Willem Vandenameele

Willem Vandenameele

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Chapel of sainte-Barbe


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Source: Le visiteur

One of the most popular corners of Ferrières is the one that houses the Sainte-Barbe chapel in Burnontige.
This colourful landscape of the Ardennes, rich in colours, is picturesque.... It's a good place to relax.
The chapel, of a very simple architecture, bears the traces of an honourable old age. The white walls, with their prominent stones, contrast harmoniously with the blackened tiles on the roof, where the moss and a bit of thatched grass nestle. A modest fence, vestige of our ancient foundries, adorns the entrance door.
Two impressively large beech trees cover the building with their tutelary branches. The circumference of their trunks, which reaches three metres, is an eloquent testimony to the number of their years. Lovers have been able, at leisure, to carve in their initials and small hearts: for many, this is all that remains of romantic dating.
It is rather difficult to establish the exact date of construction of the Sainte-Barbe chapel.
It must be around 1784. At that time, the road which links Burnontige to the Trou de Ferrières by Lîdj' à Sart, was only a very narrow path, traced through heather and brambles.
Few were those who dared to venture there at night...
On a foggy evening, a man from Burnontige, undoubtedly faced with an urgent necessity, went to Ferrières; he was a man named Rafhay, great-grandfather, maternal side, of Félix Gilson, who is now over seventy years old and lives in Herstal.
The night was dark, the man soon lost himself. The situation soon became painful in the midst of the dull silence around him, interrupted only by the melancholic cry of a few animals in despair. Fear and anguish soon embraced Rafhay...
Our man, who had a particular faith in the power of Saint-Barbe before, invoked the saint fervently and promised to build a chapel if she wanted to put him back on the right path... After long hours of cruel anxiety in the Lîdj' at Sart, which seemed endless to him, Rafhay found himself, without knowing how, in a place where he could see the contours of the houses of Burnontige. He was saved and as a man of promise, he fulfilled his vow....
This is how our good old chapel Sainte-Barbe was built here. It had a remarkable statue of the saint, made of carved wood, placed in his tower. As a result of an act of bad behaviour, the head of the statue was torn off one day: a short time later, the statue itself disappeared without anyone ever knowing what it had become.
It was replaced by the pretty statuette which is still today the object of our veneration.

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