Miss Galema, dear friend, called home to God

Miss Leideke Galema together with Leideke Bagon (right), who was named after her.

Miss Leideke Galema at The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, together with Leideke Bagon (right), who was named after her.

On a dark night,

Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!–

I went forth without being observed,

My house being now at rest.

                                                                     —  St. John of the Cross

On 14 December 2015, Miss Leideke Galema passed from this life to the next.  A Lady of Bethany since 1949 (64 years as a religious), her life was dedicated to promoting Christian unity through ecumenical hospitality. Along with other Ladies of Bethany, including Miss Josefa Koet, she literally brought Bethany to Rome—creating a home for many who journeyed here and who experienced the warmth of that hearth of unity that was and is Foyer Unitas. In her Roman sojourn spanning four decades, she taught thousands of people to “learn” Rome through her erudite and memorable lectures and site visits. She was a contemplative in action, serving others in practical everyday ways, helping to create a space, a chapel, at the centre of the Foyer, where the Holy Trinity was honored.

Those of us at The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas are grateful for her long life, her joyful witness to the Gospel of unity, and for her example.  She, as the other Ladies of Bethany who were part of Foyer Unitas, taught us so much.

Miss Leideke Galema died late in the evening on the Feast of St. John of the Cross, on a “dark night”.  Now her “house is at rest”.   Her funeral is in Arnhem on Monday, 21 December, and she will be buried on that day in Nijmegen.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–
A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

— St. John of the Cross

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