Gate and Monastery Farm
Petrus cannot be found here; there is however a gate to Emmaüs which, according to the Lazarists, could compete with the ‘Earthly Paradise”. This gate has once been, even several times, moved. This explains why the gate isn’t completely intact anymore. You can observe it when you take a look at the gate, which is located at the back of the bungalow park.
The entrance gate of this midget golf garden is a replica of the original entrance gate. The replica was made in 2007 in the open-air museum “Eijnderhoof” in Nederweert-Eind in a completely authentic way by a group of smiths
From the original gate you will see a nice farm far away. This farm originally belonged to the monastery terrain. Because of the fact that the Lazarists went to Emmaüs only a of couple days per week, the daily routine was arranged by an ‘administrator’, the farmer on the farm. The farm had been leased to the family Verstegen. This family worked at Emmaüs at board and lodging. There weren’t hardly any financial transactions between the family and the Lazarists. The farmer purchased food in Panningen, with the help of his horse cart, and often also purchased beer at the same time.
On the photo (1905) of the farm at Emmaüs, you will observe a carriage at the left, the only possibility to leave the property. The road only consisted of a cart track.
In 1913 the new farm was completed. It is a saddleback farm with a long front. In the middle of the photo you will see a dogcart. The dog was still used on this farm until about 1925 for driving a treadmill, which was used for churning milk into butter.
Until 1992 the impressive linden trees were located in an avenue and reached the monastery farm. Unfortunately this linden avenue was destructed during a heavy storm in 1992. The last tree of this linden avenue is still located at the farm.
In his brainstorm notebook, dated from 1955, Corn. Verwoerd cm described in which ways the various properties of the Lazarists in Helden were acquired.
On 23rd November 1904 the Lazarists bought, under Beringerzand, a terrain of over 11 hectares named ‘Gietenhof’, forest and heath land, which belonged to the heirs Verstappen. Until today, especially in Summer, this is the weekly pleasure resort for scholastics and novices and thanks to continual tillage, fresh spirit of enterprise and fantasy of several student generations it can compete with the Earthly Paradise!!!
Gietenhof was a small farm. Apparently the building didn’t meet the demands anymore, since a construction permit for a new farm was granted on 24th March 1910. From the purchase, Mr. Jacobus Peulen and his family worked on Gietenhof. An agreement was made with Mr. Peulen on 27th February 1905 which made him “manager of the farm”. In his contract we can read the following quotation concerning the activities:
‘the work on the farm and in the garden, the daily transportation to this place (mission) concerning vegetables, milk eggs etc; the vegetables are cleaned by the wife as much as possible”.
In 1912 Willem Verstegen was employed as ‘manager of the farm’, the beginning of a ‘Verstegen period’ which would last almost 80 years. For the activities he executed he received free living, light and fire, according to local custom, farm products like potatoes, vegetables, milk and, on maigre days, eggs. One fat pig per year and a salary of ƒ 400,00 yearly. The following was however added: “ in case either man or woman became ill, Willem Verstegen and his wife were obligated to have the work executed at their own expense….”
This agreement was renewed several times; on 29th March 1913 for the last time:
An unsigned report which dates from 1936 concludes that the farm wasn’t profitable in this way. A lease would be much better for the congregation and the family. Apparently, the conclusions of this report were taken seriously. In the archives there was an inventory list of the company with estimated values by Mr. G. Kusters and Mr. H. Schers. A ten-year-old horse was estimated on ƒ 220,00 and was the most expensive “piece” of the inventory. The carriage with accompanying harness was estimated at ƒ 50,00. Laying hens were estimated on 30 cents per piece and the dogcart on ƒ 5,00. An expensive lease was drawn up which included ” all kinds of services’ which Verstegen had to execute for the mission house and for Emmaüs. It concerned a complete package with many conditions and a lot of rules, like: delivery of milk )- Cows which suffer from TB may not be given milk-) until taking kitchen waste and emptying slurry pits.
In 1995 Jan Verstegen took over his father’s lease. Some services remained, amongst others: ‘regularly cleaning the rubbish dump at the chapel, the cinders of the central heating and the kitchen waste”. Jan earned ƒ 215,00 per year for it. The rent he had to pay was relatively low and wasn’t hardly changed through the years.
In the official information magazine ‘Kleine Compagnie’ of the Lazarists’ provincialate you can read the following in December 1991 (after having sold the farm to the family Peeters-Teijma):
“A long period has ended. We wishfully remember the many times we walked along the farm to Emmaüs. Many of us will keep remembering the hospitable house of the family Verstegen”.