The Council of the Dutch Vincentian Fathers, CM
法国Vincent de Paul神父（1581-1660）非常关心贫困和受苦的人，因此他建立了两个修会：遣使会和仁爱修女会，以解救贫穷者的需要和痛苦。他们中许多人被派遣到中国。在1850年至1950年间，荷兰遣使会神父共派出约一百位，为服务中国穷人的需要，其中正定教区15人。他们把爱完全奉献给了中国人民。在中国经历了许多的磨难与牺牲，有不少人在年轻的时候就死于斑疹伤害和黄热病。Antoon的兄弟Joseph Geerts神父在中国仅仅四年就于1899年去世。他在荷兰的父亲听到这个噩耗之后，深深的叹了口气说：“现在我们家没有人能代替Joseph了”。他的大儿子Antoon回答说：“好吧！亲爱的父亲，让我去吧！”。于是很快到了中国，并接替了他弟弟Joseph的地方。Antoon是在1937年文致和主教、Gerard Wouters、以及其它六人一起被杀害的。
Dutch Vincentian Fathers the Netherlands Panningen October 2014
To the organizations and participants of the Conferencee on the murder of bishop Frans Schrave c. m. and eight companions in Zhengding,
Shijiazhuang. October 28 – 29 2014.
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
The Douth province of the Vincentian Fathers is glad and grateful as well, that his conference pays attention to the atrocious murder of bishop Frans Schraven cm and six confreres, one Trapist and one layman, 77 years ago in Zhending, China, October 9th 1937.
These martyrs had the courage to sacrifice their own lives for the safely of a few thousands young women, who were in danger because of the invasion of hostile foreign soldiers. If these missionaries would have, they could have chosen for their own safety by returning to their homeland, and leaving the frighten women to their own devices.
The courageous witness of bishop Frans Schraven and his confreres have revealed the very nature and true intentions of their mission and work in China in particular as well of the Catholic Church in general throughout the ages.
Jesus gave his apostles and the church the task to go everywhere in the world to bear witness in profession and practice of God’s love for all mankind, without any exception of person, country, culture or race. The love of God has no boundaries. That’s why throughout the ages Christian missionaries wandered all over the world to bring the Good Gospel in all kinds of love and service: education, healthcare, teaching, science, agriculture and so forth.
The French priest Vincent de Paul (1581 - 1660) was so concerned about the poverty and sufferings of the people, that he founded two religious congregations, the Vincent Fathers (Lazarists) and the Daughters of Charity, to ease their needs and pain. Many of them were sent to China. During the time between 1850 and 1950 the Duth Province of the Vincentian Fathers has sent about one hundred members to serve the poor and needy in China. Fifteen of them in this Diocese of Zhengding. Their love and dedication to the Chinese people was overwhelming. However, live in China was for many a real sacrifice. Not few of them died at a young age because of typhus or yellow fever. So did father Joseph Geerts, the brother of Antoon, who died already after only four years in China 1899. His father in the Netherlands, after hearing this horrible news, made a deep sigh and said: “ now there’s nobody anymore in our family who can replace Joseph:! Then his oldest son Antoon replied: “Well, dear father, let me go!” so Antoon Geeerts arrived a short time later in China to take over the place of his young brother Joseph. Antoon was murder in 1937 together with bishop Frans Schraven, father Gerard Wouters and six others.
The Council of the Dutch Vincentian Fathers is very grateful that this conference in China on the tragic murder is organized in order not to forget their heroic death for safeguarding the lives of many young Chinese women. Their courageous behavior is an authentic witness of their great love for the Chinese people and their culture. The Catholic church actually every Christian, is striving for peace and happiness of all mankind under the blessing of God, who in China so meaningfully is called. The Lord of heaven, Thian –ju.
May the blessings of the Lord of heaven rest on this conference and on all of you, who participate.