A lot of biographies were written about V. Scheppers. The first one was written by the Redemptorist Hector Nimal. He was given this task immediately after the decease of V. Scheppers in 1877 and it was based upon the testimonies of Brothers and old students.
Mgr. Scheppers by H. Nimal - 1906
The biography only appeared in 1906 and it especially accentuated the merits of V. Scheppers as a priest, founder of the Brother and of the Sister congregation and benefactor of the 19th century community.
A lot of Brothers have based themselves later upon Nimal’ s for instance in periodicals for old students. Some authors also corrected a few things. The tone of the articles was one of great admiration and gratitude because of the exceptional performances of .V.Scheppers.
Like a Cedar of the Libanon by Steven De Broey - 1964
In 1964 Steven Debroey wrote a biography destined for a larger public and based upon the lecture of thousands of documents out of the 19th century, especially letters.
Till 2001 the pupils received this book. It throws light upon a few episodes out of the life of V. Scheppers. With a great imagination Debroey outlined a devoted and sociable priest.
He also brought back a few aspects out of the life of V. Scheppers to human proportions and also showed a few shady sides of his personality. Debroey outlines Scheppers as the founder of a Brother and sister congregation who didn’t care about his forces or his financial possibilities. But, he expected submission and humility from his Brothers.
He also enjoyed the honour and the recognition that ecclesiastical and civil governments gave him and he left no stone unturned to fulfill the function of general Superior continually and to choose his assistants himself and this without elections.
Beatification was asked for
Until then, the Church didn’t see any motive in the course of V. Scheppers’ life to declare him holy or beatify him. The initiatives that were taken since his death with a view of this beatification were diversified. They indeed led to taking care of all documents about V. Scheppers life and his worship.
In 1928 the beatification of V. Scheppers was asked for in Rome and in Mechelen the first investigations took place. After many years of silence the case was taken seriously again in 1964-1965.
VITORIS SCHEPPERS - 1982
In connection with the new investigation Brother Richard was charged with the preparation of a “Positio super Virtutibus”. The result of this many years’ work are two volumes with documents and summarizing surveys about the different aspects of Scheppers ’life and about the activities of the congregation till the year 1877.
After a detailed investigation V. Scheppers was declared “respectable” on March 17th 1987 by Pope Joahnnes Paulus II. The documents brought together by Brother Richard are of an extreme significance for the knowledge of Scheppers’ life and of his foundations.
Nevertheless, they do not completely satisfy the contemporary reader. Everything is namely concentrated upon the religious values in V. Scheppers’ life. Documents and comments have been selected from this viewpoint. They were also translated in French for publication, while lots of original texts were set in The Dutch language of the 19th century.
An ampler situation of the figure V. Scheppers, please
In spite of their restrictions, the here mentioned publications are a rich source of information in which – unless it is mentioned differently – this draught of V. Scheppers’ life, and the foundation of the Brother congregation and of the activities of the Brothers in the starting period was based.
New source research and especially a larger situation of V. Scheppers’ figure in his historical context would undoubtedly have meant a greater richness about our knowledge of a social and prosperous priest, about the activities of a Brother congregation and about the social and cultural life in the 19th Century.
Source: SCHEPPERS, OUR SCHOOL by An Hermans, printed in 2002