In the beginning...It was 21 July 1927. A large number of land owners gathered at notary office Schreuder in the village of Dalfsen. They met with the Sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart and The Roman Catholic Church.
To the Sisters, they sold a 2000 square meter plot of land, on which a convent and gardens were to be build. The Roman Catholic Church became the proud owner of over 3000 square meters of land, reserved for a nursery school, a primary school and a sowing school.
No time was wasted and on 28 July, 1927, constructors Jonker and Tienkamp from nearby Nieuw-Amsterdam were contracted. Building commenced shortly after and lasted until 1928.
Architect C. Hardeman designed the buildings. The total sum was estimated to be 20.358,64 Dutch Guilders.
Pastor Galema was a pastor in Dalfsen from 14 May 1926 to 31 January 1931, and he wished to promote Catholic education. Therefore, upon completion of the convent and the school buildings, he sent for the “Sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” in Moerdijk. They arrived at the railway station in Dalfsen on 2 March 1928 and were welcomed by Pastor Galema, the Church board and many other interested people.
Sisters move from Moerdijk to Dalfsen
In three cars, they drove into the village and to the new convent. The school was formally opened in April 1928. Pastor Galama stated: ”With the greatest of confidence, the school will be placed into the trusted hands of these Sisters, who sacrificed their lives for their fellow men.”
Moving from homely Brabant to this quiet parish near the river Vecht, had been a big change in the Sister’s lives. They had been accustomed to the soft and friendly dialect of Brabant people. Now, they needed to get used to a different mentality and a difference in speech, including the biting off of words, which is custom in Salland.
Partly due to the deep sense of religion, religious calling soon proved fruitful, as Sisters Gabriëlla Herbrink, Gerarda Kloppenberg, Ambrosia Butink, Jaqueline Butink, Matthia Butink, Joanny Herbrink and Borromea Jacobs joined ranks. They were living proof of the good relationship between the Sisters and the local Catholic Community.
To deepen the youth’s sense of religion, at an early age, school children would function as altar boys and acolytes during religious celebrations. At the Sister’s convent, the soon to be acolytes practiced their Latin pronunciation, using cards with phonetically written Latin words on them. Dalfsen youth also studied multi-vocal masses and performed them at ecclesiastic occasions. When J. Galama, himself a musically gifted man, was pastor (he was the second one with this name, 1941-1950), they would study four-voice psalms under supervision of Miss Martha Nijenhuis. Pastor Galema himself would supervise the final presentation.
Youth’s participation at Celebrations
On Sunday 10 May 1953, the Sisters celebrated their Silver Jubilee. On this beautifully sunny day, they walked with the Congregation board through the festively decorated Oosterstraat to the Catholic Church. There, they were met by Pastor Steenkamp and at least 21 acolytes, who welcomed the Sisters into the brimming Church. This Silver Jubilee of the school and the nuns was eagerly anticipated. On the eve of 8 May, when the nuns had gone to bed, two wooden platforms were secretly placed in front of the Convent’s gate. One of the sisters, who happened to look outside, sighed: ”Here we go!”
The Sisters leave Dalfsen
In 1962, the primary school was entrusted to laymen: the nuns no longer taught here.They were, however, still committed to the V.G.L.O.-school (the old sowing school), until 1968, and the pre-school “De Zonnige Kant” (“The Sunny Side”) until 1972. After 36 years of hard work in education and health, the Sisters left the parish and the village. At their farewell reception, they were each praised extensively for their work. Some had been committed to the school, others to health care and nursing in the community, and still other at the convent. “You have all been a very valuable link between the schools, the church and the community”, said Pastor Wansink. This was on 16 August 1964, the same day on which the Sisters became honorary parish members. Five of the nine Sisters moved to a nearby convent in Lemelerveld, from which they continued organising education and “White-Yellow” Cross services. The convent and surrounding land in Dalfsen was taken over by the church board and was later sold to Jacobs Furnishing.
Nowadays the convent serves as a Bed & Breakfast and a meeting place, whilst also organising Solex and Puch tours around Dalfsen.
Source: Historische Kring Dalfsen