Father Joseph (Sjef) Donders, M.Afr. became a member of USCMA in 1988. He receieved USCMA’s Mission Award during our 2003 Mission Conference, “Mission and Transformation: Our Mission of Solidarity in a Globalized World” in Milwaukee, WI. He was a brilliant missiologist and actively involved in teaching and serving parishes in the Washington, DC area for many years. He certainly lived as he taught and those of us who knew him will always remember his example of living out the Gospel.
Fr. John Lynch, M.Afr. paid tribute to Fr. Donders and recalled a reflection by Fr. Donders himself in which he wrote, “Jesus lived His Life inviting us to share His intention and His Spirit. It is the way He asks us to carry our cross in the way He did. The final victory will be His and ours!” We share Fr. John Lynch’s sentiment and prayer that, “he now enjoys that victory, as he remained and very much lived out his missionary commitment.”
From the Africa Faith and Justice Network:
Aged 83, of which 56 were spent as missionary in Italy, Kenya, the United States of America and the Netherlands, Missionary of Africa father Joseph (Sjef) Donders, and First Executive Director of Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), died Thursday, March 7, 2013 in the hospital at Maastricht, Netherlands. He was born in Tilburg Netherlands, began his Spiritual year with the Missionaries of Africa September 15, 1952, took the Oath in the Society July 24, 1956 in ‘sheerenberg and was ordained priest May 16, 1957 in Galashiels, Scotland. Following his ordination he did advanced studies in theology and philosophy in Rome, Italy.
He taught Philosophy and theology first at the Missionary of Africa Philosophy House, ‘Saint Charles’ in Esch, Netherlands; then at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and at the Washington Theological Union in Washington DC. He was delegate to their General Chapter of Renewal, Rome in 1967 and was delegate again in 1980. Fr. Donders served as Provincial Councillor, Netherlands and Chaplain at the University of Nairobi Kenya. In 1984 he was appointed the First Executive Director AFJN, Washington, DC. He retired to the Netherlands in 2010 with residence at Heythuysen and returned to the Lord on March 7, 2013. May God’s Eternal Light shine upon him and may his good works accompany him.