JWC van Gorkum, a colonel in the Dutch cavalry, married JCPH van Aefferden in 1842. Despite their religious differences – van Gorkum being Protestant and van Aefferden Catholic – the two remained married until van Gorkum’s death in 1880. At the time, Dutch society followed a policy of “pillarisation” in which each religious community had its own schools, media, and cemeteries. As a result, van Gorkum was buried in the Protestant section of a cemetery near the town of Roermond.
Eight years later, when van Aefferden passed away, she was not allowed to be buried with her husband due to the strict segregation policies in place. However, she had made it clear that she did not want to be buried in her family tomb and instead wished to be as close to van Gorkum as possible. As a result, her grave was placed as close to her husband’s as possible, with a wall separating the two tombs. The grave features two tombstones with a pair of hands reaching out to each other over the brick wall, symbolizing the couple’s eternal love despite the societal barriers that separated them.”
My Catholic father and Protestant (Anglican) mother were not allowed to marry in the Catholic Church or have me baptised Catholic. I was originally baptised Methodist because that was the only church who allow have me and my parents attend. After going to a Catholic convent school for a couple of years, I was re-baptised Catholic when I was about seven years old.
My best friend at said Catholic school was a Protestant and the nuns tried to force us apart – for years. They were clearly prejudiced against people who were not Catholics, although I don’t believe they saw it that way.
I am not a practising Catholic so I am not sure, but I believe things are way more relaxed now. I am so glad