Tradition in education
Being Scheppers schools, we carry on our name with one and a half century of educational tradition. The title points out to a very emotional young man from the 19th century. An acquaintance with his life and with the work of our founder explains what kind of apostolic basic inspiration and social movements have put on to the worldwide organization of valuable education. This short history also gives the reader the opportunity to see the remarkable educational tradition of which we are part of. For those who want further information about the historical figure of V. Scheppers, they’d better read De Ceder of the Libanon (this book is available in each Scheppers school).
Victor Scheppers was born in Mechelen the 25th of the year 1802; he was the youngest of four children out of very wealthy parents. The family had also a lot of reverse; when he was about 13 years old, he lost his mother and two sisters. Victor goes to school in Mechelen and in Aalst.
He wants to give his life for the use of God and his fellow-men; so he chooses to become a priest. The 13th of April 1832 he is ordained as priest in Mechelen. His apostolic device is: Honor Deo, labor mihi, utilitias proximo: Honour to God, the work for me and my fellow-man gets the use.
Noon school and Sunday school
Moved by the poverty, the analphabetism and the vulnerability of his fellow-men, he decides to found the first noon school and Sunday school in 1835. There, working men and artisans get education and formation. V. Scheppers encourages them because he knows they’ll never get any education. He also teaches youngsters who want to learn something after their job.
Victor Scheppers is appointed as canon in the Cathedral of Mechelen and takes care there of the religious lessons. In 1839 he found his first convent community: The Brothers of our Holy Mary of Mercy. Besides lots of efforts in teaching, he’s attracted a lot to help the prisoners. And thus his community becomes active in the prisons of Vilvoorde, Aalst, Gent and Saint-Hubert.
In 1851 he founds a community for sisters: The Sisters of Our Holy Mary of Mercy. They are especially involved in infant education and in lace work.
From Rome – and later also from London - it is asked to help in prisons, especially the young delinquents, but also in orphanages and in schools. Thus, the first annexes of the congregation are founded.
In 1856 V. Scheppers receives the title of Monsignor. The 7th of March 1877 his very active and social moved life takes an end; he dies in Mechelen after a long disease.
After his death, the Brothers of Scheppers also move to Argentina, Burundi, Canada, Great-Britain, Italy, The Netherlands, Rwanda, Spain and Uruguay. At the same time, the number of Scheppers schools extends a lot.
In 1987 Pope Giovanni Paulus II nominates V. Scheppers to respectable.