Gezelle Director of the English Convent in Bruges

30.03.1899 - 27.11.1899

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Reflections on the Divine and Daily Duties

In March 1899 Gezelle was called back to Bruges. The bishop Waffelaert wanted him to translate his own theological work, Goddelijke Beschouwingen (Reflections on the Divine), which was written in Latin. The bishop appointed Gezelle as the director of the sisters of the English Convent. He was the spiritual leader but he also taught religion and heard the pupils confessions.

GGA 8989 F Bisschop Gustaaf Jozef Waffelaert

The English Convent

The convent was founded in 1629 in the former cloister of Nazareth. Until 1972 the sisters held a boarding school, first reserved for English girls, but eventually other girls were admitted. Gezelle heard confession and taught religion.The students were mostly English and of wealthy disposition, but there were also Flemish, German and French girls.

GGA 9018 F The English Convent


Gezelle died quite quickly and unexpectedly in the convent on 27 November 1899. The cause of death was an abscess on the head. Nephew Caesar Gezelle testifies:

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“First he had pain in his left hand at the little finger; there was a swelling but it healed; the ailment moved to the elbow, but it also healed, after a while there was a large lump together with two, three small ones, behind the left ear. An abscess, we thought.”
Caesar Gezelle - 1928

Gezelle's death struggle

Caesar Gezelle
From the Life and the Country of Guido Gezelle
“From then on we saw, underneath the bandage, a red glow, an inflammation, spreading like an oil stain over the left ear and eye and then over the whole monumental head. [...] When the head became red all over, the patient fell silent and from then on his breath began to fade until he died [...]”
Caesar Gezelle - 1928


Gezelle’s royal funeral took place on December 1, 1899. The poet was provisionally buried in the burial cellar of the family of pharmacist Adolf De Wolf. A neo-gothic tomb was designed by J.-B. the Bethune-de Villers. The tomb was erected on the central cemetery of Bruges.

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