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Death of Brother Alfonso Wimer Campos (Brother Teresiano)

03/11/2008: Mexico

Brother Alfonso has left us to meet his heavenly Father. Having heard the news, a fair number of Brothers in the Province (México Central) may have realized, I feel, that they really new quite little about the life of this well beloved figure. And nothing strange about that since of his seventy-five years of religious life, Poncho spent more than fifty outside his native land. Brother Alfonso was a man of action, an initiator, one who welcomed challenges. The Lord had blessed him with a gift for languages and a generous spirit of adaptability. As a result he was able to fulfill in admirable fashion varied kinds of tasks on behalf of the Marist Brothers, the Institute he loved.

His apostolates included: teacher in Guadalajara and in the United Status, assistant Master of the Second Novitiate in Grugliasco, assistant to the Econome General. In the last posting, he was entrusted with the supervision the final stages of the Generalate construction. Since Alfonso was a faithful son of the humble vicar of La Valla, only a few people know that it was he who coordinated the work on the interior of the beautiful main chapel at Rome headquarters. Later, he was General Councilor during Brother Basilio’s first term, and then twenty years a missionary in Korea.

Regarding this missionary phase, I can give many particulars, since I had the good fortune to be in community with him. Some used to ask me, “What did Wimer do, given that he was already sixty-two when he went to Korea?” Well, the first thing was to become a child again, pick up his school text and notebook and go to classes in order to learn Korean. Besides, even if his age was not the most appropriate for learning an Asian language, thanks to his gift for language, he made great linguistic strides which proved to be useful in his missionary work in the Land of the Morning Calm.

Alfonso was professor at the Foreign Language University in Seoul (in the departments of both Spanish and English); leader of university groups practicing English, French and Spanish; coordinator of the Spanish-language translators at the l988 Olympics in Seoul; leader of the young people’s prayer group called Maranatha which over the years met each Saturday at the Marist Brothers Pastoral Center in Seoul; District Superior for three years; econome.

The experience acquired working with the Econome General, gave Alfonso the chance to establish excellent relationship with missionary support agencies in Europe. As a result, he obtained significant help for the construction of our novitiate in Suwon and the enlargement of the rehabilitation center for lepers in the Andong diocese. Even the contemplative Dominican Sisters found financing for their convent with Brother Wi-mer’s help. And the list goes on….

And as the passing of the years can bring new richness, our cosmopolitan Alfonso found new strengths and his life grew more deeply in a deep, intimate bond with the Savior and the Blessed Virgin. He would spend many hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and in spiritual reading. He found his way to the chapel three times a day. He would place in his shirt pocket a small container with a consecrated Host and in this way he was able to be in continuous union with God. And we must not fail to mention his nine rosaries daily.

To sum it up: much communication with God, little with people. His apostolic work took another turn: going to nearby hospitals to give Communion; visiting the commun-ity pantry to take things to his needy friends; and excursions from the house returning very late because he had lost his way. Alfonso repeated this sort of activity during his years in Tlalpan.

Don Rafael López, the chaplain of our Quinta Soledad community celebrated the fun-eral Mass for Brother Alfonso. Among the chaplain’s comments was the following, “Ponchito lived his religious life in a profound and vibrant way. He was a faithful disciple of Marcellin, had his peculiarities as we all do; nonetheless he has left us a beautiful example of what it means to be a Marist Brother. May he rest in peace.”

Brother Enrique Ruiz Pérez

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