A school composition out of the year 1939 tells us about the celebration of the congregation’s centenary.
One hundred years
"It is already one hundred years ago that the Congregation of the Brothers “Our Lady of Mercy” was founded. It is also one hundred years ago that Monsignor V. Scheppers founded his noble, humble and hopeful work."
“And today: how happy can he look down upon his children, his faithful followers who went in his foot-mark, who followed his wise advices and holy precepts; those who give their best forces to the youth’s education, and this in different countries.”
The morning of the celebration
“Yes, that’s why a new psalm can be intoned; that really deserves a magnificent feast!
We were awakened at 6.30 AM; as usual as every day; the only difference was that it was half an hour later!
Our Sunday clothes were the first outward proof of the celebration that morning; but the inner sign had already been in us for a long time. Three solemn days excited our heart and our spirit during we had prayed ardently.
Already on Sunday the reverent Chaplain had attracted our attention to the significance of the centenary.”
"The first thing we attempted to that morning was to take a look at the playground and I just saw them busy to put out the last flag. The others already waved in the wind and on both sides of the gigantic portrait of Monsignor Scheppers the fresh colours of all the countries where the Brothers had settled down, were flapping as well.
In the mean time, there was a ring and the curious heads almost went backwards to the chapel. The chapel! Let me tell you: here, you feel home, even with her daily ornament, it provokes tenderness, and deep devotion. And now! How exquisite and still sober ornamented! Already when entering, you could immediately see who they celebrated today: Monsignor Scheppers...."
For the sake of clearness, the image and the ideals of the founder have been permanently pointed out in schooling and in education. Young people were talked to about putting their life in the sign of a complete devotion to God and to their nearest.
In the “Juvenaat” and afterwards in the educational school in Alsemberg, youth got the interest for monastery life, their first cultivation. In a brochure, destined for the recruitment of the congregation’s members, youth was spoken to as follows:
"You Flemish boy, who takes this book in your hand, don’t put it aside with contempt. This is not a story about a film star, neither about a hero from a football field or from a European race circuit…”
Out of the recruitment brochure
“Although, I think to know that you can become interested in other things than only in those one day celebrities. You like to read the descriptions of the patriotic heroes’ lives; you like to be carried away by the general enthousiasm of celebrating all kinds of great men especially in the field of virtue, art, industry and neighbour love..
Well young friend, I only demand one hour of your attention to make the acquaintance of a man who deserves his place in our democratic time amongst those who played most to relieve the fate of the poorest, to educate and to school children, as well the poor as the richer.
And as the year 1939 is the centenary of his exceptional foundation, it is beseemed that the Brothers of our holy Lady of Mercy honour this man who accomplished such a great job, Admiration is born out of knowledge: so, make the acquaintance of Monsignor Scheppers!
Even more: try to follow him in his ardour, in his charity, especially if you should feel the urge to devote your life and all your forces to his honourable works- in honour of God and in favourite of your nearest..”
Source: SCHEPPERS, OUR SCHOOL by An Hermans, printed in 2002