Two very significant realities in Belgium are directly inspired by the beguinal movement.
Le petit béguinage de la Lauzelle (La Lauzelle’s small Beguinage) was born in 1995, on the site of the new university of Louvain-la-Neuve, by Pierre and Suzette Huvelle, a couple very committed in the socio-religious field. This set of six houses and an apartment, formerly built around a square (spatial representation “square”, one of the typical forms of traditional beguinages), is inhabited by retired people, single or couple and by a priest, all aged more than 65 years. They have accepted the Charter that in point 3 states : “The Gospel is the first reference in the search for the meaning of life, justice, and fraternal love“. Community commitment, prayer, and cultural encounters are at the center of their community life, but each unit occupies, as in traditional beginages, an autonomous space.
Le béguinage de Béthel (The beguinage of Betel) arised in a largely immigrant neighborhood in Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode, one of the 19 municipalities of Brussels. After three years of quiet practical existence, in 2014, it became formalized through an article and an interview in the Catholic media, given by sister Marianne Goffoël, one of the two beguinage founders.
From her interview we learn that the beginage took place in a former Dominican sisters convent, still inhabited by two of them, Marianne Goffoël and Myriam Gosseye, the two founders. The three floors of the building have been restructured in apartments, as beguinal life, unlike the conventual one, requires autonomous spaces in which to increase “sanctification in freedom”. Women who have accepted this adventure (be they single, widowed or divorced, but under the age of 65)are responsible for their habitats and personal income. They have in common spiritual research, prayer, community commitment and the spirit of service. “Living the common faith is a very important need” Marianne points out to the radio microphone of “Infocatho Bruxelles”.
In 2019, there are six women in the community: three nuns and three beguines. “Among them, the same spirituality: that of Saint-Dominique – centered around prayer, the apostolate, and Bible study“(source: Line Kortobi).
- My interviewes
- Suzette Huvelle, Le petit béguinage de la Lauzelle, in Lumière & Vie, gennaio-marzo 2013
- http://catho-bruxelles.be/Un-beguinage-a-Bruxelles?lang=fr (innterview de Marianne Goffoël)
- Line Kortobi, https://www.liberation.fr/apps/2019/07/beguinage/