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Sonnenschein, Hubert L.

sonn1Silver Springs, MD
January 15, 1995
Hubert L. Sonnenschein was born in Terwinselen, The Netherlands, on February 7, 1925. His father died suddenly at a young age, and left his mother with seven young children to raise during World Was II. There were many hardships to be borne in the Netherlands during those years, including separation from his family, when Hubert was a seminary student in Boxtel, Netherlands, and the country was overrun by German soldiers.

After the War he was sent by his missionary congregation (formerly known as the White Fathers, and now, Missionaries of Africa) to a seminary at Jedburgh, Scotland, where he was ordained. In 1952 he was sent as a missionary to Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) in Southern Africa, where he labored for 22 years. There he designed and supervised the building of 12 small churches in the African bush for villagers who lived too far from the main parish church. He was well-known in Malawi as a leader among the missionaries, and as a member of the Priests' Council, he fought for the well-being of African priests, catechists and parishioners, but his zeal, sometimes judged misplaced, was frowned upon by certain members of the hierarchy, and when he left for home leave in 1972, they asked him not to return to Malawi.

He served as a chaplain in a hospital in Holland, and took part in fund-raising for the missions in the United States. In 1973, he married Mary Anne Green, a former Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa. He received a Master's Degree in Education and Counseling from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and became program director for a continuing education operation for developmentally disabled adults in Los Angeles, and then in Stockton, California.

In 1979, he and Mary Anne relocated to the East Coast, and from 1981 until retiring on disability, he taught mathematics at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. He was on kidney dialysis for the last seven years of his life, and he edited a newsletter for people on dialysis. He taught in the RCIA program of St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, and served on the Peace and Justice Committee. His whole life was that of a missionary. He demonstrated concern and care for everyone right to the end. He was a good friend to those patients who were on dialysis machines with him at the center in Washington, D.C. He befriended them all, and brought sandwiches for those patients whom he knew were hungry and living in poverty. He spoke with them and encouraged them...and they loved him!

It all boiled down to Hubert asking himself, "What would Jesus do?" Hubert and Mary Anne considered themselves among the marginalized...but as Hubert so often said: "It is a great honor to be among the marginalized, as Jesus was!" May he rest in the peace and joy of the Lord!