Being born and bred in Heppen, Clement Lemmens entered the ordre of the ‘Scheutisten’ in September 1942. His intention was to become a missionary in China, following the example of father Verbist. But first he had to become a doctor; from 1952-1956 he studied in Leuven and completed his education “cum laude”. The following year he went to Antwerp to specialise himself in tropic medicine.
After the Maoistic Revolution, China was no longer an option for him as a misionary. Instead he went to Indonesia.
His first missionary post was in Raha on the island Muna (Sulawesi Tenggara). He tried as good as possible to develop a hospital. In the spring of 1965 he returns to Belgium to recover: malaria and frequent dysentery had taken a heavy toll.
In November ’65 he’s already on his new missionary post, this time in Kendari. He has to start from scratch: no hospital, no church, no house. He builts the Rumah Sakit Santa Anna which is inaugurated in 1969. In the meanwhile he escapes death: three heart attacks in one night. The church as well is consecrated.
In 1970 he’s nominated honorari citizen of Heppen. After a short visit he returns to Kendari. Although his work is relieved by the arrival of newcomers, the father can not sit still, and this while he’s having more and more problems with his heart. On August 11 1974 it beats for the very last time. He’s buried in Kendari.
The bust is situated in front of the ‘Heemkundig museum Heppen’ (Museum of the Local History of Heppen), in the Pastoor Aertsstraat, Heppen.
Thanks to Patrick Wens for the text.
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