The Netherlands and Belgium
We currently have three communities in the Netherlands and Belgium, outside the Generalate. That is much less than in the past, because of the reduced number of brothers, many communities have been closed. However, we have not only demolished or transferred houses, but fortunately we have also been able to open some new communities. We want to consciously continue to work on the future of religious life here.
Community Joannes Zwijsen (Tilburg)
Next to the administrative center of the congregation (the Generalate) is the residential care facility which is named after our founder. Among other functions, it offers shelter to the Joannes Zwijsen community, in which our elderly brothers are living and – if needed – receive nursing care.
The communities of the Generalate and of Joannes Zwijsen have been built on ‘holy ground’ since in the past this was the location of the mother house of the Brothers CMM. Indeed, it was there that in 1844 the congregation was started, and from where many of our apostolic activities were launched.
Community Eleousa (Vught)
The name ‘Eleousa’ is derived from a Greek word which means: the merciful one. The members of the Eleousa Community are, among other things, intimately involved in the activities of the retreat and formation center ‘ZIN’, which is located next to it. They also support the Dutch Movement of Mercy whose secretariat is located in the community.
Retreat center ZIN originated from the desire of the Brothers CMM to give their brother house ‘Huize Steenwijk’ in Vught a new destination, appropriate to their spiritual tradition. They saw that in the Netherlands there was a real gap in the relationship between work, meaning of life and spirituality. The retreat center has become an inspirational place where people talk about the personal and social significance of work. In addition, the retreat center is reserved each summer for two weeks for families who do not have the financial means to go on vacation. The brothers of the Eleousa community organize together with volunteers a four day program for them with various activities.
Community St. Jan Berchmans (Zonhoven)
The first community of Brothers CMM in Belgium was founded in Maaseik in 1851. Later branches followed in Hasselt, Houthalen, Lanaken, and Zonhoven. The CMM Region Belgium was discontinued on August 1, 2012, due to the sharply declining number of brothers. Since then the brothers in Belgium fall directly under the General Board.
The last Belgian brothers moved in early 2013 to the residential care facility ‘Het Dorpvelt’ in Zonhoven. This centre grew in the garden of their old brotherhouse, where the community of St. Jan Berchmans was located.