iDA PEERDEMAN — The Visionary of Amsterdam
Biography by Fr. Paul Maria Sigl, 2005
Ida at the age of two
Childhood and Youth
On August 13, 1905, Ida Peerdeman is born in Alkmaar, Holland, as the youngest of five children. There is a nice episode recounting this, for on the same day Gesina, her eldest sister, celebrates her birthday. She has wanted a new doll for a long time, and so her father guides her into the bedroom where her mother is lying with the newborn baby, Ida. Gesina understands, and stamps her foot in protest, complaining, “I don’t want a doll like that! I wanted a real doll!”
The Church of St. Joseph in Alkmaar
At the little one’s baptism in the parish church, St. Joseph, she is given the name Isje Johanna, but she will always be called just Ida.
Shortly before World War I the Peerdeman family moves to Amsterdam. Ida is just eight years old when, after giving birth, her thirty-five-year-old mother dies along with the child. Following this great sorrow which deeply affects everyone, the oldest sister, Gesina, has to give up her wish of becoming a nurse.
Only sixteen years old, she strives hard to be a good mother for her three sisters and her brother Piet. Since the father, a textile salesman, is often on business trips throughout the Netherlands, she must try to hold her family together.
They treasure their family life at home all the more. Ida especially loves being together with her brother Piet, who understands her, with whom she can speak, and who consoles her when she is sad. As a Catholic family they attend Holy Mass on Sunday and they pray before meals, but that is all.
In her childhood, Ida goes to the Dominican church every weekend for confession with Fr. Frehe, who will later become her spiritual director.
Her life continues like this for several years, until October 13, 1917.
On this memorable Saturday afternoon in the month of the Holy Rosary, also the day of the miracle of the sun in Fatima, something amazing happens on her way home from her weekly confession.