This typical baroque church was built by the Jesuits between 1615 and 1621 to a design drawn up by their rector Francois Aguillon and Brother Peter Huyssens. It was built during the Counter-Reformation and was intended to revive the faith of believers
Rubens played an important part in the decoration of the facade , the pinnacle of the tower and especially of the interior.
Sadly, 39 great Rubens ceiling paintings were lost in a fire in 1718 and most of the original marble was also destroyed. The apse of the main altar and the Mary Chapel were spared and still convey an impression of the church’s former splendor.
The present interior was created by Jan Peter van Baurscheit the Elder, who also built the pulpit and the splendid casing for the Forceville organ. There are also sculptures and wood carvings by Michiel van der Voort, Andries de Nole and others.
A single painting hangs above the altar but it is not always the same one. An original mechanism which is still in working order makes it possible to change the paintings.