Teteringen is a small village in the South of the Netherlands. A place where in the past century more than 500 missionaries of the Dutch-Belgian province were formed and from where they were sent into the whole world. Now it is the place to where confreres, who spent their lives in six continents, return to spend their autumn years. A rich variety of experiences is gathered here. A treasure of missionary commitment lies hidden in this house. It is a surprising turn of events that Teteringen is now also the place where, in addition to our own SVD confreres (33), religious of other orders and congregations have come together: we form one community of SVDs, Benedictine monks, Missionaries of the Holy Family, Missionaries of Scheut, Fathers of the Sacred Hearts, Benedictine, Franciscan and Dominican sisters etc. (about one hundred religious together with as many laity). Altogether a colorful family. Thus Teteringen can rightfully be called a “Kloosterdorp” (a village of religious houses), composed of male and female religious, active and contemplative members. Thus we express the theme of the upcoming General Chapter: “From all countries and peoples, from each tribe and language.”
We experience that rich variety in our daily contacts as each one can talk about his or her past experiences. That happens at table, in recreation and during a variety of meetings. Also our liturgical celebrations radiate this multicultural aspect. The whole world comes to the fore in prayers, reflections, songs and rites. Although most residents can no longer perform big deeds, still in our unique way we are religious and missionaries. We remain open to the world and feel intensely with the joys and concerns of the local churches to which we have given ourselves wholeheartedly for many years. Thus this house remains a place of living faith and of intense involvement with the whole world!
In this way Teteringen can keep its original calling: witness to the Kingdom of God, in which there is room for peoples from every nation and language. Although we no longer play an active missionary role, we remain missionaries through and through. Until we can say with the old Simeon: “Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have made ready in the sight of the nations.”