The Hospital Museum, Bruges, Belgium

Since early 2016, I live between two continents. This was a bit of a scary idea at first, as I wondered how I would balance my life with my boys, life with my fiancé, and work. Over time, my two worlds have merged into a most beautiful way of life. I cannot imagine living only in one place now. I cannot imagine not being able to travel Europe and see beautiful, old, treasures, many of which call to my soul. My soul cannot live without this now and I hold dear every experience I have in life.

We are all put on this earth for specific reasons. Our soul knows these reasons and it is up to us to wake up and remember why we are here. I’ve been doing a lot of that since 2012. I’ve become more aware of what my soul wishes to heal and what it wishes to do in this life. This isn’t always fun or pleasurable, when the past rises up for healing and release. Recognizing when it is happening and flowing gracefully through it helps. Traveling in Europe has brought a lot of things up for healing. I hope to share some of that with you through my travel articles. My hope is you too will be healed or wish to visit some of the incredible places I have been.

My fiancé and I spent three days in Bruges, Belgium 26-28 February 2017. One place we visited that I HAD to see, was Sint-Janshospitaal. My soul felt called to this place, likely because I had worked in a hospital such as this, in some role, in other lives. I have had many lives in which my life was dedicated in some way to the Catholic Church and I felt this tied into it.

The hospital is located in its original building and contains works of art and sculpture, medical tools, furniture, and books, dating from the 12th century to the 20th century.  If you enjoy 12th century – 17th century works of art, furniture, and books, this is a place you want to see.

There were beautiful archways connecting each of the massive rooms in the hospital and the chapel.

Large and small paintings were found on walls, hung near ceilings, and dividers between areas of the museum. Some were enclosed in glass cases.

Relic boxes for Saints, including Saint Ursula, were found in the museum. These were intricately designed and painted. I’m often in awe of the paintings I see on items or canvas or wood. I wonder how these artists were able to create such masterpieces with incredible tiny detail, often by natural light or candlelight! They did not have the convenience of overhead lighting or strong magnifying glasses to help create such intricate pieces.

The museum felt to me, like coming home. It wasn’t scary, even though some of the medical instruments I saw were a bit frightening.

There were instruments that preceded what our surgeons use today. Being a bit squeemish about all that, this was not my favorite part of the museum. I did see a birthing chair and a female anatomy book from the 1400s. That too felt familiar and not scary. I believe I was on both sides of that as a midwife and as a mother.

However, when I walked into the chapel, I felt immediately cold and as if souls were trying to drag me down into the ground. The chapel was darker and contained some enormous works of art. Beautiful. I felt very tiny next to them.

My fiancé was feeling a bit off walking through the museum, as his past lives crept to the surface along with mine. I sat in the chapel a long time and meditated, sending souls to the light. When I was finished, I was able to walk around the chapel and not feel like I was being drug into the ground. My fiancé too felt better. Shifting the energy, releasing souls, healing the world. How does it get any better than that?

Before I left the museum I viewed the sculptures and carvings of Mother Mary. She is very important to me and I ask for her protection every time I travel. I light candles in churches for her and ask for help, leave my worries and prayers, and always feel better.

I was surprised to see a carved wooden sculpture of her titled Mother Mary with Writing Child. I felt instantly connected to this child, because I am a writing child. And Mother Mary watches over me. Mary represents all mothers and the child represents all children. In a way I am both Mother Mary and also the child.

Isn’t it interesting how we find ourselves in artwork and sculpture? How it connects us to the past, our present, and future? How these old items heal parts of us?

Before I left, I did buy the guidebook for the hospital. It is filled with beautiful close-ups of the paintings and a tremendous amount of history about the hospital and it’s current contents. I do not buy many things when I travel, but I do prefer to pick up books like this for museums or churches I visit, along with postcards and brochures. They make nice keepsakes and I can refer to them long after I’m home.

Have you visited Bruges, Belgium? What were your favorite things to see and experience? Were you healed in some way by experiencing the city?

© 2017 Jennifer Holik

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