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Sisters of ‘t Ketrientje

boz - 0478 Foto Archief Bergen op Zoom - Franciscanessen van Huize Sint Catharina, 1917

Zusters van ‘t Ketrientje

Annelies van Heijst en Dolly Verhoeven

Uitgeverij Vantilt

ISBN 9789460041464

The Franciscans of Bergen op Zoom, or the Sisters of ‘t Ketrientje, have a long tradition of providing care. In 1838, they started in the Algemeen Burgerlijk Gasthuis, where they cared for the sick and infirm of various faiths. From 1857, they also took care of orphans, and in 1882 they also started caring for the elderly. They did so in the St. Catharinagesticht, which also housed their congregation’s mother house. The sisters were also active outside Bergen op Zoom. In 1933, far beyond the Dutch borders, they started a mission in Soekaboemie on Java. During the war years, twelve of the mission sisters were in a Japanese camp there. After Indonesia became independent, the foreign branch of the congregation increasingly stood on its own two feet, and in 1996 it also became formally independent.
In the past 175 years, nearly 400 women committed themselves for life to this sister congregation. In the 21st century, the congregation is ageing, like other religious congregations in the West. Although the Sisters do not like to be the centre of attention, they are featured in this book and Bergen residents tell about them. This brings to life what generations of Sisters of ‘t Ketrientje have done since 1838 and what they have meant to the church and society.