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The wonders of Usquert

'And Liudger showed Bernlef', the artwork at Usquert's church says.

The Usquerdermaar is a canal that was dug from the Warffumermaar to Usquert. The southern part of the Usquerdermaar runs along small wierd hamlets with wonderful names such as 'Helwerd' and 'Bethlehem'. Long ago Usquert was visited by the famous missionary Liudger. His job was to convert the inhabitants to Christianity. In Helwerd, Liudger met the blind poet Bernlef. Bernlef asked Liudger: "If your god is so powerful, show me a sign." Then Liudger put his hand on Bernlef's eyelids - and Bernlef had his sight back. Later Liudger and Bernlef entered Usquert's chapel together and prayed to their new God.

These kinds of wonderful stories and traditions ensured that Christianity gained a foothold in Groningen. A nunnery was built on a mound south of Usquert. The monastery was called 'Bethlehem'. The nuns' lives were not easy. Lonely. The monastery has long since disappeared, but the name has stuck. Liudger and Bernlef are still there. They can be seen in a work of art near the church of Usquert.

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“Stories along the towage route in North Groningen”