Tilburg, October 6, 2018 – On Friday, October 5, 2018, a festive symposium was held in honour of Brother Caesarius Mommers (1925-2007) at the Jan van Besouw Cultural Centre in Goirle, the Netherlands.
Reading Father of the Netherlands and Flanders
Brother Caesarius Mommers is also called the ‘Reading Father of the Netherlands and Flanders’. In 1958, he started with the development of the reading method Learning to read safely. Brother Caesarius Mommers was commemorated because with his reading method and his publications of 280 books and articles he has meant a lot for reading education in the Netherlands and Flanders. So far 10 million children have learned to read with his method.
Ger Jansen, former director of Zwijsen Publishers, described Brother Caesarius during the symposium as ‘a modest method-maker’, someone who managed to bind people to himself in a very disarming way and someone who did not let himself be led by the fact that he had made the best reading method in the Netherlands.
Sjak Rutten, who will defend his doctoral dissertation on Brother Caesarius in 2019, told that the strength of the method of Brother Caesarius lay in the fact that as a religious brother he could spend a lot of time developing his method, but also that his new vision was scientifically sound and came at the right time.
A touching moment took place when the famous Dutch writer Ivo de Wijs spoke. He was a pupil in 6th grade with Brother Fulgens Brugmans in Tilburg and it was Brother Fulgens who encouraged Ivo to write and recite. As a writer and entertainer Ivo at a later age became friends with Brother Fulgens in Amsterdam. Grateful for the beautiful story Ivo de Wijs told about the language and arithmetic education Ivo had received from the brothers in Tilburg, Brother Jan Koppens, the Provincial Superior of the Brothers CMM in the Netherlands, gave him a painting created by Brother Fulgens.
The symposium was attended by many co-workers of Brother Caesarius who in one way or another as writer, illustrator, researcher or publisher have contributed or still contribute to the most successful Dutch reading method. Eight of his fellow brothers were also present, including three former Superiors General: the Brothers Wim Verschuren, Harrie van Geene and Broer Huitema. They were the ones who gave Brother Caesarius the opportunity during their terms of office to develop his talents to the full for the youth.
Brother Edward Gresnigt