Blessed Edward Joannes Maria Poppe was born 18 December 1890 at Moerzeke, belgium.
Son of Dèsirè, a baker, and Josefa, he was one of eleven children; one brother became a priest, five sisters were nuns. Raised
in a pious and hard working family, Edward was an energetic, almost hyperactive child, but an excellent student who early
felt a call to the priesthood. His father died in January 1907, and Edward wanted to take over the family business, but his
mother insisted that he continue his studies. Seminarians were subject to military service, and in September 1910 Edward was
drafted; being a seminarian made him the target for much harassment. Entered Louvain Seminary on 13 march 1912, and in Ghent
Seminary in September 1913. Served as battlefield nurse during World War I during which his health was nearly ruined, and
his prayers to Saint Joseph led to the miraculous freeing of several prisoners of war.
|Cloth touched to relic of E.J.M. Poppe
Ordained on 1 May 1916. Associate pastor at Saint Collette's, Ghent, Belgium, a
struggling parish where he had strong ministry to the poor, children and the dying, taught catechism, founded Eucharistic
associations, and worked against the secularization of life in his city. His health suffering, he was transferred to rural
Moerzeke where he served from 1918 to 1922 as rector a religious community. He suffered a heart attack on 11 May 1919, and
spent his recuperation studying, praying, and writing hundreds of articles and thousands of letters against Marxism, secularism,
and materialism. Edward developed a devotion to Saint Therese of Lisieux, visiting her tomb in 1920, and adopting her "little
way". He organized teachers in an evangelization campaign, and his home became a center of organization, prayer and spiritual
rebirth. Spiritual director of seminarians doing military service in October 1922. He suffered another heart attack on 1 January
1924, and his health deteriorated rapidly, but he worked tirelessly in his remaining months, encouraging the laity and seminarians.
He died on 10 June 1925 of a stroke.
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