Ottenburg Reunion
Dec 8, 2008Public
Photo: November 8, 2008.  From New York, Paris, London, Israel, Venezuela and Belgium, descendants of Paul Splingaerd gathered in Ottenburg, Belgium, where Paul grew up as a foster child.  He later traveled to China and became a mandarin.
Photo: The monument (upper right) was erected in December, 2006, a hundred years after Paul Splingaerd's death in Xian, China.  Behind the statue is the historical St. Nicholas church.
Photo: Webmaster Christian Goens, of La Louviere, Belgium, brought along a portrait of Paul Splingaerd, the orphan who became a mandarin.  Christian's website with extensive Splingaerd pages is www.goens-pourbaix.be
Photo: Christian (with Paul), talks with local dignitaries.  Clockwise from Paul's statue:  Dominique Vanpee, former president of the local historical society; Willy Goossens, writer and society secretary; man in blue jacket and young boy are Walter Depre and son, descendants of baby Paul's foster family;  (the back of) Rene Hallet, artist who created the monument;  Marc Verheyden, mayor of Ottenburg.
Photo: Dominique Vanpee (one-man Belgian PR, tourism and information services for our group), artist Rene Hallet, Mayor Mark Verheyden, Christian Goens
Photo: Anne Splingaerd Megowan, center, meets relatives for the first time at Paul's monument.  She organized the gathering, and is the author of Paul Splingaerd's biography, "The Belgian Mandarin."
Photo: Rene Hallet, left, is the artist who created the monument.  Christian Goens at right.
Photo: Catherine Muller Jacob, with son Mathieu, Remy Paternoster taking a close-up of Paul, Christian Goens in red scarf.
Photo: Yolaine Pourbaix de Brouwer, left, is the daughter of Anne's cousin, Paul Pourbaix.
Photo: Dominique led our caravan to the Vandeput farm, where Paul lived as a foster child from age 12, after the Depre family  left the area.
Photo: Cousin Pierre Van Hecke, of Brussels, walking from the old Vandeput farm house
Photo: Sophie Van Hecke, of Waterloo, great granddaughter of Paul's daughter Lucie in front.  Remy Paternoster, her Venezuelan uncle, in middle, Nicole Goens behind Sophie.
Photo: Reunion organizer Anne Splingaerd Megowan and her husband Michael, came from Los Angeles.
Photo: We received a warm welcome at the headquarters of the regional historical society, the "Heemkundige Kring" in Huldenberg,
Photo: At the Kring, Christian gave a powerpoint presentation in French on the life of Lin Fuchen (one of Paul's Chinese names).
Photo: Between Christian's presentatiion and Anne's English language presentation, "In Pursuit of Paul," the Kring treated us to coffee and a  local specialty, a very delicious cheesecake.  Professor Robert Muller (grandson of Paul's daughter Pauline) and his wife Françoise, enjoying our coffee break.
Photo: Here Anne is enjoying her cheesecake and conversation with Kring president, Chris Morias.
Photo: Robert Muller's children are named Catherine and Paul.
Photo: Jean-Pierre Keet's son, Ramy Keshet (in the red t-shirt), came from Israel.
Photo: Dr. Jean-Pierre and Christian chat under the miniature of Paul's statue.  (Desktop copies of the statue may become available for sale to family members by special order.)
Photo: Back at the Leonardo Hotel in Wavre, we had dinner while highlights of Christian's website were running on the screen.
Photo: Anne presented Christian with a poster signed by all present.
Photo: Brigade General Paul on screen, one of the pages from Christian's Splingaerd site, www.goens-pourbaix.be.  (Please visit the site.)
Photo: Yolaine poses with her copy of Anne's book.