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van Caloen, Gerard

VAN CALOEN, GERARD

Liturgist, bishop, missionary; b. Bruges, Belgium, March 12, 1853; d. Cap d'Antibes, France, Jan. 16, 1932. He was the son of Baron Charles and Savina de Gourcy-Serainchamps. He entered the Benedictine monastery of Beuron in 1872 and made his profession on May 25, 1874. After his ordination at Monte Cassino on Dec. 23, 1876, he was named prior of Maredsous. He was named rector of the abbey school in 1881, but the next year he was removed from the post because his pedagogy was considered too advanced and his ideas too original (he was the first to introduce dialogue Mass). At Tournai he edited the Missel des fidèles, the first French translation of the Roman Missal published in Belgium. The review that he started in 1884, Messager des Fidèles (later the learned Revue Bénédictine ), aimed at supporting the liturgical movement.

At this time he proposed his ideal of a monastic apostolate. He wanted his order to take part in the evangelization of China and Africa, but his plans seemed radical to his superiors.

In 1886 he went to Rome as procurator for the Beuronese congregation; in 1893 he returned there, this time attached to the Collegio San Anselmo. His interest in the churches of the East then came to the fore; although the Pope approved, his project for a Benedictine congregation dedicated to the ecumenical endeavor was rejected by his superiors. When, two years later, Leo XIII asked Beuron to help the Brazilian congregation regain its former vitality, Van Caloen was designated for this task. Spending himself completely in Brazil from 1895 to 1919, he saved almost all of the abbeys there. In order to find sufficient personnel, he founded, near Bruges, what was to become the Abbey of St. André (1899).

He did not forget his dreams of a monastic apostolate. On Dec. 13, 1907, Pius X appointed him ordinary

of Rio Branco, and he was consecrated at Maredsous on Oct. 8, 1906. The difficulties he encounteredowing in part to his financial administrationforced him, on March 2, 1915, to resign his various responsibilities, with the exception of his mission at Rio Branco.

In 1919 he returned to Europe, and, while living at Cap d'Antibes near Nice, he published a little ecumenical review called L'Union, of which nine issues appeared between 1926 and 1928. He was buried in the Abbey of Saint-André-lez-Bruges.

Bibliography: g. lefebvre, "Un Grand moine et apôtre au XXe siècle," Bulletin des Missions 12 (1932). o. rousseau, "Un Grand apôtre belge, Mgr. van Caloen," Revue générale belge 89 (1953) 576586. p. weissenberger, "Gérard van Caloen, Bischof und Erzabt der brasilianischen Kongregation," Benediktinische Monatsschrift 29 (1953) 121125, 205215. n. huyghebaert, Biographie Nationale, ed. L'Académie Royale de Belgique (Brussels 1866) sup. 3.1 (1961) 152162.

[n. huyghebaert]

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