On March 14, 1963 my most favorite Great-Uncle and Priest, Dr. Sjang Nelissen (brother from my paternal Grandmother) or in Dutch 'Heeroom', wrote the following words for me in my (poezie) poetry album:
Lijk op de Zon,
Look like the Sun, ☼
Straal licht en warmte uit,
Radiate light and warmth,
Altijd en overal,
Always and everywhere,
Waar ge ook zijt.
Wherever you will be.
Horst, 14 maart, 1963
Horst, March 14, 1963
Heeroom became a priest in 1929 and he studied Church Law in Rome. This photo shows him, to the right, in Rome.
For 4 years he had been a professor at the seminary but that asked too much of him. In 1938 he left for Indonesia where he stayed a total of 30 years, in Kupang on the island of Timor. He was a pastor, spiritual head of the seminary, leader for the regio Timor and adviser to several Bishops. He died in Manilla, Philippines, while at a conference there. Heeroom did marry my parents in 1949 while on his first leave from Indonesia. Times were tough for Priests at that time, they were not allowed to go home soon; nor often... Kind of cruel I think.
How I would have loved to speak with him, while ending up working and living in Indonesia; HIS country. But in my heart I know that he has been with me very close, always.
|Heeroom on his horse in Indonesia|
How I longed for his letters with beautiful stamps that I did study with a magnifier. I was so in love with Indonesia's flora and fauna. Heeroom must have lead me there...
While on his leave from Indonesia for the Second Vatican Council in Rome, Italy, he did write this message in my poetry album. He also presented me with a special gift, as a thank you for all those years that I'd written letters to him. That was a package with Second Vatican Council stamps for my collection. I have no idea where they are now... I've always lovingly passed everything on to my siblings and thus I lost them. Hope that someone is still keeping them as they were very special.
|Heeroom's Dutch Memoriam Card.|
Certainly Heeroom was a male role model for me and I guess I inherited his love for languages and writing... So far, I've followed him to two countries as well: Italy where we worked and lived for one year, speaking the language and Indonesia where we lived and worked for about three years, speaking the language. Even adopting a foster daughter from his beloved country...