A book on Flemish Dominicans on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Order

A book on Flemish Dominicans on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Order

To mark the celebration of the 800 years Jubilee of the Order, the Vicariate of the Vice-provincial of St. Thomas in Flanders (Belgium) has published a book on the apostolic dedication (activities) of the Flemish Dominican brothers in the preceding century. The title of the book is: “Predikbroeders in woord en daad. Dominicanen in Vlaanderen in de twintigste eeuw. (“Preaching brothers in word and deed (action). Dominicans in Flanders during the twentieth century”). The first chapter (30 pages) gives a survey of the history and the inspiration of the Order and then a short survey of the presence and the life of the Order in the country.

The greatest concentration is given to the apostolic activity of the friars, even though this does not exhaust the totality of what had been realized in that century. It was necessary to make a choice. The book illustrates how, beside the various forms of preaching of many brothers, the former province has tried to contribute much reflection on different fields. For that purpose the province has launched four important reviews; a review on philosophy “Tijdschrift voor Filosofie”, a review of general culture: “Kultuurleven”, a revue of spiritual life “Tijdschrift voor geestelijk leven” and a cultural review for the youth “Jong Kultuurleven”, which later changed its name  to “Jeugd en Cultuur”. Moreover some brothers in the province have started the publication of a weekly review for the parishes, “Parochieblad”. This review, which still exists, consists partly of general articles for all the subscribers, but it also offers the possibility that every parish can insert their local news. This makes it possible for parishioners to follow very closely the life of their own parish.

The reviews “Kultuurleven” and “Jeugd en Cultuur” do not exist anymore. The brothers of the Dutch Province now have the responsibility for the review on spirituality. An editorial house of the Flemish dioceses has the responsibility for the weekly for the parish reviews. The institute of philosophy of the Catholic University of Leuven is actually the editor of the philosophical review.  In the jubilee book several articles are dedicated to the three fathers, who for several years were the editors of these publications. These are; Fr. D. De Petter (Tijdschrift voor Filosofie), Fr. J.H.Walgrave (Kultuurleven) and Fr. E. Schillebeeckx (Tijdschrift voor Geestelijk Leven).

For the most part during the century, brothers of the province were engaged in the formation of people, who in turn were active in social life by founding and organizing a “Social School” for “social assistants”. These assistants were very active in social organizations of workers, and they could help to promote good social structure in various organizations for the wellbeing of many people. Other brothers have been active in the pastoral care for students at the catholic university of Louvain and after the 1st world war and also at the state university of Gent. The book therefore has a remarkable  exploration of Fr. L.J. Callewaert, who for many years was an inspiring person  in this apostolate, and had been a famous preacher who also promoted  Flemish cultural identity.

Not forgetting the work of the province in Congo (started in 1911) an article in the book remembers the very dramatic moments of this presence in November 1964, when 10 brothers of the province and 9 sisters of the Congregation of the Dominican sisters of Namur were murdered by  rebels in the  Congo mission.

The Vicar Vice-provincial, Marcel Braekers, concludes the book by an article on perspectives for the Dominican life in 2016. He knows that the actual time does not promise much, but he says that we must believe in “the strength of the future”..

Information on the book  « Predikbroeders in woord en daad. Dominicanen in Vlaanderen in de twintigste eeuw. Redactie: Mathijs Lamberigts, Mark De Caluwe, Anton Milh, 336 pages, édited by Halewijn, 2050  Antwerpen (België) 


(9 December 2016)