We regret to announce the death at the Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, the Netherlands on 21st March 2012, at the age of 88, of
Fr Jan Leijen
May he rest in Peace
Fr Jan (Joannes) Leijen was born on 5th May 1923 at Akersloot in the Diocese of Haarlem, the Netherlands. He was the son of Peter Leijen and Anna Schut, and had four brothers and six sisters. He received his secondary education in the Mill Hill Colleges of Hoorn and Haelen from 1937 to 1943. From 1944 to 1945 he studied Philosophy in Haelen. He studied Theology at Roosendaal from 1945 to 1946 on account of the war. In 1946 he continued his studies in Theology at St Joseph’s College Mill Hill, London, where he took his Perpetual Oath on 15th May 1949, and was ordained priest on 9th July 1950.
After his ordination Jan was appointed to the Diocese of Kisumu in Kenya, where he spent many years in the remote mission of Port Victoria. Illness forced him to come on sick leave to the Netherlands in 1972. He returned briefly to Kisumu in 1973 before being granted permission to undertake pastoral ministry in Loudervielle in the Pyrenees, France. In 1975 he went to Suriname and worked there till 1979. In 1980 he took up an appointment to the Diocese of Buea in Cameroon. He left Cameroon in 1998 for the Netherlands. Soon after his return to his native country he found a place as a chaplain in a Caritas Home for the elderly at Geldern, Germany, before retiring to “Missiehuis Vrijland” in 2008.
Fr Jan Leijen was a missionary in Kenya, France, Suriname, Cameroon, Germany and the Netherlands. He encountered different and diverse situations demanding an openness to adapt to new circumstances. It was noted that he was not slow to challenge what he did not agree with, but he was commended for his faith, dedication and sincerity in his work. His language skills served him well during his missionary life. Health issues disrupted his life and work a number of times, but did not prevent him from serving the people entrusted to him to the best of his abilities.
Fr Jan Leijen died at 10.50 am this morning at the Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem. The funeral mass will take place at “Missiehuis Vrijland” on Tuesday 27th March at 11.00am followed by burial at the Mill Hill cemetery in Oosterbeek,
The previous obituary (5/2012) was that of Br Herman Steffens, who died at Almelo, the Netherlands on 17th March 2012
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