Sint Godelieve Abbey
About the Abbey
The religion wars of the sixteenth century set Flanders ablaze. Bosgeuzen, feared throngs of robbers, targeted countryside abbeys, churches and little towns as reprisal against the Spanish occupiers. The Benedicitine sisters of Gistel, some 20 miles away from Bruges, fled their convent and refuge in Bruges. In 1623 they purchased a Boeveriestraat house with grounds, known as “Fontainken” (fountain). The first three sisters moved in, while the other sisters remained on Ganzenstraat. In 1626 a new convent was formed, with the assistance of the abbess of Douai Abbey. The sisters were brought together on Boeveriestraat. This was the start of a history extending for almost four centuries in Bruges.
Over that period society changed a great deal, as did the site. The convent on Boeveriestraat grew from a single little house to an impressive property in the Bruges city centre. And all that time it continued to function as a closed, self-supporting community with a big vegetables garden, orchard, bakery and own brewery! The high walls, the tiny wooden cells and the iron ‘gate’ in the chapel; they all remind visitors of the historic ‘silent’ roots of this place. Late december 2013, the aging sisters Benedict decide to give up their treasured home and move out of the vast Abbey of which they took meticulous care.
Address: Boeveriestraat 45, 8000 Brugge