By 1930, Catharose de Petri had joined the enterprising, idealistic circle of friends that had been formed around the two brothers Z.W. Leene and J. Leene; at that time, she also saw the new, spiritual ideal and the building of the group before her. She explicitly expressed that she had her own task which, at age of 28, she had received from the Brotherhood, namely ‘from the bonafide Order of the Holy Rosycross’. Although she initially saw no benefit in the formation of a group, the two brothers were nevertheless able to convince her that combined power was stronger.
Her own name was Henny (Hendrikje) Huizer, born in Rotterdam during the turbulent early years of the twentieth century. Her father was a ship builder; as a girl, she attended the MULO (junior high school) and was subsequently employed in an office. In an article in the weekly Het Vaderland Weekjournaal (The Fatherland News of the Week) we can read that, as a young girl, she was, just like her friend and brother Jan Leene, wholly occupied by many vital questions, such as the purpose and essence of human life here on earth. She spoke about how these problems had already intensely occupied her by the age of eight. And somewhere else she wrote: ‘Already in our youth, Mr. Van Rijckenborgh and I saw the gnostic past dawn before our consciousness as the connecting link of our tasks in life in the present in the service of humanity. [...] The consciousness of the personality hardly made its power available to the physical vehicle, which was the reason why we were called misunderstood dreamers at the time.’
And misunderstood she was. Her father and mother came from different denominations within the various reformed churches in The Netherlands, but neither of them was an active believer. For her, just as for J. Leene, the ordinary Christian instruction was far from sufficient to answer her vital questions, and she found the catechism classes she attended with a Dutch reformed minister in Rotterdam unsatisfactory. Just like J. Leene, she attended the MULO and she was subsequently employed in an office. She some- times reiterated how she suffered through working conditions during her youth that did not allow her to share her inner world with her colleagues. During those years, she did not associate much with colleagues or friends; she felt that she had become somewhat alienated from them. They did not understand her mode of life and often she was mocked or derided for her spiritual inclination, which was quite different certainly for that time.
As she became older, she increasingly felt that she had a calling, as she was continuously occupied with the question of what comprised the basis of her life. In 1929, she married H.J. Stok. He brought her into contact with the Dutch Rosicrucian Society. During an inner experience, and after much philosophical and religious contemplation, she experienced her task in the form of an etheric dove, which appeared as if from an azure vault. Ever since that moment, she was certain that 'the Rosycross as a Spiritual School with spiritual power should be proclaimed to all who yearn for the liberation of the soul. Later, also much has been revealed to me, the fruits of which have in the meantime been revealed in the Spiritual School of the Young-Gnostic Brotherhood.’
She assumed the spiritual name ‘Catharose de Petri’ in the mid- 1950’s. This name was received from Gadal: ‘Catha-Rose – because the word katharos is not the property of a single category of people. Becoming a pur, a parfait lies within the possibilities of the whole world. This represents the link of the microcosm with the Cathar Brotherhood and the Brotherhood of the Rosycross, based on the cornerstone that is Christ. In addition, referring to her spiritual name, she said that it was actually exclusively meant for the benefit of the Spiritual School and the people assembled in it. She also used this name in the outside world, ‘not because of its greater musicality, but because I want to make my own personal life subservient to my task, in the service of all […].' Gadal gave her this name in homage, after many years of preparation and testing. ‘She should,’ she explained later, ‘be able to testify to the divine power that liberates the human being from his material being. And before one is able to testify to this power, one should first prepare oneself to receive it consciously, in order subsequently to be able to use it.’
We continue to read in the same article, ‘I received a confirmation of my divine task unasked for and without having spoken with him about it before, from the hands of A. Gadal. After a second meeting with this patriarch, he handed me, ‘as recognition and acknowledgement’, a silk cloth, designed by himself, with the motive of a white dove with spread wings, in an azure field.’ Her new name simultaneously implied a new task. And this task, which also concerned an internal aspect of the work, deserves to be mentioned. Asked what task this concerned, and what its purpose was, she wrote:
‘The name actually expresses a directness of life that is closely linked with the striving of the School: the trinity of Grail, Cathar and Rosycross, which is manifested on the unshakable rock. This concerns, amongst other things, forging this Triple Alliance of the Light into a harmonious unity in a newly formed Grail community, together with its accompanying representation in matter.’
The School did not get around to this task, the establishment of the community of the Grail, until 1969. This was a work that could be undertaken (and is to this day maintained and continued) by workers who have been loyal for years. Catharose de Petri was not able wholly to devote herself to it until, in 1970, she was able to entrust the active leadership of the Spiritual School to the International Spiritual Directorate.
We may certainly say that J. van Rijckenborgh epitomised – and in many respects still epitomises – the modern Spiritual School. However, Catharose de Petri was in all respects the guardian of the inner structure. It was she who consolidated and promoted the high level of the internal organisation and its development. Certainly, the later Grandmasters had cooperated in the years before 1945, but the situation between 1935 and 1945 was nevertheless quite different. During that period before the war, the Leene brothers intensively cooperated in quite a few respects with many different friends. The friendship of Wim and Jan Leene with Cor Damme, in particular, was of great significance.
As of 1946, Catharose de Petri’s task and position in the work received its special prominence after the foundation of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum. Her great significance lies in the fact that while in Albi, she, together with J. van Rijckenborgh, received the task of establishing a new Mystery School for the West. Together, they founded an inner school for the development of the soul, a true mystery school, on the basis of the seven rays of the Universal Spirit. During the forty-four years of her service to the great work, Catharose de Petri safeguarded this school in all respects. She was able to do so on the basis of her spiritual authority, her thorough knowledge of the work and her great confidence in the power of the Christ vibration, which immediately appears when a person is able to put aside his individuality.