Farewell to Bro. Daniel Hitz †

Hitz DanielBorn:  28.3.1938.
Entry into the SMB:   3.12.1961.

Mission Seminary Schöneck/Emmetten:
Draftsman for several renovations:  1961–1968.

Mission House Bethlehem Immensee:
Draftsman for new and renovated buildings:  1968–1978.
Head of the community of brothers:  1972–1982.
Gross shipping for home and Mission:  1978–2010.

Sacristan:  2010–2015.

Died:  3.12.2015.

We were all surprised by the death of Br. Daniel, indeed startled. We ask ourselves what his death has to tell us. Several brothers sat together after his death to ask ourselves this question. Here are some of the character traits of Daniel we particularly noticed.

What chiefly impressed us about Daniel, was his constant readiness to help. Whatever had to be done, he was ready for it. No work was too lowly or too cumbersome for him. Originally he came from the building profession, a trained draftsman. In his time at the seminary, he drew up the plans for the renovation of the brothers’ residence at the seminary and the holiday home in Obersaxen and then participated as a painter in the renovations.

In 1968 he moved to the Mission House Immensee, where his expertise was in great demand in the construction of the Upper Gymnasium, the water reservoir and the staff dining rooms and where he also dealt with the overall planning of the Mission House. From 1972 to 1982 he served as head of the community of brothers here.

And when his services were demanded in the shipping department, he worked there from 1972 to 2010 and took over the shipment for the confreres in the overseas missions. Since 2010 he was also responsible for the retail shipping of the children’s mission magazine “Jumi”. One of Daniels hallmarks was his proverbial helpfulness. For example, if a confrere discovered at the last moment before his return that his luggage was too heavy, he could confidently turn to Daniel.

2010 Daniel accepted the office of sacristan in the main chapel. What struck us particularly about his service was his devotedness. Except when he was on vacation, he got up on a daily basis at an unearthly hour to air the chapel, so that the organ took no harm. Even with extraordinary daily routines he could be relied on to ring the bell in addition to his other services. He showed the same loyalty with the times of prayer and it was mostly as a prayer leader.

Another of Daniel’s traits: He could indeed get excited and upset over matters of substance. For example, as we all know, over the plans regarding the project “Living in Bethlehem”. He expressed his opinion unmistakably, but never criticized a confrere behind his back. On the contrary, he would exhort us to refrain from such criticism. In that he remains a role model for us.

If I had to choose one adjective to characterize Daniel, I would choose “pious”. But not in today‘s often almost contemptuous sense. He was not a bigot. He was imbued with a religious belief, devotional and meek. Pious also means capable, brave and righteous. What he did for us, was for our benefit. God will surely say to him: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Daniel lived the simplicity recommended by our founder, as few others did. His wardrobe was probably the simplest of any of ours and he made no demands. He put his own needs in the last place. Although this was an ideal, sadly, it was detrimental to his own health. He did somewhat spare himself lately and rested in the late afternoon. But two weeks ago when he did not feel well, he unfortunately put the needs of the community above his personal well-being.

Dear Daniel, you were convinced: We are citizens of heaven. You trusted wholeheartedly in Jesus’ words: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” We also rely on this word. As you return to your final destination now, we ask you not to forget us. May the concerns of our community continue to be your concern.

Laurenz Schelbert ■