It’s been almost a year now since I moved from my hometown, Tilburg, to a much smaller city: Weert. What I love about my new hometown, is that it has such a rich history. Much richer than Tilburg.
For example,Weert got its city charter in 1414, while my old hometown was allowed to use the term ‘city’ in 1809. When I look at my new hometown, it is clear to see that it is old. There are ruins of a castle (I will write more about this later), an old monastery with a beautiful garden. There are the remains of a medieval town wall, of ramparts where people kept themselves safe in times of war.
Recently, I discovered another historical gem in my own neighbourhood. On a cold Sunday afternoon, we decided to go on an hour long walk. We ended up on the outskirts of the city. There were meadows with some horses. I had been here before. I recognised a small chapel we had visited last year, during a walk in the summer. It was built in 1755, but rebuilt twice after this.
The funny thing is that I totally missed the other, bigger chapel that is about 200 metres away from the one I visited last year. There was even a big sign, but for some reason we had not seen it before. We had to walk up a small path to get to the building. The red door was closed, but a sign said that the chapel was open on weekends. So we got there on the right day.
The first thing I did when I entered the chapel, was light a candle. I am not a catholic, but I always feel the need to light a candle when I visit a church. There is certainly a lot to pray for in these times.
I was impressed by the beautiful statues of St. Oda and St. Apollonia. The original wooden statues of these saints are in a local museum, so these are replicas.
St. Apollonia is considered the patron of dental diseases and is often invoked by those with toothache. Her statue is on the right side, behind the altar. If you look closely, you can see she has pincers holding a tooth. She is usually pictured like this.
St. Oda is patron of the blind and the visually impaired. According to legend, she was the daughter of a Scottish king. She was born blind, but healed after she went on a pilgrimage to Liège. Then she fled for her father, who arranged a marriage for her. She ended up in Boshoven, Weert, – the location of the chapel – where she lived for a while, but was betrayed by a magpie. Then she fled to the village of St. Oedenrode, which is named after St. Oda. There, she lived as a hermit for the rest of her life.
The chapel was built in early 18th century, but there was already a chapel on this spot in 1485. Timber trusses in the current chapel date back to the 15th or 16th century. The chapel is on a rampart from the early 17th century. People used it as a protection against plundering Spanish troops.