It is with regret that we inform you of the death on the 15th day of February, 2023 in Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, The Netherlands aged 87 of
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
“Whoever believes in me will live, even if he dies” (John 11:25)
Henk was born on the 3rd of June, 1935 in Oldenzaal, in the Diocese of Utrecht in The Netherlands. Shortly after birth he was baptised and given the names Hendrikus Johanne Maria in his local parish church. He had only one sibling, a brother, in his family. His parents were Theodore Riesthuis and Berendina Riesthuis, nee van den Bosch. Henk’s parents were shopkeepers.
Henk attended his local primary school until 1946, and feeling called to the missionary priesthood, he transferred to our Mill Hill College in Tilburg, then to our College in Haelen, where he graduated in 1953. Further convinced of his religious vocation Henk was promoted to the Mill Hill Philosophicum in Roosendaal, where he studied from 1953 to 1955. Having successfully completed his Philosophy courses, he was further promoted to study Theology at Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London. As his foundation studies approached completion, Henk took the Perpetual Oath to God in our missionary society on the 7th of May, 1958 in the College Chapel. Just over one year later, on the 12th of July, 1959 he was ordained a priest at the hands of Archbishop W. Godfrey, the Archbishop of Westminster, London, also in the College Chapel.
Almost immediately after ordination, Henk was appointed to join the staff at St. Joseph’s College, Lochwinnoch in Scotland. Less than two years later he was appointed abroad, to work in the Diocese of Tororo, Uganda. After a decade, mostly teaching in schools in Tororo, Henk was appointed briefly to the Diocese of Buea, Cameroon. He was withdrawn from there after a year and returned home to Holland. In March, 1977 he was appointed to teach at Freshford College in Ireland. In March 1979 Henk was appointed to work in our seminary at Albany, New York. In 1981 he was appointed to our Mill Hill House in St. Louis. By 1986 he received a temporary appointment to be the administrator of the Mill Hill House in Los Angeles. After serving as administrator for a year he was content to be a member of the small Mill Hill Community in our Los Angeles house. On the 1st of May, 2001 Henk was elected Regional Representative of the North American Region. This appointment involved Henk having to leave his beloved Los Angeles and live in Hartsdale, New York. Less than a few months later Henk resigned and returned to work in Los Angeles. While fulfilling his appointments in the United States, Henk took the opportunity of furthering his education. He undertook further studies in Theology at Maryknoll, New York and achieved a Masters Degree. He also successfully completed a course of studies at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York after which he was awarded an M.S. in Education.
By the beginning of January 2004 Henk was appointed to retirement in Sint Jozefhuis, Oosterbeek in The Netherlands. In his retirement Henk continued to pursue his talent for poetry and painting. He also enjoyed cooking from time to time. Sadly a serious vehicle accident curtailed all of his hobbies in recent years.
On the occasion of his Golden Jubilee of priesthood the General Superior expressed the gratitude of the Society for Henk’s dedicated service to the Lord and to our missionary society in Uganda, Cameroon and especially in the United States of America.
Henk’s requiem rites will take place on Monday the 20th of February, 2023 beginning with a requiem mass at 11.00.am in Sint Jozefhuis, Johannahoeve 4, Oosterbeek. Henk will be buried in our cemetery there. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.