Miracle house

On 11 March 1479, a stillborn child was born to the weaver family of Rassoen Vanhove and Jacquemine Bayart, who lived in a simple cottage in Bruggestraat no 9. The church regulations in force at the time did not allow the baby to be baptised. Therefore, it could not be buried in the consecrated ground of the churchyard around the church. So the little boy was given a final resting place in the garden behind the parental home. After praying to Our Lady of St John for three days, the baby was unburied by the pious neighbour, Pieternelle Turlyn, on 14 March. She had vowed to Our Lady not to wear a shirt and sleep on a feather bed for seven years. When it became clear that the baby was alive, it was quickly taken to St John's Church. There, the little boy, who was named Jacobus, was baptised by chaplain Diederik Roene in front of the altar of Our Lady. A few hours later, the little boy died again and was buried in holy ground in front of the Altar of Our Lady.

The miracle did not leave even the church authorities unmoved. For two years, the Grand Vicar of the diocese of Terwaan together with 3 scholars (theologian, jurist, physicist) and 2 notaries investigated the authenticity of the events. On 12 June 1481, a papal charter described the miracle in detail and declared it genuine.

Today, precious little of the original cottage has survived. During World War I in 1916, a plane bomb destroyed the entire house, except for the gable chapel. In 1920, the house was rebuilt and extended with a storey incorporating two pieces of rock brought back during a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Above the door of the house, the inscription "Miracle House 14 March 1479" under the statue of Our Lady of St John still recalls the miraculous event.

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