Lourdes-Oostakker is one of the most important shrines in Belgium.
The Basilica of Oostakker-Lourdes is a major attraction in the “Mariamaand” (Maria Month) in May.
In 1873 the Marquise of Courtebourne-de Nédonchel had a lourdes grotto built in her gardens at Château Slotendries. People from Ghent and it’s surrounding areas asked to be allowed to visit the grotto and pray. It was claimed in 1875 that Pieter De Rudder was miraculously healed of a compound fracture. In order to accommodate the resulting increase of pilgrims, a neo-Gothic church was built based on the plans of E. Van Hoecke-Peeters and modified slightly by the J.B. Bethune. In 1924 the Church was elevated to a Basilica.
Villa-Emma is only 1.5km away from Lourdes-Oostakker (18 minute walk or 5 minutes by bicycle).