There are more than 10 Catholic churches in the city of Brugge and I attempted to visit as many as possible. Most are open daily till 6 pm and each have their own unique style and grace. If on a short visit see the Church of Our Lady, an immense cathedral, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood in the main square. The Basilica is known to house a relic of the holy blood of Jesus brought from the Holy Lands by the Count of Flanders who received it from Joseph of Arimathea. Each are easy to find and centrally located near the square.
I attended 9:30 mass in the Beguinage at St. Elisabeth’s Church. The mass was conducted in native tongue with the angelic voices of the Benedictine sisters singing hymns. Masses are throughout the week and posted on the outside of the church.
St. Saviors Cathedral dates back to the 10th century and achieved cathedral status in the 19th century. It has survived through the ages and houses well maintained Flemish paintings and Brussels tapestries. Don’t miss the medieval tombs near the church entrance and the exquisite pipe organ.
Strolling to the west of the Cathedral I stumbled across a small, intimate chapel known as Our Lady of the Blinds. It was a bit of a challenge to find, however, look to the sky for her steeple and wend your way through the cross street gardens to her side door. Whether you are a person of prayer or not this small, simple chapel in its quiet setting will calm and relieve your woes.
Traveling on I visited the Church of St. Jacob, (or St. James as it is sometimes called), with its rich art collection. It hails from the 13th century beginning as a small house of prayer. The hand crafted wooden pulpit is a work of art beyond compare.
The Church of St. Walburgha has an interesting history. The docent stated this Jesuit church was renamed when Jesuit’s lost favor with local aristocracy. St. Walburgha was a female Anglo-Saxon missionary to the Frankish empire. The first picture below depicts the church exterior. In the second we see the Jesuit statute above the church entry. The third picture displays the altar and the final picture is a statute of Mary. Since this church no longer has a congregation it would be an amazing venue for classical concerts. Don’t you agree?
Journeying further east is St. Anne’s Church. It is off the beaten track but a must see. Built in the 17th century this church is of the Baroque style. As you open her doors you are filled with awe as sculpted marble arches are viewed. Walk through the central arch and paintings as well as rich wood carvings are found surrounding the inner altar.
I hope you have enjoyed our journey and will some day have the good fortune to see these churches.