Brian Bergkamp might have pondered the words of Christ many a times in his life: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15: 13). The everlasting words of Jesus must be the driving force that inspired this Kansas seminarian to risk his life into saving a woman who was drowning in the Arkansas River.
Bergkamp was just 24 years old, when he followed his master’s commandment. He had just finished his second year at seminary and was preparing for priesthood in 2018.
The fatal incident occurred on 9th July this year. Bergkamp was kayaking with four friends in the Arkansas River, when a woman in their group fell out into the river that had just turned wild.
The seminarian, who jumped into the river after the woman, succeeded in rescuing her, but eventually succumbed to the strong undercurrent before he could save himself.
The body of the seminarian was discovered on 28th July.
The fellow seminarians of Brother Bergkamp testify that they are not surprised by his act of self-sacrifice to save the life of another.
Father Kenneth Brighenti, Mt. St. Mary’s University Vice Rector, said that ‘he would go out of his way to help someone and forget about his own, probably, self in the process’. “So what he did was a very natural thing for him,” Father added.
Fellow seminarian Jimmy Schibi opined that Brother Bergkamp was deeply faithful and generous. “He was never about himself, always looking to do something for others, never thinking of himself,” Schibi said. “Probably one of the most selfless individuals that I’d ever met” he added.