Rev. WAMMES, Willibrord CICM
|* Birth in
Holland: [16 February 1907]
* Ordination: 
* Arrival in China: 
* Death in Hong Kong: [21 March 1973]
Father Willy Wammes, C.I.C.M.
“Poor Father Willy is no more”
and many wet eyes were
seen at his funeral which took place at St. Michael Cemetery, Happy Valley, on 21 March
1973, Bishop F. Hsu officiating.
Father Willibrord L. Wammes, CICM at the time of his death was rector of St. Vincent Hang Hau District. He was born on 16 February 1907 in Holland; entered the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1925; ordained in 1931. A year after his ordination he left for China and spent 16 years as a missionary in Mongolia. After World War II he returned to Holland and did a stint of promotion work for the Scheut Fathers, travelling in many countries and making many friends. In 1948 he came to Hong Kong. After serving for a time in the various Scheut missions he settled down in Hang Hau.
Father Wammes was the old-fashioned type of missionary devoting his life completely to the spiritual and material welfare of his flock. He lived a life of prayer and of great poverty. He had quite an astonishing personality. Though a man of deep piety, he could sometimes shock people with some frivolous talk. His station wagon was truly a multiple-purpose vehicle - a lorry for carrying cement and building material, an ambulance to bring sick parishioners to hospitals, even a hearse to carry coffins for those could not afford a commercial hearse. The Fabiola Clinic was the fruit of his desire to help the sick poor. He used to compose special leaflets of prayer for the use of his parishioners and he wrote a simple catechism so that the less literate of his poor could more easily grasp the meaning of the doctrine of God.
Father Wammes was a born beggar. He spoke so eloquently for his poor so that the more affluent of his friends would have pity on “poor Father Willy”. His giving was never stinted: sometimes it was indiscriminate. At time he organised work so as to be able to give on work-basis. He built small houses, footpaths, small bridges and employed the poor to dig wells. He had a very cheerful disposition and he loved talking. No one however was ever annoyed with his incessant talks because he was such a simple man and had such a childlike nature. He died as he lived simply, suddenly at Our Lady's Hospital on 21 March. His cash account was down to nil at the moment of his death.
30 March 1973
(Father W. Wammes, C.I.C.M.)
“Many wet eyes were seen at the funeral of Father Wammes the other day,” we read in the Obituary last week. But many more could not attend and would certainly add a lot of facts to illustrate the outstanding figure of the deceased.
I write as an acquaintance of his who often visited this part of the New Territories before the appointment of Father Wammes to develop Christianity in this lonely peninsula from nil.
In one of the latest statistics of the Hang-Hau District we found the satisfactory figure of 575 Catholics, mostly recent conversions due to the apostolic activity of the zealous Pastor. We may look at the gorgeous St. Vincent’s Chapel and well attended Primary school, all fruit of the recent efforts of Father Wammes.
To illustrate his charitable activity one of his regular beneficiaries reports a recent dialogue which may impress most of his admirers. It happened a few weeks before his death. This applicant approached him for help, but Father Willy was sorry to disappoint him, saying that he had no more cash in his drawer. At the end of the conversation, the good Father suddenly stopped his visitor and said:- “I see that you have no other way to solve your financial problem; well, you urgently need one hundred… I’ll write a cheque for two hundred; so that you need not come again next month…”
Was it a secret inspiration that he would not be here to help the needy…?
As we read at the end of the Obituary in last week’s Examiner, his cash account was down to nil at the moment of his death.
“Exempla trahunt… Let us put it in the subjunctive mood:
6 April 1973
新 界 坑 口 村 聖 雲 先 堂 主 任 司 鐸 萬 默 思 神 父 已 於 一 九 七 三 年 三 月 廿 一 日 病 逝 聖 母 醫 院 。 上 週 五 在 跑 馬 地 聖 瑪 加 利 大 堂 由 田 恆 利 神 父 等 主 持 共 祭 安 所 彌 撒 ， 並 由 徐 主 教 在 跑 馬 地 天 主 教 墳 場 主 持 安 葬 禮 。
萬 神 父 為 荷 蘭 人 ， 聖 母 聖 心 會 會 士 。 一 九 三 二 年 被
派 往 中 國 蒙 古 傳 教 ， 共 十 六 年 之 久 。 其 後 轉 來 香 港
， 先 後 在 紅 磡 堂 區 、 調 景 嶺 等 地 方 服 務 。 一 九 六 一
年 任 坑 口 聖 雲 先 堂 主 任 司 鐸 。 萬 神 父 辛 勞 傳 教 ， 及
致 力 救 助 貧 困 常 努 力 不 懈 ， 直 至 去 世 的 前 夕 。 請 各
信 友 為 其 代 禱 。