The loving guardian of slow-flying angels in Taiwan
Father Beunen, a Dutch young priest, was sent to China as a missionary, then he came to Taiwan as director of Information Center of Vatican Embassy. At the end of 1971, he found a baby inside a basket in front of the Catholic Church. This was the first child he adopted, since then children with physical and mental disabilities were sent to the Catholic Church. In order to take care of more children who have been abandoned by their parents because of physical defects, Father Beunen returned to his hometown for fund-raising. On December 28th of the following year (1972), Taipei St. Anne's Home was established mainly to shelter the children with considerable or severe physical and mental disabilities.
During those years, Father Beunen gave these abandoned children a home, so that they could be legally registered. Sometimes for household registration there was not enough time to think over a proper name for the baby, so one was called "Tang-qian Lee " or "Wan-lai Bai", which meant the baby was picked up before the church, or found in the night.
Someone asked Father Beunen, "how did you have so many silly children?" because these children really called him "father". They are all Father Beunen 's treasure. During the early days, the situation was so hard that Father Beunen lived frugally, dressed used clothes from donations and even used half sheets of the toilet paper. However, he wanted his children to wear new clothes and use the best things.
Father Beunen thought that these children are the embodiments of angels. He said: "Who is more pure than they are? They will not do bad things, and it is easier for them to enter into heaven than us. Maybe one day I am blocked outside the door of heaven, these children will open it to let me in."
Father Beunen dedicated his whole life taking care of Taiwan's children with physical and mental disabilities. He died at St. Anne's Home on January 2, 2002, the place created by his own hands and loved wholeheartedly.
Father Beunen's charitable achievements got various affirmations. Pope John Paul II awarded him the Cross in 1993, the Dutch queen conferred him the title of Duke of Oranje-Nassau in 1995, and Providence University awarded him Honorary Doctorate.
In order to keep the spirit of helping the poor, the Chinese Province of the Congregation of the Mission set up the "Beunen Foundation" on March 2, 2001 to let the light of love continue.