13th century hospital and church on the water with impressive silver treasury and miracle sculpture
The first mention of the hospital on the bank of the canal called the Potterierei dates from the end of the 13th century. In those days, it was a transient home for pilgrims, travellers, and the sick. It became a popular place of pilgrimage thanks to the miracle sculpture of the Madonna and Child on the high alter of the church.
Photographer Dominique Provost created panoramic photographs of all the museum rooms and the church. Those room views can be viewed here.
The historic hospital ward and the convent setting are now full of works of art, convent and worship relics, and care utensils used over several centuries. The showpiece is the silver cabinet with reliquaries, candlesticks, and holy water bottles. The museum collection also includes a number of paintings on panel which portray the sisters-patrons. What is striking is the ‘cantoortje’ (writing desk) from the middle of the 16th century with the initials of Emperor Charles V.
The adjoining church with baroque interior is definitely worth a visit. The 13th century limestone miracle sculpture in the church is one of the oldest preserved sculptures in Bruges. The miracles which are ascribed to that sculpture are shown on the tapestries, in the miracle book with drawings, and in the colourful stain glass windows.
The museum is located along the water in Potterierei, one of Bruges’ most authentic districts. The name ‘Potterie’ (pottery) goes back to the time when potters had their workshops along the water.
On 15 August, early in the morning at 9.30 a.m., the Bruges Belofte (The Bruges Promise) advances every year through the streets of Bruges. This procession is the result of a promise made by the women of Bruges to the Virgin Mary in 1304. They promised to offer up a prayer candle to Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Potterie (Our Lady of Ter Potterie) if their sons and husbands returned home safely from the Battle of Pevelenberg (a direct consequence of the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302). This procession departs from the Kapel van Onze-Lieve Vrouw van Blindekens (Chapel of Our Lady of Blindekens). The prayer candle is still carried annually by 12 girls.
Potterierei 79 B , 8000 Brugge