HOLLAND - female Christian martyrs

FOX'S BOOK OF MARTYRS

CHAPTER 11

An Account of the Persecutions in the NetherlandsThe light of the Gospel having successfully spread over the Netherlands, the pope instigated the emperor to commence a persecution against the Protestants; when many thousand fell martyrs to superstitious malice and barbarous bigotry, among whom the most remarkable were the following:

 

1) Wendelinuta, a pious Protestant widow, was apprehended on account of her religion, when several monks, unsuccessfully, endeavored to persuade her to recant. As they could not prevail, a Roman Catholic lady of her acquaintance desired to be admitted to the dungeon in which she was confined, and promised to exert herself strenuously towards inducing the prisoner to abjure the reformed religion. When she was admitted to the dungeon, she did her utmost to perform the task she had undertaken; but finding her endeavors ineffectual, she said, "Dear Wendelinuta, if you will not embrace our faith, at least keep the things which you profess secret within your own bosom, and strive to prolong your life." To which the widow replied, "Madam, you know not what you say; for with the heart we believe to righteousness, but with the tongue confession is made unto salvation." As she positively refused to recant, her goods were confiscated, and she was condemned to be burnt. At the place of execution a monk held a cross to her, and bade her kiss and worship God. To which she answered, "I worship no wooden god, but the eternal God who is in heaven." She was then executed, but through the before-mentioned Roman Catholic lady, the favor was granted that she should be strangled before fire was put to the fagots.

In the year 1543 and 1544, the persecution was carried on throughout all Flanders in a most violent and cruel manner. Some were condemned to perpetual imprisonment, others to perpetual banishment; but most were put to death either by hanging, drowning, immuring, burning, the rack, or burying alive.

 

To conclude, multitudes were murdered in different parts of Flanders; in the city of Valence, in particular, fifty-seven of the principal inhabitants were butchered in one day, for refusing to embrace the Romish superstition; and great numbers were suffered to languish in confinement, until they perished through the inclemency of their dungeons.