Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sr. M. Veronique van Balen

Each journey through life is a vocation and everyone can make a contribution, in his/her own way and place, helping other people, getting their rights.

I was born on February 7, 1942 in Wytgaardin in the Netherlands. At that time, it was a harsh and cold winter, minus 10 degrees during the day and minus 21 degrees at night. It was in the mid of the Second World War. My Parents were always there for us, with love and care and God always protected my family: my parents, my three sisters and three brothers and me.

My First Holy Communion Day was a very special day for me. I sensed clearly: “Jesus loves me and he calls me to follow Him.”

In October 1959, after finishing school, I started with my training in nursing care. At this time, I met the Franciscan Sisters and experienced their love and goodness in dealing with people, especially with ill people. That brought back my experience, that Jesus has called me, to follow him in this service.

After three years, I passed my exam and was a nurse. Afterwards I spend a very enjoyable time at home, until my entrance into the Congregation in Leeuwarden on September 8, 1963. Only in the year 1957, the Noviciate was opened there.  In this year our present-day diocese of Groningen was established, too.  

In May of 1965, I went for six months to the Motherhouse in Münster.  At the beginning, the changeover was great and not easy: amongst other things, because of speaking the German Language. Only in school, I learned this language a little bit. I belonged to a group of 11 Novices and the others helped me a lot and made it easy for me, to settle down. We understood each other well and had a lot of joy together. What I particularly liked was the night adoration, this was something new for me. Praying and singing together at night, that touched me. Yes, that’s it, what I looked for, to follow Jesus and to be there for others, for the ill people.

In 1992, the convent in Leeuwarden was closed and the German Sisters went back to Münster. We, the two Netherland Sisters, Sister M. Desireé und I, stayed. Since then, I am living in the “Grote Kerkstraat 196“ in Leeuwarden. In 2002, after 42 years at the “Bonifatius-Hospital”, I ended my service in the surgery department.  I fondly remember the good and enriching time there.

Today, I am working in a honorary capacity in the Parish and also in the Hospital. It is a joy for me, furthermore, being there for the others.

I thank God for this vocation, for HE is the source of my life.