Pilgrimage to Boxtel


The Holy Blood Linens

The devotion to the Holy Blood has its roots in the Middle Ages. You can find her in several places, spread all across Europe, where the Holy Blood would have manifested itself in a special way. In the province of North Brabant this happened in Boxtel and Boxmeer.

Shortly before 1380 in Boxtel a miracle took place in a former old church. Sacramental white wine, knocked over the altar cloths by a priest, turned into red spots. After the service the priest tried in vain to wash the cloths in the river the Dommel. Since the red spots didn’t disappear the priest hid the cloths in his house and told only on his deathbed what had happened and where to find the altar cloths.

Soon after pilgrims came to visit Boxtel and to worship the so called Holy Blood Linens. After the Peace of Munster in 1648 the cloths were brought to Hoogstraten to protect them against the Protestants. For about three centuries public processions disappeared from the streets of Boxtel but a certain worship of the Holy Blood remained.

In 1924 the cloths returned to Boxtel and there was a revival of the worship of the Holy Blood Linens. Since that time the procession of the Holy Blood moves again through the streets of Boxtel on Trinity Sunday.
Since February 13, 2015 the Holy Blood Procession is part of the National Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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© photos: Bea and Dick Hoeks-De Laat, 2007

Read more about the Holy Blood Linens (in Dutch) or about the project Places of Pilgrimage