1953 - 1955 - Fr Henk Schram OMI

Joseph Cardijn to Fr Henk Schram OMI

18 June 1953                     9 June 1955                   23 September 1955


This is a series of letters from Joseph Cardijn to Dutch priest, Fr Henk Schram OMI, who played a key role in the founding of the YCW in Sri Lanka (or Ceylon as it was then known).

Thanks to historian Jo Schoormans for making available this correspondence.

Letter of 18 June 1953 

Brussels, June 18th 1953 

Very Reverend Father SCHRAM, O.M.I., 

"St. Mary's", 
3, Maliban Street, 

Very Reverend and Dear Father, 

I thank you for your happy letter of the 5th of May, with all the good news you gave us. May God bless your plans for the good of the working youth in Ceylon and in the whole of Asia. For, more than ever, I am convinced that Ceylon has to fulfill a missionary task in the Far East and must help prepare the lay-missionaries for the other countries. 

1. Your division into three groups : young ones, older ones, friends appears to be perfect to me. 

- The young ones have to be directed towards formation through action, projects and conquests. 

- The older ones towards job-improvements, but also towards social and familial improvements; not just being satisfied with negative work : anti-communism. 

- The friends will have to remain especially unselfish and not take over the leadership. 

2. I am praying fervently that the sisters of Ragama - old propagandists - may come to Colombo; they will do a wonderful job there, just like the Canonnesses of Heverlee have done in the Philippines. I will insist at the Motherhouse in Kortrijk so that they will be supported from there. 

Forward, Dear Father ! I am counting a lot on all of you. We are at a turning-point. The events are moving quickly forward now. We have no time to lose. 

You must have received an invitation of Arnold Wijnants of the International Secretariat of the Y.C.W., to prepare a report on the situation of the Working youth in Ceylon, this in preparation of the Asian Meeting in Japan next September, and where one uses that inquiry. We have a great role to play there, but the Y.C.W. of the different countries have to inform us in time. 

Stay especially in close contact with the International Secretariat of the Y.C.W., which puts itself completely at your service and will do everything possible to help you. 

Many greetings and best wishes, and thanks and affection to all your co-workers, and my respectful greetings to his Excellence the Archbishop and to the Very Reverend Grand-Vicar. 

On 29th. of June, I will leave for Congo. Ask fervent prayers of all the YCWs for this new missionary trip. 

In Christo 


Jos. Cardijn, 

General Chaplain of the Y.C.W. 

Joseph Cardijn to Fr Henk Schram OMI

18 June 1953                     9 June 1955                   23 September 1955