In Memoriam: Brother Eric Vandenbroucke, C.F.X.
Brother Eric Vandenbroucke peacefully entered eternal life on November 14, 2023. He was a member of the Xaverian community living at Herdershove, a residence for the elderly sponsored by the Sisters of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Herdershove is located on the outskrits of Bruges, Belgium.
Brother Eric was born May 16, 1935 in Bruges where as a young man he came to know the Xaverian Brothers. Responding to God’s call to live a life of love, faith, and trust as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the Xaverian Congregation, Eric entered the novitiate in Torhout in 1952 where he received the Xaverian habit and religious name Brother Siegfried. After novitiate, Eric did his professional studies in Leuven earning his degree in science and technology. Brother professed his perpetual vows on August 15, 1960. In March 2023, Brother celebrated his 71st anniversary as a Xaverian. As a young Brother, Eric was engaging, a thinker curious about many things, and a very dedicated educator. I first met Brother in 1971 at the community living in Sint-Michiels. All of Brother’s educational ministry took place in Belgium.
Eric experienced serious orthopedic issues causing debilitating pain. As a follower of Jesus, Eric encountered the suffering Christ and embraced the cross given to him with the grace of long-suffering and perseverance. Despite many operations, his conditions never improved. Often upon greeting Eric, one was hesitant to ask him how he was doing knowing his health was worsening.
Day by day, Brother, you will need to renew your response.
Do not become discouraged over the difficulties you encounter.
At times it was obvious Eric was indeed discouraged. Nevertheless, he embraced the cross given to him, remaining faithful to his original call to follow Christ in the suffering of His passion and death. May Eric now enjoy the peace, love, and fullness of the Christ’s paschal mystery. May Brother Eric rest in the peace of the Lord and become an advocate for all who suffer physical and emotional pain.
Prepared by Brother Edward Driscoll, C.F.X.