Brugges Schoonste Dag

Now that is mouth full to pronounce, never mind understand, for this American nun. It is a book title! The author and man who generously invited an American nun as a guest to the Book opening is Nico Blontrock. He was definitely instrumental in the preservation of the Kantcentrum, the Lace school in Brugge. The Lace school has been open and closed periodically over the last 30 years, fortunately being open in my brief time in attendance there over the last four years. Today, the school is on solid footing with a beautiful new building, and lots and lots of visitors. Kantcentrum is a Brugge historical treasure but that is for another blog.
Belgium book 2
Nico Blontrock is a news `light` on Radio 2 in Brugge in the mornings, and a household name to many.  I knew him only as the very helpful and supportive man in charge at the Kantcentrum. In mentioning his name to the sisters, they said “Oh Yes Nico Blontrock.” An amusing sidelight is the next time I saw him, I queried “Are you famous, I only know you from Kantcentrum?”His responded with a sly smile and chuckle, “Yes sort of.” With that introduction, Nico writes books. I can`t as yet read them as they are in Dutch! One is about the last nuns in the  remaining cloisters in Bruges which were as many as twenty at one time in this tiny centrum of Brugge. Nico interviewed the sisters sometimes only one or two and recorded a part of Brugge history before it was too late. One of our own Beguinnage sisters was interviewed!
I was very privileged to be invited to the Opening of his new book  `Brugges Schoonste Dag`. Schoonste Dag means the most special day of Brugge. You will have to read the next blog for an explanation of that.. Suffice for now to say it is a 800 year old procession of which Brugge is justly proud. It takes place on Ascension Day and I will definitely be in the stands. The book opening was in the Stadhuis/Town hall but do not think of Town Halls in my New England home, think instead of the palace of Versailles in France . Brugge was a wealthy merchant town in the 1500’s focused on freedom and individual rights supported by separate guilds with opulent houses in Brugge. The stadhuis is such a building with high high ceilings, inlaid rose satin covered walls and Napoleon sized portraits. (No one seemed to know who they were.) It was a wonderful evening from the introduction by the Burgermeister, mayor, to the Brugse Zot ( beer ) and cheese to the signed book the Prioress bought for the Beguinnage. The Mother Superior of the Beguinnage, a Brugge native herself, with many Schoonste Dag personal memories behind her, accompanied me; good thing as everything was in Dutch and I understood only the occasional  word. A smile goes a long way though, and I was certainly smiling.Belgium book
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