Lay Centre holds memorial for Miss Galema


The Lay Centre held a memorial Mass in its chapel for Miss Leideke Galema. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald presided. (Photo: Emil Anton)

ROME – Friends and residents of The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas honoured the memory of a dear and longtime friend, Miss Leideke Galema, with a memorial Mass in Rome Feb. 25.

Miss Galema, who was a member of the Ladies of Bethany, passed away Dec. 14 in the Netherlands, after 64 years of religious life.


Riekie van Velzen, co-founder of The Lay Centre, pays tribute to Miss Galema at a luncheon that followed the memorial Mass. (Photo: Emil Anton)


The Ladies of Bethany had operated Foyer Unitas in Rome, an ecumenical centre, and had supported the foundation of The Lay Centre 30 years ago. Today, The Lay Centre continues the sisters’ mission of ecumenism and hospitality, while broadening it to include interreligious dialogue.

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, former apostolic nuncio to Egypt and longtime friend of the Ladies of Bethany, was the presider of the memorial Mass.


Dr Donna Orsuto, director of The Lay Centre, pays tribute to Miss Galema during the luncheon. (Photo: Emil Anton)

About 40 people squeezed into The Lay Centre chapel for the Mass, among them participants in the sessions of The Lay Centre’s Vincent Pallotti Institute, Miss Galema’s friends, and student residents.

It was a simple Mass, with the readings of the day, which Miss Galema had always liked.

“You might wonder why we made you climb three floors to this tiny chapel,” Dr Donna Orsuto told those gathered.

“It is because this chapel is the heart of The Lay Centre and it has many of the things the Ladies of Bethany left for us, including the chalice of Paul VI and the liturgical vestments used on Miss Galema’s profession day,” said the director of The Lay Centre.

The Mass was followed by lunch, where friends of Miss Galema shared humourous stories about her life and personality.

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