Switzerland: Mariastein Shrine at Maria Stein
The Story of Mariastein Shrine:
Perched on a cliff not too far from the city of Basel, this site has drawn pilgrims since the 14th Century. It began when a child, playing near a cliff, fell off at the monastery and landed about 150 feet down on flat rock.
Incredibly, the child was not injured–due to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who actually caught the child– and people put an image of the Blessed Mother in the grotto nearby. Later, a chapel was built where the child had fallen. Then, in 1540, a second incident exactly the same took place and again the boy who fell was unharmed.
Some three years later a painting was made of the miracle and can be viewed here in the shrine.
As time went on, the monks were expelled during the anti-clericalism of the 19th Century and moved to Austria. Again they were thrown out (this time by the Nazis in 1941) and were granted temporary permission by the Canton of Solothurn to return to Maria Stein until such time as they could find a permanent home. However, the Monks decided that they would stay where they were and by legal action they were able to establish that the old abbey had never been suppressed. A vote in 1874 had resulted in their expulsion and it was another vote–not until 1971–that resulted in official government recognition of their right to the Monastery.
About the Monastery at Maria Stein:
Today the monastery is open to visitors and as you go to the rear (shown here on the right) you can climb down the 56 steps to where both the boys fell and view the many Ex-voto plaques that testify to miracles received through beseeching the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pilgrim groups and individuals are welcome. There are daily Masses and devotions; and the first Wednesday of the month is a special pilgrimage for the evangelization of Europe.
Traveling to Mariastein, Switzerland:
The shrine is located about 15 miles south of Basel but is not included in very many pilgrimages that we have found.
If traveling independently you can, of course, reach it by car by driving about 30 minutes south of Basel. If you are arriving from Zurich you can take a train to Basel then a narrow-gauge train to Fluh and then finally a bus to Mariastein.
Address: 4115 Metzerlen-Mariastein, Switzerland
GPS coordinates: 47° 28′ 34.7232” N, 7° 29′ 31.3512” E
Tel: +41 61 735 11 11
Click here for the official website of the Maria Stein shrine in Switzerland.
For those traveling in the U.S., there is also a Maria Stein Shrine in Ohio.
1. Daniel M. Madden, A Religious Guide to Europe, Collier Books, 1975.
2. Photos courtesy Maria Stein Monastery