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Fr Cuthbert—“the heartbeat” of Pax Yogurt

Fr Cuthbert van de Sande stands in front of a vat in the factory at the Mount in 2014. Fr Cuthbert was honoured by the Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Friday, April 28, 1995 by bestowing on him a Knighthood in the Order of Oranje-Nassau for his contribution to religion. Photo by Raymond Syms

Even as he ambled along with a walking stick, the then 89-year-old Fr van de Sande frequented the yogurt plant overseeing and assisting. He was even sighted in Massy St Augustine when a shipment of yogurt is delivered.

In a July 2014 interview with Catholic News Senior Writer Lara Pickford- Gordon about how he started yogurt making, Fr van de Sande said he was always doing something in the kitchen at the Mount. When there were goats, he made goat cheese, when there were no more goats he “started something else with milk”. He made cheese and yogurt for his fellow monks. Of the yogurt, he said, “They liked it and they said why don’t I sell this in the shops.”

Van de Sande said he grew up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands and learnt to make cheese using milk from the family’s cows. The original cultures used when he started experimenting with yogurt came from his sister who lived in a village where yogurt is made.

When Fr van de Sande was coming up with the yogurt recipe he let others taste.  He said, “I never taste it myself to prove if I like it or not. I never did strangely enough.” Fr Cuthbert was asked if he liked consuming yogurt and said he “very seldom” ate it.  However, he nodded and smiled when asked if he felt a sense of satisfaction about Pax Yogurt’s popularity and assisting the Mount. (Excerpt from CN article page 8, August 3, 2014 ‘A Taste of Mt St Benedict’.