Fr. Heinz Hesselfeld,SVD

1930 Born in Lohn-Moorkamp, Germany
1952 Entering the Divine Word Seminary
1954 First vows in the society
1958 Final vows and on the same year was assigned to Germany
1965 Received a doctorate in physics from the Catholic University of America
1966 ~ 1984 served at Xinzhuang Fujen University
1984 ~ 1986 Visiting Professor at Divine Word University, Tacloban, Philippines
1987 ~ 1988 Returned to Germany to help establish the "China Center"
1989 ~ 2003 Founding Director of Sino-German Joint Institute of Nanchang University
2003 He was honored as a Lifetime Honorary Dean of Sino-German Joint Institute of Nanchang University
2005 Honorary Doctor of Science and Technology awarded by Fu Jen University
2009 Won a commendation from Jiangxi Provincial Department of Education

Fr. Hesselfeld was born in 1930 in Lohne-Moorkamp near Oldenburg. After elementary school he came to the high school of the Steyler Missionaries in Bad Driburg in 1947.

After passing his A-levels, Fr. Hesselfeld joined the SVD, did his novitiate in Sankt Augustin, studied philosophy and theology, and bound himself to the Steyler Mission Society in 1958 with his ordination to the priesthood. After a pastoral year in Munich, he was assigned to China Province.

The provincial then designated him for the mountain mission. But soon after, the founding of Fu-Jen University was discussed and in preparation for his assignment, Fr. Hessefeld studied English in Liverpool and physics and mathematics in Washington DC.

He then worked for a long time at the Fu Jen University, where the Steyler missionaries were entrusted with teaching science and languages. "In our group of 13 nationalities, we were always convinced that it was worth teaching young people in addition to the purely technical focus: Christian love, respect for the dignity of all, mercy, willingness to make sacrifices," wrote Hesselfeld to Germany. In 1974 he also became a pastor of the German community in Taipei.

Fr. Hesselfeld spent the year 1987-1988 in Germany to prepare the "Nanchang Project" with the East Asia Institute (OAI). During this time, he also participated intensively in the preparatory work for the establishment of the China Center in Sankt Augustin. Father Hesselfeld successfully had numerous conversations, which he carefully recorded and which then allowed the formal establishment of the China Center on September 29, 1988.

From 1989, he and his brother Karl Specht built a food institute on mainland China at Nanchang University in Jiangxi Province with support from Germany. Until his retirement (2003), he was vice director of the institute and at the same time an honorary dean at Nanchang University.

When he got to know the problems of the rural population in the remote areas, where children have to travel up to 11 kilometers to school every day, he decided to act: with the help of his German homeland and the support of the local administrative authorities, he built student dormitories at central elementary schools in poor rural communities of Jiangxi Province. Hesselfeld worked tirelessly - until his health deteriorated.

The Society thanked him for his loyal service in the Lord's vineyard in Taiwan, the Philippines and mainland China. We mourned with the young churches in Asia who have lost a good shepherd. The SVD also thanked his relatives and benefactors who have encouraged and supported him.