Dietze L. C. M. van Hoesel
We will always remember Dietze as a loving mother and grandmother. She did not enjoy an easy life. Her parents were poor, and as the eldest of nine children she carried many responsibilities from an early age. In 1933 she married father, which grew out into a life-long and happy relationship. Both left for Java in Indonesia where father found a post as principal of a school. During World War II, while father was taken to Thailand to work on the infamous railway line, she spent four years with her four eldest children in a Japanese prisoners-of-war camp. She survived through sheer willpower.
Mother possessed a deep faith. However, she did not accept things uncritically. She followed theological and spiritual developments with great interest. She was firmly convinced of the equality of men and women, and felt shocked and betrayed by the way women were treated in the Church.
On more than one occasion this led to open conflict. When I was born, the hospital chaplain at first refused to give her communion, because she had not yet been "churched" which was the custom at the time. She was told, she would needed to be purified first. Mother, who was a daily communicant, took great exception to this, protesting and arguing till she was given communion. I have just given birth to a child, she said. Why does that need purification?!
This was characteristic in her life. Without formal theological training, she knew what was right and what was wrong. When priests showed prejudice against women in their sermons, mother would challenge them and not give in to bully tactics.
The full recognition of women in the Church through their receiving full sacramental Holy Orders, was something mother always longed for. -- May she rest in peace!
John (Hans) Wijngaards
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