Walking meditation in Villers-la-Ville


From the middle of the 12th to the end of the 18th century, a place of reflection for about a hundred monks and at least three times as many lay brothers. Today, you and I will have a chance to reconnect with ourselves on the meditation path there

In 1146, the knight Gauthier de Marbais and his mother Judith invited Cistercian monks from Clairvaux Abbey in France to come and found a new abbey on their land in Villers-la-Ville, between Wavre and Charleroi. Many ups and downs followed over the centuries. The French Revolution in 1789 heralded its definitive end and the abbey soon fell into the now-famous Romanesque and Gothic ruins, becoming one of the largest archaeological ensembles in Belgium.


This was until art historian and abbey worker Anne Burette came up with the bright idea of putting some extra heart and soul into the site by constructing a meditation path. This runs from the so-called leper house at the foot of the hill to just past St. Bernard's Chapel, almost at the summit. While the ruins of the abbey call for spirituality, the 200m-long journey prompts you to reflect upon yourself and the world around you, to relax and to share part of your life story with others. The eight signs – one for each of the eight themes – each pose a question and an accompanying exercise to help you on your way. The themes are: reserving judgement, patience, the spirit of the beginner, trust, acceptance, gratitude, generosity and benevolence.


You will leave Villers-la-Ville feeling purified and relaxed...