And more from Mabou

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A little more information on Brother Gregory Van Buuren and the Brothers of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows nearly 40-year presence in Nova Scotia…

First, a Dutch news-clipping from 1958, and then a little info about the years in Mabou, and finally some info regarding the picture of Henk, the young man who sexually abused by Brother Gregory in Holland and then castrated:

(1) The news clipping

Below is a 22 July 1958 news clipping and an unofficial translation:

(note: is this the year of Henk’s death)

Title: [Religious] Brothers of our Lady of 7 Sorrows

Subtitle: Two new foundations

Seven brothers of the [the congregation of] Our Lady of Seven Sorrows left for Maasdam on the 25th of July [1958]. Four of them will establish a novitiate for Canadian candidates [for their order] in Mabou, Nova Scotia. Three brothers will add to the contingent of 5 brothers who give leadership at a technical school in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Both initiatives will be under the leadership of Brother Pius. The noviate will be led by brother Bruno.

The congregation of our Lady of Seven Sorrows was established in 1851 in Amsterdam by priest Hessveld and Father A. Frentrop. Through this outreach to Canada, it is hoped new Canadian recruits will join in order to more effectively respond to the increasing demands and needs in the areas of education and child rearing.

This need is especially high for their mission in New Guinea and on the Kei islands where 29 brothers give leadership to agricultural schools, technical schools and other (could be teachers’ training).

The Congregation which already has 250 professed members in the Netherlands is increasing in numbers in the Netherlands as well. At this time, the congregation has 12 sites (houses) with attached technical schools, primary schools or other (teacher or other training).

A student residence (most likely translation of “studie huis” although other translations may apply). in Geldrop will be opened this October. The building of a preliminary technical school in Wolvega is in the final stages of preparation.

Note that according to this article four of the seven brothers headed for Canada in 1958 were to establish a novitiate in Mabou, Nova Scotia.  Previous information has the brothers purchasing land in Mabou in 1960.  This article shows that plans for a presence in Mabou were well under way in 1958, and that the intent at that time was  to establish a novitiate.  I may be mistaken but do get the impression that the brothers were in Mabou in 1958?  The purchase of the land must have come later?

Also, note reference to the five brothers already in New Glasgow.  Prior media reports indicate that four brothers arrived in 1956, and seven or eight more in 1957, for a total of 12.  Had some brothers left? or, is there a possibility that there is an error in dates and the seven said to have arrived in 1958 are actually this contingent which arrived in 1958?

Finally, note that there is reference here to a Brother Pius as the brother in charge of the Canadian contingent, and a Brother Bruno as the the brother in charge of the novitiate in Mabou.  Bother are new names.

(2)  More on the the years in Mabou

I continue to contact persons who may be able to provide further information regarding Brother Gregory and the brothers years.  Here is what I have been told

(i) The older women working at Mary’s Hill Home (the home for the mentally challenged) used to tell staff that Brother Gregory had been caught fondling one of the male residents of the home.  After that Brother Gregory was not allowed into the home and his keys for the gate were taken from him (apparently at one time there was a large gate outside the home which was kept locked.  It was the key to this gate which was taken from Brother Gregory) I have not talked to anyone as yet who personally witnessed this incident;

(ii)  There was a young 16- year old boy, a resident of the home, who loved to run – and when he ran he was always found over at the shrine’s gift shop with Brother Gregory;

(iii) Brother Raymond, who taught at the school,  and Brother Lawrence, who worked in the home, both left to marry.  I was told by some sources that they were dead, but apparently they are both still alive;

(iv)  I was previously told by one contact that when the brothers arrived they were given animals to stock the farm.  I have since been told by another source that there are those who recall Brother Gregory walking onto a property, picking out the animals he liked and expecting that they be given, i.e:  “I like that calf there.  I like that cow over there”;

(v)  Brother Teddy Vander Putt (sp) worked on the farm.  He didn’t want to go back to Holland when the brothers left.  He left the brothers and stayed in Mabou.  He is still alive;

(vi)  There are some people in the community saying it’s disgraceful what people are saying about Brother Gregory because the man is dead;

(vii)  There were at least 46 residents at Mary’s Hill

(viii)  Mary’s Hill Home closed when there was move away from institutionalized care to small group homes and integration of the mentally handicapped into the community;

(ix) Those residents who were able to go were taken to Mass at St. Mary’s Church.

(3) Henk’s picture

I had a picture posted which was supposed to be Henk  Heithius.  It was taken from a Dutch newspaper.  I was contacted by a woman who said that the picture was not Henk, but was in fact Henk’s brother.  I in turn asked for and was sent the picture which is now posted in the Brother Gregory Van Buuren page.  That cute little fellow at the front, second from the left, is Henk.

This person also directed me to this video which is now posted on the site.  It is in Dutch but has English subtitles.

I have another longer Dutch article and translation to post.  I will get that done later today.


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1 Response to And more from Mabou

  1. Lona Hegeman, Yellowknife, NWT says:

    This wikipedia-posting may have been originally written in German and may be the reason the English language translation needs some deciphering. But the castration victim is emerging from the shadows. Henk Heithuis – you still speak loudly!

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