Chapel of Our Lady of Refuge
Also known as the Shoemakers’ Chapel
Dear Visitor. Welcome in the oasis of quietness and prayer at the Schoenmarkt (Shoe Market). Because of its location the Antwerpians know this place of worship as the Little Shoemakers’ Chapel, even though it has nothing to do with this trade. The usage of ‘little’ illustrates the sympathy a lot of Antwerpians have for this oasis of prayer. The chapel is bathed in an atmosphere of popular devotion: constantly candles are lit, the altar is always buried by flowers, ex-votos have been placed on the walls. All this because the chapel is devoted to Jesus’ mother Mary: officially the chapel of Our Lady’s Nativity or of Our Lady of Refuge. It is a refuge for everybody, whatever the need, rank, social class or age may be. Only because till the 1970’s quite a few prostitutes of the town centre came here to say their prayers, the nickname ‘Whore’s Chapel’ also came into use.
It is with great regret that we have to close the Schoenmakerskapel indefinitely from 4 July 2022, as we cannot sufficiently guarantee the safety of the chapel. During the closure, we will carry out the necessary work to be able to reopen this space of devotion in a safe manner.
In the meantime, everyone is welcome to come to the cathedral to light a candle, pray or celebrate mass. Celebrations will be held on weekdays at 4 pm in the Venerable Chapel, on Saturdays at 4 pm and 5.30 pm (English) in the central nave, and on Sundays at 10 am and 12 pm, also in the central nave.