November 2 marked the 70th anniversary of Father Frank Van Butsele’s murder in his mission church in Maryabad, Pakistan, where he had been a missionary for fifteen years. Carl Van Butsele used that memorable date to apply for his uncle’s posthumous honorary citizenship.
Father Frank was born in Ronse on August 13, 1913 as Henri Van Butsele. On September 15, 1930 he entered the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins; in 1937 he was ordained a priest. For fifteen years he was a missionary in the eastern suburbs of Quetta, the capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan. He mastered the language and was loved by the people. But on the evening of November 2, 1953, he was murdered in church in front of his parishioners by a man who had been ordered to leave the village.
“Father Frank was a man of many merits,” says Carl Van Butsele. “I have delved into his life and have a mountain of documents. There is a lot to say about Father Frank. On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of his death, I am applying for posthumous honorary citizenship for him,” Carl explains.
In collaboration with the Historical Society of Ronse, Carl Van Butsele sketches the picture of Father Frank during a lecture under the title: What interpretation did Father Franciscus-Joseph give to his short life? The lecture will take place on Friday, November 10 at 7 p.m. in the reading room of the Historical Society Ronse in Politiekegevangenenstraat 18. A contribution of 5 euros is requested.