5.13.2013

Remember the Beguines

I learned today that the last Beguine in the world died this past April.

Marcella Pattyn was a young girl in the 1940’s who wanted to enter the religious orders, but was repeatedly denied by communities because she was blind. That’s how she ended up with the Beguines. Read more of her story here.

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about with all this Beguine talk, check out my post, “When Girls Rule,” on The Grand Béguinage of Leuven.

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3.26.2013

5 Things Not to Miss in Belgium

België. Belgique. BelgienIt’s a country I never really thought to put on my bucket list, but peer pressure had me buying a cheap plane ticket from Ireland with fellow students in 2010. Much to my surprise, I fell a little bit in love, and now I’ve been twice!

You don’t have to know French, Dutch or German to enjoy Belgium. Here’s a list of my favorite Belgian things from the combined experiences of both trips.

[Read more…]

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3.6.2013

When Girls Rule: The Grand Béguinage of Leuven

I never thought I’d be in a position to say that I had been to Belgium, let alone that I’d been there “again,” but that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you. My second time in Belgium was this past fall, when I went with my friend Rebecca (Ballyhaunis, Ire.) to visit mutual pal Andrew (Athlone, Ire.) who was studying at the university in Leuven.

Kinda makes your university look like shit, huh?

Kinda makes your university look like shit, huh?

Now, Leuven was a town I’d been to before, so I was skeptical that it would hold any new surprises. As usual, however, I was very wrong. [Read more…]

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2.21.2010

Belgium Part 2

I think Sunday in Belgium was my favorite time in Europe thus far. After breakfast, with just a map and exactly three words of French, I struck out on my own. While the others went to Church, I went for my spiritual experience—finding my head in Brussels. It was the first time I was so completely and utterly alone. With nobody to follow and nobody to talk to, not speaking the language or knowing the town, it was just me and my own head—a liberating experience.

[Read more…]

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2.16.2010

Belgium: Part 1

I was coming right out of a bad week of the Glange when we made our way to Belgium. I went with a bunch of Americans: Katie (Truman), Megan (from the East Coast), Spencer (SLU), and we met Doug (SLU) and Dan and Bridget (Truman) in Dublin. Doug’s brother, who is in the seminary in Rome, met us in Belgium, too.

We left Galway on Thursday afternoon to hang out in Dublin for the night. We good kids left later than the rest so that we could make it to our afternoon classes. That was the plan, but I may or may not have skipped my afternoon class to go shopping (in the rain) for wellies (rainboots), ruining my tennis shoes in the process.

The bus ride to Dublin was uneventful. Our flight from Dublin to Brussels-Charleroi airport was at 7 a.m. So after one round in a pub in the Temple Bar area, we left to make our way to the airport where we planned to sleep. That didn’t go as planned. The last bus to the airport that left at 11:15 p.m. was nowhere to be found. We walked up and down the street in the steady rain, but by 11:45 we called it quits and hailed a couple taxis. By this time my throat was throbbing. [Read more…]

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