To Hester

Monnickendam, October 8th 2004

Dear Hester,

Tomorrow I am going to present my book, you know that. And when I am telling the people something about my book, I think it might be a bit difficult for you. Dirk said to me: then make a story for Hester that she can understand well. So good of Dirk, isn’t it? And that I did. You may say if it is still too difficult. And then we can talk about it together, can’t we? Now I tell my story to you:

When mama was still quite little and used to live in Schiedam, I was a rather good girl: I frequented the church every day and I prayed often. And I even wanted to go to a convent, just like Aunt Co. But the woman who called the tune in the convent, they call her Mother Superior, that woman said to me: ‘You are always bothered with home sickness and soon, you want to go abroad later to tell the people over there about Jesus. That is impossible if you are bothered with home sickness, for then you can’t keep up. Do not come yet to the convent in Venlo, but first go and live somewhere else for a year, and no longer with your parents’. And if you have no home sickness in that year, then you may come to us in the convent of Venlo.

Then I moved into Coevorden and you know it: there I met your dad. He was still a Franciscan father then. We fell in love with each other and we got married And we got two very weet children. What are their names once more? When we moved into Ilpendam in 1974 I did a lot for the Church of father Brom. Think of the children’s choir ‘De Sebastiaantjes’. And often I was on the altar to read from the bible and to pray with the people, and even to preach. If you do such things, then you have to know everything very well. And that’s why I went to a kind of church school, where I learnt a lot of the bible and of the Eucharistic in the Church.

In that school I was told that the bible says: ‘men are more important than women’. I thought that to be crazy! Why are men more important? I just couldn’t believe it. I wanted to talk about it with other women and I did. And I did it at the Roman Catholic University of Amsterdam. I had such a fright of what I heard and read there. The writing of an American woman in particular, her name is Rosemary, I thought it was very important. That woman wrote in her book: ‘In previous times women were very important and everybody thought it was very normal that there was first the Goddess-Mother and that God the Father was in sight much later. That lasted so for thousands of years.

But later the men wanted more and more to be the boss. And they said: ‘On earth the man is the boss and in heaven God is the boss. And so from now on God is a man. We do not want the Goddess-Mother, we want God the Father.’ And women were no longer allowed to be priests. Now men wanted to be a priest. And still the pope thinks that those men are right and he doesn’t want women to be priests. The pope won’t believe as well that there was first the Goddess-Mother and that God the Father was in sight much later. Dad and I disagree with the pope and that’s why we do not want to belong to his Church For we do not think it is right that men boss the women in that church. And then those men also say that God wants it so. Well, if that is true, then we do not want to belong to that God. Such a God does not exist, we say.

No, then we rather prefer to listen to Jesus. He told the people that God loves everybody the same, and we think that is very good. You love Jesus very much, don’t you? Well, so do we. And that’s why we like it to go to church with you from time to time; on Easter for instance. I tell about it in my book. And we try, just like Jesus did, to give other people a piece of heaven on earth. That’s why I gave my book that name.

Do you know what the pope doesn’t want to believe either? He doesn’t believe that a friend of Jesus’, who is named Mary of Magdala, was an apostle too, and so she was a priest as a matter of fact. ‘That’s impossible’,the pope says, for Jesus selected men only’. And he doesn’t want to believe at all, that Mary of Magdala wrote a book about Jesus, a gospel. ‘Just throw that book away’, the pope said a long time ago, and that happened to almost all of the books that were written by women. Or the Roman Catholic Church said: The books written by women, those are bad books. Even a lot of women were killed because of it.

Yes Hester, and when we heard all this, Dad and I did not want to belong to the Roman Catholic Church any more. We think that men and women are as important. And when we did not want to belong to that church we moved to Monnickendam, ten years ago. because we did not want to tell it to the Ilpendam people. They would not be able to understand it. We did not tell it to you either then, because we thought then, it would be too difficult for you as well. We did tell it to Dirk, and he thought it was rather crazy! And he was very sad because of that.

Then I promised Dirk to explain everything to him later.
I have done it right now, eleven years later.
It has become a long story, it has become a complete book!
And that book I’ll present tomorrow.

So, and now I have told the story to you also,
thus now you have your own story.
Can you understand this story? I think so.
I heartily hope so.

Love and a big kiss from

mum XXX