Friday, July 10, 2009
St-Jean-Baptiste-au-Béguinage is a Flemish Baroque confection of a church dating from 1676. It is the center of an area that was once the enclave of 1,200 béguine women. The béguines were a lay religious order that took up charitable work, and most of the members were widows or survivors of failed marriages. This was the largest and oldest (est. 1250) béguine community on the country. The devout women operated a hospital, laundry and windmill for the city.
The church is located northeast of Place Ste-Catherine, just west of Rue de Laeken in the Brussels lower town.