If you read about the Mundaneum in today’s NY Times, you surely noticed that this museum to an early card-catalog-and-telescope-based system for information searching is located in Mons, Belgium.
It just so happens that Mons has another claim to fame: the Brabantine-Gothic Church of Saint Waudru with its elegant Baroque belfry, home to the relics of its patron saint. Saint Waldetrudis (Waudru), ca. 688, seems to have come by her saintliness by having been related to a whole lot of other saints: her father Saint Walbert and mother Saint Bertilia; her sister Saint Aldegundis; her husband Saint Vincent Madelgar and their four saintly children, Landericus, Dentilinus, Aldetrudis, and Madelberta. One can only imagine what constituted sibling rivalry in such a family.
And if such attractions are not enough there is always the annual festival of the Lumeçon, when a dragon called Doudou fights with Saint George, attended by 10 Chinchins as well as 8 devils, 7 wild men and 12 white men. Saint George always wins and the dead dragon is always ignominiously dragged into city hall. That same day Saint Waldetrudis’ relics travel around Mons in a Golden Coach. On my desk there resides a very attractive mug – now filled with colored pencils - featuring the key players in this Lumeçon.
How is it that I am so wise in the ways of a small city in Belgium? Mons is the birthplace of my beloved grandmother Reine Marie Garat Brancart, a mere 106 years ago.