Catharinastraat 45, Breda

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'Waan je eeuwen terug in de tijd' Wie aan de Catharinastraat in Breda de poort van het Begijnhof binnenstapt, waant zich eeuwen terug in de tijd. Ondanks de onmiddellijke nabijheid van de drukke binnenstad heerst hier een serene sfeer, die nog altijd heri… Read more

"Imagine yourself centuries back in time" Anyone who steps into the gate of the Beguinage on Catharinastraat in Breda will imagine themselves centuries back in time. Despite the immediate vicinity of the busy city center, there is a serene atmosphere here that still reminds one of the former beguine community. The court includes beguinage houses, a unique herb garden, a museum, an intimate church, a rectory and a hall. With respect for the past, the Beguinage is managed in a contemporary manner, with the aim of preserving this characteristic monument in its original state. The themes of religion, history and cultural heritage play an important role in this. What are Beguines? 
Beguines are unmarried women and men who are part of a free lay community within the Roman Catholic Church. Beguines do not take perpetual vows; although they do promise chastity and obedience to the superior elected from their own circle, they are allowed to keep financial and real property. Originally, beguines did not leave the court without the permission of their superior. The beguines devoted themselves to manual labor, caring for the sick, praying for the dead and teaching children. Many old people from Breda know the beguinage mainly from the so-called kindergarten.
The last Dutch beguine, Sister Cornelia Catharina Frijters, passed away on Good Friday, April 13, 1990. Her death formally marked the end of seven centuries of beguine history in Breda. A few beguinage residents took her death as an opportunity to start something new. They still come together every morning in prayer. Without much trouble they form a contemporary continuation of the centuries-old religious community at this location.