Taipei, Antoine Henri Marie Pierrot a much-revered Catholic priest from the Netherlands who devoted most of his life to Taiwan, died Friday at the age of 96 in Yunlin County.
"Please join us in praying for the repose of the soul of Fr. Antoine Henri Marie Pierrot S.A.M. who was called home to heaven this morning 4:00 a.m. at St. Joseph's Hospital in Huwei, Yunlin," the hospital announced in a Facebook post.
Vice President Chen Chien-jen expressed condolences over Pierrot's death and urged the public to follow his suit to use love to make Taiwan a better place.
Pierrot, who came to Taiwan in 1954 aged 31, established St. Joseph's Hospital in 1956 with another priest, Belgian Georges Massin to take care of poor people in remote rural areas.
To help raise funds for the hospital, Pierrot went to the United States twice and preached there for 10 years before returning to Taiwan in 1970.
Since then, he devoted his entire life to the hospital and looked after people in need from Yunlin and other coastal areas of the country.
In addition to establishing a medical care network to serve people in central and coastal areas of western Taiwan, Pierrot also founded the St. Joseph Social Welfare Foundation, a charity organization.
In honor of his outstanding contributions, he was awarded multiple medals from Republic of China presidents, government and charity groups, including the Alien Permanent Resident Lifelong Contribution Award from the Ministry of the Interior in 2011 and the Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon from former President Ma Ying-jeou in 2015.
As such a dear friend to the people of Yunlin over the past 60 years, Pierrot viewed Taiwan as his homeland and always described himself as "Taiwanese."
A keen photographer, the cleric took many pictures of ordinary people and life in many rural areas of Taiwan. An exhibition of his photos taken between 1954 and 1984 across Taiwan was held in Douliu, Yunlin in 2016.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel