Franciscaan Frans van Bohemen (1917-1994)

Franciscan Frans van Bohemen is born with the name Nicolaas van Bohemen (Oostvoorne 1917-Nijmegen 1994). His father is een market-gardener, but he als runs the pelgrimage-café House of the Two Witnesses in opposite of the spot in Den Briel where the nimeteen martyrs of Gorinchem are hanged.

Frans joins the Franciscans in 1940 and then adopts the name Frans van Bohemen. The choice of the Order of the Franciscans will have to do with the fact that seventeen of the nineteen martyrs of Gorcum belong to that order.

In 1943 Frans is ordained a priest in Weert. Then he studies exegesis of the New Testament in Leuven, on which he graduates there in 1949. This period has a great influence on his life, because until just before his death he keeps himself busy with it. He always hopes to publish the results of his scientific work in a book. He often speaks of it.

Frans becomes a teacher at the Franciscan priest training in Weert and Alverna, and later at the Catholic Theological College in Utrecht. He does not stand out because of a systematic approach to the lecture material, but because of the reflection of his thoughts upcoming his lectures. In his role as pastor of the Willem Arntz House he incorporates his view of the Bible in highly praised sermons.

Within his community he takes care for the financial administration, calls forth theological discussions, brings fraternal conviviality and is an excellent reserve cook. In his family circle, he is a welcome guest with his cheerful outlook.

The elimination of the community Wittevrouwensingel touches him deeply. If he has reconciled himself and prepars for his move, he suffers a serious heart attack. He is then tied to bed and chair and can hardly express himself anymore. Those who are close to him in those months, share with him feelings of powerlessness. After a loving care in Berchmanianum he dies in peace in 1994. After the funeral service in La Verna chapel in Wijchen-Alverna, he is buried in the churchyard there.

Source: Memorial card of Franciscan Frans van Bohemen