Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy

Only a few official documents and letters have been found about the youth and childhood of V. Scheppers.

The domestic situation of Victor

A youth portrait of Victor Scheppers

His first biographer Nimal, describes, according the ideals of the end of the 19th century, his mother Scheppers-Estrix as a dedicated woman who raised her children herself.

Nimal describes the youth of V. Scheppers as a model story, but doesn’t make use of any source. The family had indeed resident servants but we don’t know if a nurse was also included.

No documents are known by or about mother Scheppers. Only from a few letters coming from other members of the family, we can presume that carefulness, severity and tenderness were very important. Piety and devotion to the holy Mary, were expressed in a generous liberality with respect to “O-L-Vrouw van Hanswijk. 

Studies and mourning

No notions are given by any of the biographers about eventual private tuition. It is accepted that V. Scheppers went to the “Begijnenschool” and also to the school of the priest Moons at the parish of Saint John.

When he was 12 years old, he received Holy Communion for the first time, as it was usual those days, and later on he was enrolled in the school of J.B. Verlooy, a late oratorical person who had opened a private school, first in the “Begijnenstraat”, later on in the Saint - Johnstreet. 

When V. Scheppers went to the Saint Joseph College in “Aalst” in 1818 to study humanities, his family had already had a lot of tragedies. Victor lost his sister Jeanne in 1813, his mother in 1815 and his sister Catherine in 1817. His father was left alone with two sons, Victor and Joseph.

In the Swaen

Father of Victor Scheppers

When Joseph married in 1818, Corneel Scheppers left the house and the brewery in the Saint- Catherinestreet to the young family. Together with his youngest son he moved into a house near the market place. Until his death in 1841 the house “In the Swaen” became the sally port for all his activities, such as in the town hall of Mechelen or in the provincial government of Antwerp.

To the seminary

At the age of 23 in 1825, V. Scheppers decided to become a priest, although it is not clear why he waited until 1830 to become a seminarist. Nimal thought it was his father who opposed to the vocation of his son; but Debroey emphasized family circumstances, especially the political situation. Under the Dutch government, Belgian seminaries remained closed for a long time.

The shutting of the seminaries was abolished by the Dutch Government in 1829. V. Scheppers belonged to the first group of seminarists who became priest after the Belgian independency, especially on April 13th,,1832. He was the first ordinand of the recently appointed archbishop Engelbert Sterckx.

Source: SCHEPPERS, OUR SCHOOL by An Hermans, printed in 2002