Elisabeth's Manly Courage: Testimonials and Songs of Martyred Anabaptist Women in the Low Countries

By Hermina Joldersma; Louis Grijp | Go to book overview

SOETKEN van den HOUTE
(beheaded November 20, 1560 in Ghent)

A Testament made by Soetken van den Houte, which she confirmed with her death in Ghent in Flanders, in the year 1560, the 27th of November,1and left as a memorial for her children David, Betken, and Tanneken, as well as for the greater Good, as anyone can read (excerpts):

[…] Oh, my dear little children! I wrote this in tears, admonishing you out of love, with a passionate heart praying for you that it might be possible that you experience this blessed state as well. For when your father was taken from me, I did not spare myself, neither day nor night, to raise you; and my prayer and care was always for your salvation. And even now, while imprisoned, it was always my greatest worry that despite my vigilance I could not arrange things better for you: for when they told me that you had been taken to Oudenaarde and from there to Bruges, that was so hard for me that I have not had greater sorrow. But when I remembered that my worry or arrangements would not help, and that for Christ's sake it is necessary to part from all that one loves in this world, so I put this whole matter into the will of the LORD. All the while I hope and pray that he will keep you all in his mercy, just as he kept Joseph, Moses, and Daniel while they were among Godless People. And you will similarly succeed, if indeed you apply yourselves to being faithful to the Truth. Then the Angel of the Lord will be with you [Tob 6, Dan 3], as he was with Tobias, leading him until he brought him into his Father's house, where he rejoiced with his Father and friends, thanking God for his great goodness […]

David, my dear Child, with this I want to commend you to the LORD. You are the Eldest: acquire wisdom so that you may set your little Sisters a good example; guard yourself against bad Companions, and against playing with bad fellows in back alleys. Rather, learn to read and write well, so that you may become wise. Love

____________________
1
The pamphlet gives the date of November 27, which is wrong, as other records show that Soetken and two other women (including Martha Baerts) were beheaded on November 20 (for a precise account of their imprisonment and execution, see Gregory, “Soetken”). 165

-165-

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