Saint Catherine’s church

Pieter Valckx (1734-1783)

Pulpit with the Holy Family sheltering among the ruins of the Temple
Sint-Katelijnekerk in Mechelen (interieur)

Sint-Katelijnestraat 78, Mechelen

Fancy a bit of wood-carving magnificence? The wonderful pulpit by Pieter Valckx in the Sint-Katelijnekerk in Mechelen towers high above you.

Preekstoel van Pieter Valck

Saint Catherine’s church

The Gothic Church of Saint Catherine was built in the 14th century sporting a modest look. Though this is down to the location of the church in the poorer areas of Mechelen. The church did not escape the troubles between Catholics and Protestants in the 16th century and was heavily damaged. So it was thoroughly refurbished during the 18th century,  at which time its sober interiors were richly decorated. At the end of the 19th century, however, the original Gothic character of the church was restored by architects Frans Baeckelmans and Philippe Van Boxmeer. The church was dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria who, according to legend, refused to renounce her faith and was convicted to the breaking wheel and then, when that miraculously failed, decapitated. But that made milk rather than blood flow from her neck. Which then saved the city from the plague.

Pulpit with the Holy Family sheltering among the ruins of the Temple - Pieter Valckx

The pulpit by Pieter Valckx immediately catches the eye of visitors entering Saint Catherine's Church. This enormous oak piece of church furniture was made in 1774 after a design by Valckx’s master Theodoor Verhaegen. It depicted the Holy Family sheltering among the ruins of the Temple. The straw of the hut they are sheltering in looks almost real! Christ is sitting on a globe and holding a cross under His arm as Mary and Joseph protect Him. Above, angels are flying about among the canopy and clouds.

Practical information


Sint-Katelijnestraat 78
2800 Mechelen
View directions

Opening times

  • From Tuesday to Sunday from 1 until 4 pm.

Disabled access

  • Easy to access for the disabled.

Nice to know

  • Admission: free

Other sites nearby

Begijnhofkerk in Mechelen (interieur)
The Baroque church of the beguinage of Mechelen is a gem, not only on the outside. Its interiors and rich collection of paintings, too, are well worth a visit.
De aanbidding der wijzen, Pieter Paul Rubens
Not only can visitors admire Peter Paul Rubens’s Adoration of the Magi, its tower also hides some unique 14th-century murals.