It is with regret that we announce the death at nursing home De Zilverheuvel – formerly Missiehuis Vrijland -, aged 82, of
Albert (Bertus) Driever
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Fr. Bertus was born on 1st August 1940 in Ulft, Gendringen, Netherlands and was baptised on the same day at St. Anthony Parish in Ulft, Diocese of Utrecht. His father was Albertus, a factory carpenter and his mother was Theodora Hartering. He had 4 brothers and 1 sister. He did his primary schooling at St. Antonius Lagere School in Ulft and his secondary studies (1953-1959) at St. Joseph’s Studiehuis (Rooie Pannen) in Tilburg. From 1959 to 1961, he studied Philosophy and related subjects in Roosendaal. In 1961 he went to St. Joseph’s College, Mill Hill to continue his missionary formation and study Theology in preparation for ordination to the presbyterate.
On 1st May 1964, he professed his Perpetual Oath in Mill Hill in the presence of Fr. Gerard Mahon who was then the General Superior. On 10th July 1965 he was ordained missionary priest at St. Joseph’s College, Mill Hill by Cardinal John Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster.
Right after his ordination, he received his first missionary appointment to the Prelature of San Jose de Antique, Philippines. He served in parishes like Laua-an, Bugasong, Dao, San Remegio and Hamtic. On top of his parish ministry, he was also teaching in High School. He advocated for the poor and courageously challenged government unjust social policies. In 1969, he was appointed to teach at St. Peter’s Seminary in San Pedro, San Jose, Antique. In 1972, he took up Religious Studies at East Asian Pastoral Institute, Ateneo University, Manila. After obtaining a Diploma in Religious Education at EAPI, he returned to St. Peter’s Seminary in 1973 as Rector, a role he played well for three years. In 1976, he was appointed Parish Priest of San Remigio. There he faithfully trekked on the mountain ranges in order to cater for the pastoral and spiritual needs of the Christian communities in isolated barrios in spite of the threats of communist rebels who lived in those mountain ranges. In 1986, he was moved to Santa Monica Parish, Hamtic where he served for six years as parish priest.
In 1988, Bertus followed the Focus Programme of Gonzaga University in Spokane, USA, which he enjoyed. While there, Fr. Stampfer visited and asked him to do APF work. As APF/MHM Organiser for the Dioceses of Salford and Lancaster and based in Freshfield, Bertus did appeals in more than 200 parishes, covering on average of 25,000 miles per year. After each mission appeal, he returned to the parish for a meeting with the Local APF Secretary and promoters.
In 1996, he took up an appointment in Islamabad, Pakistan to be the pastor of the English speaking community in Islamabad, but this did not work out partly due to the mix up with the local appointment. He was sent to Murree where he became in-charge of the parish house there and served as a chaplain to two religious communities of Sisters.
A year later, he was appointed to the Dutch Region and became Parish Priest of St. Sebastian in Herpen from 1st February 1997. He spent 19 years in Herpen. In 2015, he did 86 baptisms, which indicated that it was an active parish. In 2011, Bertus broke his leg. He stayed in Vrijland for three months to recuperate. In early 2015, he suffered a hematoma in the stomach, and was operated; again he came to Vrijland to recuperate. This coincided with him being 50 years a priest.
So he decided to retire in Vrijland, as from 1st January 2016. While in retirement, he continued to serve by driving the residents to town and other places and doing errands for them. He was on a regular Mass rota with the Carmelites as well as at the chapel in Vrijland. He regularly visited the Philippines and the UK. His last annual visit to Freshfield and England was in September 2017. He intended to return to Freshfield in 2018 with his younger brother, but he died of cancer. Through Facebook, Bertus stayed in contact with friends in the UK, Netherlands and the Philippines. Lately, Bertus had to undergo a robot-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy surgery due to kidney ailment. Sadly, he died of internal bleeding in the early morning at 1.15 of 29th April, 2023 in his room in Oosterbeek.
On Friday, 5th May 2023, in thanksgiving for his life, a Eucharistic celebration will be held at 11 a.m. in St. Jozefhuis, Johannahoeve 4, Oosterbeek, after which his remains will be laid to rest in the Mill Hill cemetery there. The service will be livestreamed on this link: https://vimeo.com/event/2882273 . May he rest in peace!