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Funeral Address

Given by His Excellency, Bishop H. J. Bomers († September 12, 1998) at the Eucharistic celebration for Ida Peerdeman on June 20, 1996.

On June 20, 1996, with deep esteem for the human greatness of the visionary, His Excellency, Bishop Hendrik Bomers, personally wished to preside at her funeral ceremony.

To the right stands Fr. Amandus Korse in the Franciscan habit.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Now is the proper time in the liturgy to say something about the deceased whom we will carry soon to the grave.
We are gathered here together as people who have loved, admired, and esteemed Ida Peerdeman. Even though we all knew that, naturally, this moment eventually had to come because of her old age and that inevitably we would have to give in, her departure has left a void among us.

I have tried to find some passages from Holy Scripture which would fit best or in a special way to Ida Peerdeman.
The first reading I took from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It began with the words, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast.” For all people—we all know that this theme of the Lord being here for all peoples is one which comes forth many times in Holy Scripture. This theme always played a great role in Ida Peerdeman’s conviction and experience in her faith as well.

I know that Ida desired very much that the Church would also recognize this veneration (Mary as the Lady of All Nations). I would like to assure you that this was also always my hope too. However, as a bishop, all the circumstances must be considered before making a statement. When I say ‘circumstances,’ I believe that I am the only one among us who really knows all the circumstances.

Fortunately, Bishop Punt and I made the announcement this year on May 31st, the Feast of the Visitation, that we permit without any reservations the public veneration of Mary under the title LADY OF ALL NATIONS.
The Church must be very careful in view of people’s experiences such as Ida also had.

Being careful does not mean that the Church does not believe or trust these people. To be able to say, however, that these experiences fully agree with the official and established Church teachings, which are founded on Holy Scripture, they must first be thoroughly examined by the Church. Will this moment ever arrive? Let us be open for it spiritually, let us pray for it, and let us as true Christians wait patiently until the right time comes.

Bronze statue at Ida Peerdeman’s grave in Saint Barbara Cemetery, Amsterdam

In any case, I would like to say here that I knew Ida quite well. I have spoken with her on different occasions. The first time she came to me out of her own initiative to talk about her concerns. I believe that we can all easily confirm that Ida, in all the experiences that she had, was never hypocritical. She was through and through down to earth to her last day and she had great repugnance toward any glorification of her own person. There was no discussion about it with her. Both are very good and positive signs.

We all also knew her, naturally, as joyful, sharp, attentive and lively until the last days of her life. I am certain beyond doubt that she was absolutely sincere and spoke truthfully about her experiences. Her whole life was centered on the veneration of Mary with the title LADY OF ALL NATIONS.

I think that this veneration is very useful now because we live in a time in which the nations of the earth know one another and maintain contact. It is certainly so in our country and it is especially applicable to the city of Amsterdam where people from nearly every nation of the world live. All these nations must know how to live together in love, harmony and fraternity. We know about wars in so many places around the world, even in our vicinity. We have experienced this in still more horrible ways in our century through absolutely reprehensible racial discrimination.

We express the truth that all the nations of the earth belong to a single family of God when we pray the Our Father. When we pray to God, “Our Father,” we say something very revolutionary with these two words.
I do not pray to my father and you do not pray to your father; much more each Christian always says, following the example of Jesus, “Our Father!” He is the only Father for all mankind, all nations, and we are all brothers and sisters. Therefore, the veneration of Mary as the Lady of All Nations is a very good veneration.

The veneration under this title also keeps before us the responsibility we have to evangelize all the people of the world who do not know Christ. Naturally, we may not proselytize and employ sly methods to make Christians out of the people. Whether one becomes Christian or not is his or her own responsibility. Our responsibility, however, is that through the words we speak, through the works we do, and through the testimony of our lives we show people who Christ is.
Therefore, the title Mary, LADY OF ALL NATIONS, is also an evangelical title. It reminds us of the task to proclaim Christ to the nations.

St. Paul writes in one of his letters, “Woe to me if I do not preach Christ!” He does not say, “Woe to the people who do not know Christ” or “whom Christ does not accept.” But he says, “Woe to me when I do not preach Him!” This thought of St. Paul is very much included in the veneration of Mary as the Lady of All Nations.

In the Gospel of John, where the word woman is used twice, it is unambiguously clear that Christ completely includes Mary in His salvific mission. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, I hope with all my heart that after today, the day of Ida’s separation from our midst, the conviction of her heart may live on among us so that a beautiful and true, evangelical and thriving veneration of the Lady of All Nations may emerge.
For this reason it is important, in the first place, that we begin to live with one another in harmony and work together. When somebody makes a mistake, we should forgive as true disciples of Jesus, stand up again and with new energy continue on the way of the Gospel.

Ida was aware that the day of her death was near. She is now united with her family and her relatives whom she always loved and who always loved her. She is happy with God, with Mary and with all those—and there are very many—who were her friends here on earth. She is now our advocate there.

This is the right moment to take a minute and thank all the people who were so important in Ida’s life. It would not be so easy for me to thank all those by name whom I should thank and I think the list would be too long, so it seems better to me not to do that. I would like to express my esteem and thankfulness to everybody who has cooperated and supported Ida and her efforts during her lifetime for the veneration of Mary, and I ask all of you to continue along the good way!
There is one person though whom I would like to thank personally. It is you, dear Ms. Jannie Zaal, because you were very close to Ida and cared for her with much love and affection, especially in the last days of her life when she needed very intensive care.

I would like to express my condolences to each of you for Ida’s passing away. Let us console and encourage one another in the conviction that this is not a burial for Ida but a returning home. We know that we are supported by the example of her life and we are convinced that one day we may be with her, there where she has gone now.

Amen.


Source: Ida Peerdeman – The Visionary of Amsterdam
Biography by Fr. Paul Maria Sigl, 2005

 
 
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