House of Compassion is
House of Compassion is the project that gives the Brussels Beguinage Church a new purpose: from a committed parish to a thematic church about caring for the most precarious in our society. In the spirit of the original Beguines, we respond pro-actively and obstinately, sometimes revolutionary, to the needs of today. Together with our partners, we make the voice of the precarious resound in Europe's capital: on the way to a warmer society!
Values and pillars
Compassion and the fight for justice are the basic values of House of Compassion. We want to be a warm, open house where people can find and propagate compassion. Beauty and joy can also inspire these values.
To realise this, we focus on 4 pillars: welcoming visitors with a listening ear, activities around the long table (poignant testimonies, debates, exhibitions, wakes, ...), inspiring art (exhibitions, performances, interventions) and also silence - a space where one can take distance and recharge one's batteries.
In this way, every visitor to House of Compassion can be informed and moved in one way or another by the needs of today's metropolitan society and, who knows, find inspiration for action or commitment.
House of Compassion is part of a long history of social commitment. Since the end of the XIIth century (in Brussels since 1252) the Beguines have cared for the most precarious members of society, but they have also sought, as an independent religious community, new forms of being church.
The French Revolution dealt the deathblow to this flourishing community, but the spirit lives on and to this day, appropriate answers are sought for the current needs. Thus, service centres, a youth club, homeless shelters, social rental offices, school support, social economy projects, etc. have emerged over the past decades. These initiatives have since grown into autonomous and pluralistic organisations.
The Beguinage community is also a leader in the uncompromising defence of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers, who are often exploited because of their situation (illegal work and housing exploitation) and rightly called the 'slaves of today'.
The basis of this contemporary form of church in the capital city lies in the Gospel and the social teaching of the Church: seeing (looking critically at reality) - judging (evaluating it in the light of our values) - acting (making choices and committing to necessary changes in society).
The Golden Rule is also our starting point. It expresses the deepest source of every vision of life: 'Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself' and is also the basis of Karen Armstrong's universal movement Charter for Compassion.