There are only a few days left until Valentine’s Day, and social networks are filled with curious love stories like one that took place in the Netherlands.

This story refers to the ‘grave with the hands,’ two graves in an old cemetery in the city of Roermond, that united a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband after their death.

The love story behind the ‘grave with the hands’

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The story goes back to 1842, when the marriage took place between Lady Josephine Caroline Petronella Hubertina van Aefferden (1820-1888), a Catholic, and Protestant soldier Jacob Werner Constant van Gorkum (1809-1880).

The marriage generated controversy, not only because it was a union between people belonging to historically conflicting religions, but also for political reasons.

Josephine and Jacob were happily married for 38 years. They decided to raise their children in Catholicism until Jacob passed away in 1880.

At that time, there was a strong division between faiths that was reflected in different burial places for each faith. Jacob was buried on the Protestant side against the wall that separated him from the Catholic side.

Josephine outlived her husband by eight years, and deeply desired to be buried next to him. As the provisions of the moment prohibited it, she preferred not to be buried in the family pantheon of the cemetery, but in the Catholic section, exactly in front of her husband’s final resting place.

Some time later, to the left and right of that wall, two identical funerary monuments were erected, connected by two intertwined sculpted hands, a sign of their eternal love, even after death.

Today this place is known as the ‘grave with the hands,’ or in Dutch, ‘Het graf met de handjes‘.

What do you think of this story?

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[See also: St. John Paul II Revealed the Secret of Life in These 10 Quotes on What Love Means]

[See also: Struggling with Past Hurts? Try This Prayer to St. Josephine Bakhita for the Grace to Forgive]

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