Religious Orders

Religious Orders
   Monasteries and convents were established early. In 1228, the Franciscans arrived and occupied a site at the current Bourse. The Brothers of Our Lady (or Carmelites) appeared about 1249. The Boghards and Alexiens followed. The Riches-Claires founded a convent in 1343 near the porte de Hal. The nuns were given an annual income and were therefore forbidden to beg, whence the origin of their name. The Brothers of the Common Life established themselves in the Saint-Géry quarter in 1471. The order was dissolved in 1588.
   Few additional religious houses were founded until the 16th century, except for the convent of the Preachers, established in 1457 by will of the late Isabelle, duchess of Burgundy and Brabant. The Jesuits arrived soon after their founding (1540), followed by the Au-gustinians (1589) and the Capucines (1595). Archduke Albert and Archduchess Isabella were fervent in their faith and welcomed a host of religious orders, including Discalced Carmelites (1610), Minimes (1616), and Brigittines (1621). The Oratorians (1633), Visitandines (1661), Ursulines (1662), and English Dominicans (1668) followed. The Jesuits built a church (1606-1615) followed by the Augustinians (1620-1642).
   The reputation of Brussels as a bastion of the Roman Catholic faith endured throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Religious orders continue to run schools, hospitals, and charitable institutions in the metropolitan area today.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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