History

The very remote grounds of 120 ha at the Noordervaart was purchased in 1893 by the friars. At the nearby village of Heibloem, 3 km away, already stood a convent of the same order. Every day, all the friars and the children present at the convent went to Stokershorst to cultivate it. The children were orphans or were placed out of their homes, to get an education at the convent. In the 1900s the main building of the new convent was consecrated and in 1903, 70 children lived there already. They could stay until sixteen and were given an education to be a painter, smith, or furniture maker.  Only in 1910 there came different workplaces for these various professions, alongside a farm to educate the children. In 1906 the first Sunday services could be held at the Neo Roman church, also accessible for local people.

From September 1944 the convent came to be in the crossfires of German troops. The 150 boys and 40 friars were scattered and didn’t return, not even after the war. This was because a new rule forbade these kinds of institutions to be located at a remote location. Also, the entire convent was destroyed, except for the boys’ dorm room and the dining room. It became a rest home for the retired friars, but in 1972 the last residents also left. 

The house came to be in private possession and for the last decades was used as a retreat center for adults. Times change and convents disappear. Religion makes way for a wider spirituality, as happened here at Stokershorst.

In 2016 the estate was bought by laymen and the Foundation of Stokershorst became a fact. The goal was to create a loving place for youngsters who were having a hard time participating in society, and also start a work- and living community which would be as self-sufficient and ecological as possible. The quiet, the beautiful nature and the remoteness did a lot of good to the young people who stayed here temporarily. Unfortunately this initiative had to end after two years, because government funding was no longer available. 

The owners wished to hand over the spiritual place, without losing its soul and healing purposes. Thankfully the Universe provided; at the end of 2018 two young entrepreneurs started the acquisition of Stokershorst, with the main goal: to bring Inner Peace to all that would stay there. 

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Stokershorst 1 6034 RG Nederweert-Eind
info@innessence.org
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