Main stages of the life of Brother Hugo Probst
Hugo was born in Mümliswil (Canton of Solothurn) on May 2, 1948. He had a sister, Margrit, and two brothers: Antony and Peter. Antony is now the only survivor.
Hugo attended high school and apprenticed as a mechanic at Von Roll Klus AG. He entered the SMB seminary in 1969 and began the novitiate at Schöneck the following year. He shared his mechanical knowledge with Brother Dominique Neuhaus at the seminary workshop. From 1972 to 1974, he twice attended English courses in London and a specialization course in car mechanics in Lucerne.
In autumn 1975 Hugo was finally able to travel to Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe. For 8 months he studied the Shona language at Driefontein. Afterwards he took on the management of the garage of the diocese at Gokomere and the training of apprentices.
A serious health problem, a brain tumour, later struck him like a bolt of lightning. He was operated at the University Clinic Zurich. Due to partial paralysis (right hand and leg), Hugo had to undergo therapy sessions in Lucerne and Rheinfelden. Two years later, he was able to return to his former position at Gokomere and continued training three apprentices a year. From 1975-2013 he trained over a hundred craftsmen, who obtained the State Diploma.
Later, when Gokomere Mission was handed over into African hands, the confreres moved to Driefontein. Once a month, Hugo returned to Gokomere to support the apprentices and the garage management.
At the Regional House in Driefontein, Hugo enjoyed more free time, which allowed him to take care of the video library (more than 400 films) and a large choice of TV programmes for the older confreres who were interested in European football. In addition, Hugo lent these films out to secondary schools.
In 2013, after 26 years of apostolate in Southern Africa, Hugo resigned himself to return to Switzerland where he devoted himself to his hobby: collecting and exchanging postage stamps. To keep fit, he forced himself to go for long walks. As a result, he had to undergo right knee surgery and wear an orthopedic shoe on his left foot. Despite his disability and pain, he always kept his good mood and his smile.
The last few months he had more and more difficulty walking and talking. Finally, at the Cantonal hospital of Lucerne, he went into a coma. On November 30, he went to the Lord, his Master, whom he faithfully served all his life.