Dziady in Switzerland: chance acquaintance

On November, 2 members of the Association of Belarusians in Switzerland visited the grave of famous Belarusian philanthropist Magdalena Radziwill and accidentally got to know her great-grand child.

In 1945 the Belarusian noblewoman passed away in Switzerland and was buried in the territory of nunnery Notre-Dame du Carmel in the village of Bourguillon, Fribourg.

On All Souls Day (‘Dziady’) Belarusians from all over Switzerland came to pay the tribute to the memory of our renowned compatriot.

The local community of carmelite sisters accorded a hearty welcome to the guests and organised a small tour of the church and nunnery. The members of the Association of Belarusians in Switzerland put the graves of the princess and her relatives in order, lit candles and laid flowers.

Making a speech Siarhei Sirotkin, Secretary for the Association, told about the life and activity of Magdalena Radziwill: she gave largely to issuing Belarusian books and newspapers, helped Belarusian students and organisations, opened schools. The woman was also engaged in the revival of the Belarusian Greek Catholic Church.

After an elderly couple joined the group of Belarusians intending to light a candle it turned out that the man was none other but a greatgrandson of Princess Magdalena, Mr Bourpon, who comes to the grave every year on Dziady. Excited about the encounter the activists started asking Mr Bourpon about his forfathers. Being eager to know more about Princess Magdalena they made an appointment with Mr Bourpon.

“We were very touched because it was a miracle,” the participants stressed.

Belsat/Association of Belarusians in Switzerland

See also