© Cor Snabel
There is a legend about the Begijnhof in Amsterdam. that I like to tell you.
In 1654, after a stay of 25 years on the Begijnhof Cornelia Arens felt her life was ending and on her deathbed she told two beguines, she did not want to buried in the in the Chapel of the church, because the "New Religion" was preached in that church. The City Council gave this church to the English Presbyterians in 1607, but the beguines preserved the right to be buried in the Chapel.
And she wanted to do penance for her lapsed relatives and requested to be buried "in the broad path near the church in the gutter".
Cornelia Arens was in 1645 elected as "Mother-Superior" by the beguines and her humility went too far for the other beguines. On May 2nd she passed away "in a scent of holiness" and 12 sisters, dressed in black, carried her coffin, covered with white flower-leaves, three times around the Beguinage and she was buried inside the church. Her last wish was not granted and her soul could not find peace in the church. She started to shamble around the Begijnhof at night and the good beguines were very distressed. The priest heard about her last wish and at last she was reburied in the gutter. This is where the legend ends.
According to the notes of Pastor Cornelis Dierout, rector of the beguinage from 1712-1745, a coffin was found in the path near the grass in the gutter during some renovation in 1727 on the church. The pastor had the coffin opened and inside was a skeleton with a faded virgin's crown. The pastor had the remains reburied in a new coffin and since that day the tombstone of "mother" Cornelia Arens is decorated with white sand and flowers on her dying day each year.