“Interesting reading from beginning until the end, now and then I felt like being at school again. I am familiar with the name Beguine women but never realized their background. I lived in Netherlands in a city called Haarlem about 20km West of Amsterdam. Haarlem is an old city with a long history and still has a Beguinage (Beguine courtyard) which is a national monument. I always took it at face value without knowing the history.
The book is well organized which is also important. Thanks for this book. I wish many people read it.”
Originally there were 37 beguine (Dutch” begijn”), courtyards (dutch “hofjes”), but most of them were destroyed by the Calvinists during the religious conflicts. Only two very beautiful beguinages remain today: Amsterdam and Breda, which have been protected by the Orange-Nassau family.
Extract from “This Is Your Quest” – Chapter 20 – Page 222:
“The tale of the Beguine Women who lived independently in the Middle Ages, who became very influential through their trades as healers & educators and their gifts as oracles, is a story worth telling. The Beguines Women were usually unmarried women, skilled in the art of herbal medicine and healing. They looked like nuns but never swore allegiance to any formal church organization.They organized themselves into self-sufficient villages where they catered for most of their needs themselves. They built schools for young girls. They built hospitals, cemeteries and pharmacies. They also became safe oasis for women who were left destitute. Slowly but surely the Beguine Women started to become very influential. This tremendous success drew a lot of jealousy from the clergy who saw them as direct competition to their authority and power…” To find out how this story ends you have to read it in Chapter 20 of my book.