Thursday, May 30, 2013

Last of the Beguines

A medieval movement comes to an end. To quote:
Marcella Pattyn was born in the Belgian Congo on August 18 1920 and, as a child, dreamed of entering a missionary religious order. But as she was almost blind she was rejected by several communities. It was only when a rich aunt intervened with a donation that she was accepted into the beguinage of St Amandsberg in Ghent in 1941.

There, and at the beguinage of St Elizabeth at Courtrai, where she moved in 1960, she spent her days praying, knitting clothes, weaving and making Beguine dolls, which she sold to tourists. She played the organ in the chapel and gave comfort to the sick by entertaining them on the banjo or accordion. In her later years she became a familiar figure in the streets of Courtrai, whizzing around in a motorised wheelchair.
In 1960 she was one of a community of nine. By 2008, when she moved into a nursing home, she had become, officially, the only surviving Beguine in the world. (Read entire article.)

More about the Beguines, HERE. Share


Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thanks for posting this--I shared it on facebook. I loved visiting the beguinages in Belgium but have been disappointed in the literature about them since it usually imports 20th/21st century ideas about women and men in the Middle Ages. Do you have any recommendations?

elena maria vidal said...

I would think a biography of Blessed John Soreth would have something about Beguines since he organized a group of Beguines into the first Carmelite nuns in the 15th century. If I find one, I'll let you know!

Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thank you!