Jacques Clemens

Last updated
Jacques Clemens
Born(1909-07-11)11 July 1909
The Hague, Netherlands
Died 7 March 2018(2018-03-07) (aged 108)
Loverval, Wallonia, Belgium
Residence Wallonia, Belgium
Nationality Dutch

Jacques Clemens (11 July 1909 – 7 March 2018) was a Dutch Catholic priest. He was the parish priest of The Bultia (Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes, Belgium) from 1958. Between 2016 and his death on 7 March 2018 at the age of 108 he was thought to be the oldest living priest. [1]

Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes Municipality in French Community, Belgium

Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006, Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes had a total population of 13,364. The land area is 45.68 km2 (18 sq mi), which gives a population density of 293 inhabitants per km².



Early life

Jacques Clemens was born on 11 July 1909 in The Hague, Netherlands. After his novitiate and studies in philosophy, he studied theology at the major seminary in Liège and was ordained a priest in Liège Cathedral on 5 July 1936. [2]


The novitiate, also called the noviciate, is the period of training and preparation that a Christian novice monastic, apostolic, or member of a religious order undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether he or she is called to vowed religious life. It often includes times of intense study, prayer, living in community, studying the vowed life, deepening one's relationship with God, and deepening one's self-awareness. It is a time of creating a new way of being in the world. The novitiate stage in most communities is a two-year period of formation. These years are "Sabbath time" to deepen one's relationship with God, to intensify the living out of the community's mission and charism, and to foster human growth. The novitiate experience for many communities includes a concentrated program of prayer, study, reflection and limited ministerial engagement.

Philosophy intellectual and/or logical study of general and fundamental problems

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.


He was a teacher at the Seminar of Gerpinnes (now St. Augustine College). In 1944 Clemens was appointed Vicar of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes (south of Charleroi) and Chaplain at The Bultia, a hamlet in the village without its own place of worship. The Church of Saint-Benoît was completed in 1957 and on 1 January 1958 Clemens officially became the first parish priest of the new parish, remaining there for 67 years. [2]

Seminar form of academic instruction

A seminar is a form of academic instruction, either at an academic institution or offered by a commercial or professional organization. It has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject, in which everyone present is requested to participate. This is often accomplished through an ongoing Socratic dialogue with a seminar leader or instructor, or through a more formal presentation of research. It is essentially a place where assigned readings are discussed, questions can be raised and debates can be conducted.

Gerpinnes Municipality in French Community, Belgium

Gerpinnes is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On 1 January 2006 the municipality had 12,030 inhabitants. The total area is 47.10 km², giving a population density of 255 inhabitants per km².

A vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior. Linguistically, vicar is cognate with the English prefix "vice", similarly meaning "deputy". The title appears in a number of Christian ecclesiastical contexts, but also as an administrative title, or title modifier, in the Roman Empire. In addition, in the Holy Roman Empire a local representative of the emperor, perhaps an archduke, might be styled "vicar".

Later life

Clemens's health deteriorated following a fall at the age of 102 and he decided to reduce his activities [3] . He retired in 2015 but continued to provide religious services on Sundays. [1] He celebrated his 108th birthday on 11 July 2017. [4]

He died on 7 March 2018 at the age of 108.

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  1. 1 2 "Jacques Clemens has been a priest for 79 years" . Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Le père Clémens est le nouveau doyen des Belges" (in French). Cathobel. May 8, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  3. "107 jaar oud, 80 jaar priester en nog altijd actief" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  4. "108 ans pour l'ancien curé, doyen du Bénélux" (in French). Retrieved 2018-03-02.