On the morning of Sunday 27th June Dawn Geiges gave us the terrible news that there had been a fire in their home, and that Urs had tragically died in the flames. Many members of Contemplative Outreach South Africa were completely shocked and saddened by this news. Urs was one of the founding giants of Contemplative Outreach South Africa who used his deep faith and immense energy to lay the foundations of the movement as it took root in South Africa. He and Dawn had hosted Father Thomas Keating when he visited South Africa in the early days, and were thus privileged to know Father Thomas at an intimate level. Contemplative Outreach grew and grew first under his leadership, followed by Dawn, when the onset of Parkinson’s Disease blunted his physical ability to continue. Dawn eventually handed over the baton to Janie Potgieter, who poured her energy indefatigably into nurturing the living organism that is Contemplative Outreach in the Western Cape. During this stage Urs and Dawn continued shaping and supporting Contemplative Outreach by actively taking part in the Steering Committee as honorary members. Although Parkinson’s had slowed Urs down physically, he was still an intellectual giant.
A memorial service was held in Urs’s memory at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Somerset West. Aside from the logistics of organising this memorial with all the restrictions which Covid had necessitated, two of Dawn’s family contracted Covid, and all the plans had to be rescheduled. A number of Urs and Dawn’s family and friends were there, as well as colleagues and fellow Contemplatives. Speaker after speaker spoke of Urs’s strength, unconditional love, wisdom, loyalty, his leadership style and skills, his faithfulness, his unique sense of humour. Urs was indeed a pillar upon whom many leant. He is sadly missed by all, and our hearts, love and support go out to Dawn.
We thank God for the gift that was Urs. May his dear soul rest in peace.