Fr. Charles dies
Belgium priest says final farewell to Dominica, a country where he lived for 60 years
Fr. Charles Vermeulen C.Ss.R. died on Monday, December 4th 2016, said a statement from Rev. Rodney J. Olive C.Ss.R, the Regional Superior of Redemptorist Missionaries in the English Caribbean Region.
"Charles, your life is part of a living story, God grant you a missionary's blessing, God grant you the joy and peace that comes with a life of commitment and love," wrote Fr Olive in an obituary.
In the statement, Fr Olive said Fr. Charles Vermeulen C.Ss.R. was born on 14 January 1931 in Ouwegem, Belgium, the sixteenth child of his parents.
He attended Ouwegem Primary School, he attended Secondary School at the Redemptorist Juvenate in Essen, Belgium. He entered the Redemptorist Novitiate at St. Truiden, Belgium on 15 August 1951, and was professed on 15 September 1952. Fr. Charles studied Philosophy in Beauplateau, Belgium from 1952-1954. Fr. Charles did his theological studies in Louvain, Belgium from 1954-1958. Fr. Charles was ordained to the Priesthood in 1957.
The Redemptorist Missionaries came to Dominica in 1903, to help fulfill Christ mission to spread the Good News. In 1959, Fr. Charles Vermeulen C.Ss.R., a young Redemptorist Missionary was told by his provincial superior in Belgium that he was being sent to the island of Dominica to join other Redemptorist Missionaries.
Fr. Charles celebrated mass with his family in their parish church, and then made a one day trip to the port to catch the boat to the nature island. These were days when traveling was not so simple. Fr. Charles had to travel to South Hampton, England; then he traveled for 11 days to the island of Dominica.
He arrived at 12 midnight and was greeted by small boats that took him to the city of Roseau. Fr. Lamote and Fr. Bergman was there to welcome him to a whole new world and way of life.
His missionary life would take him to the islands of St. Kitts, Anguilla, and Antigua. However, Dominica would be where he would spend almost 60 years of his life. He embraced the people of Dominica with a love that comes from the heart, they became his people.
The struggle, the hopes and the challenges of the people became his. Every corner of our country has been touched by his love and care. Fr. Charles has preached the Gospel, has worked to help build many of the churches we worship in, and has taught in our schools. When Dominica was ravaged by a devastating hurricane, he stepped up and played a key role in the reconstruction of the country.
"We are often reminded that actions speak the truth that is deep within our hearts," Olive continued. "Fr. Charles has for decades spoken a language of love through his actions. With honor and dignity, he fulfilled his mission and commitment to the people and Church in Dominica".
He added: "God looked and gave us a priceless gift, who is Fr. Charles. We praise God for this priceless gift, as he embraces a final missionary journey, to be with God in heaven".