Location of Mortsel in the province of Antwerp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After long suffering the after-effects of a stroke in 1994 father Phil Bosmans, the co-founder and face of the Bond Zonder Naam (Union Without a Name), passed away in hospital in Mortsel, near Antwerp, from complications of bronchitis, at the age of 89, 17 January 2012.
Bosmans was born into a Limburg farming family in 1922 and entered a monastery in 1941. He was ordained in 1948 and sent to the Vendée in France to do missionary work in the suburbs of Tours. He subsequently became friendly with several worker-priests in Paris. He had a profound admiration for them.
In 1949 he was called back to Belgium to lead “missions to the people” and Father Loop asked him to help with the creation of the Bond Zonder Naam (BZN), an organisation that over the years has set up and run social projects for children and young people and the disadvantaged. Bosmans led the BZN until 1991, when he handed over the leadership, though he remained active in the organisation. On Saturday 2 April 1938 Henri de Greeve had launched the Bond Zonder Naam or Movement without a Name (hereafter referred to as MWN) on the NIR (Belgian National Radio Station) radio programme ‘Lichtbaken’ . Mr l’Homme and Miss Winkeler started in 1949 the Movement without a Name Flanders, which had a first candlelight action for People in Need in 1951. Their candles came in many homes, also our home. Since 1957 Phil has devoted all his energies to the Bond Zonder Naam or Movement without a Name in Flanders.
For most people in Flanders Bosmans was bestknown as the source of countless uplifting and inspiring aphorisms, later collected into books with titles like Best Wishes and Happy Together, which became best sellers in Flanders, the Netherlands and Germany. His collections were translated into 26 languages and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. As a child I grew up with his writings, having each new proverb read and discussed at dinner table and put on the cupboard good in view for everyone to be remembered. ‘Menslief, ik hou van je’ was really a best-seller for our generation, inspiring us to spread the agape love. Lannoo published it in 1972 and it was to become the most widely sold book in Flanders. It is now in its 56th impression, and has sold 800,000 copies in Flanders and the Netherlands. Currently sales in Germany stand at about 2 million copies. The positivism was something which helped me a lot throughout my life and I found important to share with more. We should keep in mind that he said:
“A good mood is infectious”
Our society loosing track of the gentle words and social feelings of sharing and agape love has a big need of a recollection of Bosmans inspirational words. Therefore I am pleased that the organisation Bond Zonder Naam, in English: Movement Without a Name allowed us to publicize some of their writings and placing some recollections of Bosmans’s fruitful thoughts.
In 2003 MWN got nominated as chairman for URI Europe. In 2007 MWN organised URI Global Council and European conference in Antwerp and started a Flemish Platform for Interfaith Dialogue.
For over 50 years, 3 generations and 200,000 families have proven that they appreciate what MWN has to offer. We are grateful we can share their beautiful work with you on this platform and do hope you shall come to know them better.
‘Without a name’ stands for the belief that people can achieve great things when they are willing to give it their all without claiming the achievements. I also do believe when a person can put himself aside he shall be able to help the others even better. May I ask you to get to know their work better and to give it your support. We also with them, encourage everyone to support the common goal without anyone claiming the results. We on our selves perhaps can do not much, but together we can do a lot. We only can try to do our best and we can try to help as much as we can wherever we can. I also believe we as creatures, allowed to live on this world, by our Divine Creator, should be thankful that we are able to live in a good environment. Not all people are so lucky. Those who are not so fortunate we should help. Each of us should be willing to give the best of themselves, which would mean that they can give enough. Consequently, you too can contribute to MWN in many different ways: you can donate time, commitment and material or financial support, which helps them to organise their initiatives.
‘Without a name’ also means that MWN stands up for ‘nameless people’ and makes certain taboo issues a subject of discussion.
And finally ‘without a name’ means that MWN is not affiliated with any political, philosophical or religious organisation. It refers unmistakeably to the free spirit MWN so deeply cherishes.
MWN is recognized by the Belgian government and is entitled to provide donation certificates. Donations over €40,00 are tax-deductible in Belgium, whether they are single contributions or plural contributions, which, combined, mount up to €40,00. MWN delivers the donation certificates in March of the subsequent year (only applicable in Belgium).
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Phil Bosmans Father Phil Bosmans, the co-founder and face of the Bond Zonder Naam (Union Without a Name), has died in hospital in Mortsel, near Antwerp, from complications of bronchitis, at the age of 89. Father Bosmans had long suffered the after-effects of a stroke in 1994, and spent his last years living in a convent in nearby Kontich.
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