It is with regret that we announce the death on 20th January at Missiehuis Vrijland, Oosterbeek, The Netherlands of
Sr Hermina Tolboom
Franciscan Missionary of St Joseph
May she rest in peace
Catharine Gerarda Tolboom was born on 6th August 1929, one of twelve children of her parents, Sebastianus and Maria Tolboom. She is survived by only one Sister and two brothers.
Catharine entered the Novitiate at St Philomena’s in Altrincham on 6th January 1956 and received the religious name of Hermina. She made her First Profession on 29th June 1957 and was then sent to be second cook in Hoorn. She remained there until 1960 when she was appointed to Asumbi in Kenya to teach domestic science. Here she made her Perpetual Profession on 12th August 1963.
From 1964 until 1987 Sister Hermina worked in the Rangala Baby Home. Sister Noel lived some of the time with her and said “She gave her all and would travel anywhere on terrible roads to find the parents of the children to get them to visit. She regularly went to Nairobi to get powdered milk for the children. Four girls whose parents had both died grew up on the compound under Sister Hermina’s care and she went to the ends of the earth to raise money for their upkeep and education. Nothing was too much trouble for her. There was a child who lost her legs in a fire and Hermina fought to get her adopted in The Netherlands . Amazingly that young woman became an international ice skater. “ On arrival in 1976 Sister Noel asked “ How will I ever learn to tell these children apart and recognise them ?” Hermina replied“ You will soon learn and you will know them not only by their faces but by their cries.” Only someone with so much love could say such a thing. Sister Hermina remained in Rangala until 1987 and later served in Nairobi, Marigat and Nyabururu.
After a lifetime of missionary service Sister Hermina reluctantly retired to Vrijland in 1998. Here she delighted in helping the staff and more vulnerable residents in the day room, being a competitive companion for board games and doing sewing and mending. She felt privileged to arrange flowers in the house chapel of rest, a final service for those who died. She enjoyed the company of her Sisters and the Mill Hill Missionaries and also maintained contact with many of her “babies.”
Crippled by arthritis, Sister Hermina suffered a great deal of pain. After Christmas 2020 she became confined to her room and then to her bed and many friends from different countries phoned during this time. Her health gradually deteriorated and she lost consciousness. On the morning of 20th January Sister Nicola had just visited and Sister Theodora took her place when Sister Hermina peacefully died . Her funeral Mass will take place on Monday 25th January at 11am in Vrijland followed by interment in the cemetery in the grounds . May she rest in peace.