vrijdag, maart 23, 2018

Digna Hintzen							Digna loved flowers, it said on the funeral announcement. And flowers loved her. The choir of the Kievitkerk in Wassenaar, where her farewell service was held on February 16, was completely covered with flower arrangements, while the sun shone through the windows of a packed church. The whole service  was marked with tremendous gratitude for Digna's adventurous life, but there was also the sense of disbelief that so suddenly she was no longer there. During the musical intervals photos were projected of a joyous and lively Digna, amidst family and friends.

Her oldest son Herman said: ' You were still so active. We thought you would become a 100, as is customary in our family. ' He illustrated  her life with a few key words. Adventure: For 15 years before his birth she lived out of suitcases. Equally adventurous was his upbringing and that of his younger brother Rein. Then there was her great faith and trust that things would turn out well. The basis of this lay in the quiet time with which she began each day. It was a moment to look inward at her own life and also to think about what she could mean for others. And there were many others. Her sons discovered 1200 email addresses, with which she had been in contact. According to both sons, her rock-solid faith in God made her very independent. Rein: ' She was so dependent on God that she could be independent of others. ' Herman: ' and in the same independent manor in which you lived, you have now left us. How we shall miss your humour, your puns and the in-depth talks. '

The Kievitkerk was her spiritual home. She was always a colorful presence, according to Rev. Jilles de Klerk. ‘She involved us all in what she was passionate about. There burned an unquenchable fire in her. The fire of faith, hope and love. Up till the end it burned. It did not fizzle out. ' In his sermon he recalled how Digna always searched for the positive. And that she always found it! When things didn't work out or were difficult, she did not become bitter or cynical. God then had apparently a different plan. He also mentioned  the silence for which Digna took time every morning. A moment to re-focus her faith, driven and disciplined. Rev. De Klerk: ' Her faith and her actions were intimately intertwined. Her faith in God's plan meant that she herself made plans for the here and now. She was incurably missionary, in a manner that would put many a preacher to shame. She lived by the words of the Sermon on the Mount.  Her life purpose was to build bridges across divides in a broken world. '


Besides her sons and the minister, Digna's life was sketched by two granddaughters, a daughter-in-law, a brother, a nephew and friends. Her brother Ton told how Digna's father, Frits Philips, took her as a young girl to Caux in 1947, to the Moral Rearmament Conference Centre in Switzerland. There she decided to dedicate her life, at the age of 15, to the ideal of creating a better world through a change in people, starting with herself. Everything she had since then undertaken grew from this decision, as illustrated by the talk of Lotty Wolvekamp, who spoke on behalf of the countless friends of Moral Rearmament, now Initiatives of Change (IofC).

Lotty Wolvekamp: ' Digna grew up in a close family that was interested the world. A devastating war marked her teenage years. After that war, Digna accepted the challenge, along with thousands of peers from all continents and many countries, to work for reconstruction, for building new bridges of trust between people, countries and nations who until recently had been engaged in a bloody war.  Personal ambitions and plans were set aside. A number of friends of that first hour is now here in the Church.

Just as her husband Peter, and together with him, she was in Germany, a country where she built friendships which she maintained to the end of her life. Friendships that became the basis for reconciliation, reconstruction and new challenges. Her commitment was also evident in Caux, the IofC International Conference Centre, which she helped build and shape.

Digna loved to read and tell stories, to old and young. Stories that could inspire. When in the Seventies of the previous century, Moral Rearmament in Netherlands launched a series of family conferences, she was fully involved. When this initiative continued on an international level in Caux, she was equally involved. For many years, together with others, she organised the care for young children in Caux. In recent years the CATS Conference takes place at Caux: children as actors in transforming society.  Several times she took part in these and was able share from her long experience.

Positive change

Digna loved to write and it made her happy. She had a part in the biography about Charlotte van Beuningen, A new world for my grandchildren. Her articles in 'Nieuw Wereld Nieuws', under the heading 'Seen through women's eyes', are bundled into a book. She wrote numerous letters and emails. Her fingers and pen were patient. Her kitchen table and her desk were always littered with papers and notes.

When speaking of IofC in the Netherlands, her husband Peter and Digna, together with Aad and Josiene Burger, played a crucial role. Their two families lived together for years in the  IofC-Centre in Wassenaar, with countless activities, receptions, meetings. But what made this foursome so special, was the space they gave to succeeding generations to shape and carry out their own convictions.

For almost ten years Digna was president of the Frits Philips Fund, within IofC. This fund made allowances available to mostly young people on all continents to carry out their ideas and projects for positive change. She really enjoyed all of the requests, discussions and decisions -  "there are so many possibilities". Last year the fund was used up.

Latin America

But what Digna was really passionate about was Latin America. In the 1950's she was part of a small group that set out from Europe for Brasil, Uruguay and Argentina. Later, together with her husband, also Colombia. Every year Digna went, first together with Peter and later alone or with other friends, to Colombia. Her many articles in various IofC publications bear witness to all she and Peter contributed and experienced there. Both were honored by the Colombian Government for their long and faithful work.’

Lotty Wolvekamp, turning towards the coffin: ‘Digna, you come from a family that established a large global concern. But no one can judge the value of the invisible worldwide concern you established through your faithful friendships spread out over many generations on all continents, and especially in your beloved Latin America.'

Hennie de Pous-de Jonge

Translated in English by Maarten de Pous