>the</strong> generosity of people,he founded <strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sion Society of <strong>the</strong> Divine Word,<strong>the</strong> M<strong>is</strong>sionary S<strong>is</strong>ters, <strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit,and <strong>Servants</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration.He never asked <strong>the</strong> Lord, “How much?” or “How long?”Taking as h<strong>is</strong> only guide God’s holy willas he learned in prayer,he looked straight ahead, saying again and again,“Lord, at your Word, I will lower <strong>the</strong> net.”Arnold Janssen did not have much.But what he was, ALL that he was,he placed totally at God’s d<strong>is</strong>posal -including h<strong>is</strong> faults and h<strong>is</strong> personality weaknesses.Humbly, he was willing to be shaped,and to be used <strong>for</strong> God’s designin God’s own way,in God’s own time.In total love and faithful commitment,Arnold Janssen lowered h<strong>is</strong> net, and God did <strong>the</strong> rest!Reflection:St. Arnold Janssen <strong>is</strong> <strong>the</strong> man we speak of, <strong>the</strong> man who didordinary things in an extraordinary way (attested by CardinalRossi in connection with <strong>the</strong> process of beatification). Th<strong>is</strong> <strong>is</strong><strong>the</strong> man who became <strong>the</strong> head of more than 10,000 men andwomen religious and lay partners from every corner of <strong>the</strong> worldin carrying out <strong>the</strong> great m<strong>is</strong>sion of spreading <strong>the</strong> Good News.As a m<strong>is</strong>sionary committed to <strong>the</strong> WORD, do I nurture and passon St. Arnold’s passion <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> WORD?[Lourdes Anne Berbano, SSpS;publ<strong>is</strong>hed in Echoes - Newsletter of <strong>the</strong> Philippines North,Vol. LIV, No. 1, January 2009]160

Saint Arnold Janssen(1837-1909)Founder:• SVD• SSpS• SSpSAPSaint Joseph Freinademetz(1852-1908)Pioneer M<strong>is</strong>sionaryin China

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