Altotting (Altoetting): “The Lourdes of Germany” Shrine of the Black Madonna
About the Miracles in Altötting:
In the heart of Bavaria lies the town of Altoetting (pronounced Al tooting by the locals). It is often called the “Lourdes of Germany” due to the thousands of pilgrims who come here every year in search of healing. An alternate spelling on some maps and in some guide books is Altotting.
The shrine’s reputation began in 1489 when a 3-year old child drowned in a nearby pond. Her mother rushed the dead body to the altar where a statue of Our Lady (the Black Madonna) stood. As the mother pleaded for his life to be returned to him, he opened his eyes and was restored to life.
Another somewhat similar miraculous healing occurred a few years later and involved another young person, this time a child had been crushed under a cart. Once again, a distraught mother brought her child to the chapel and, once again, the child was restored to life.
About the statue of Our Lady of Altötting:
In her left hand, Mary holds a sceptre with a lily blossom as a sign of her virginity. The Child Jesus rests on her right arm and carries a celestial sphere representing the omnipotence of God. Since the Baroque period, both Our Lady of Altötting and the Child Jesus have worn elaborate crowns adorned with precious stones. These treasures were often donated by female members of the royal Wittelsbach family.
In addition to the natural darkening process of the wood, the Altötting Madonna is blackened by the soot of all the candles lit throughout the centuries and is therefore revered as the “Black Madonna”.
About the Shrine:
In 1980 Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage here. A young Joseph Ratzinger…later to become Pope Benedict XVI…. often came here with his father when growing up and it is known to be one of his favorite shrines long before he became Pope or even a Cardinal.
Since September 11, 2006 the sceptre of the Miraculous Image has been adorned with a very special ring. During his pastoral visit to Altötting, Pope Benedict XVI also prayed to Our Lady of Altötting at the Gnadenkapelle and gifted his bishop’s ring to the Altötting Madonna, the patroness of Bavaria, as a sign of his deep devotion to the Virgin Mary and attachment to the Marian shrine. It is an amethyst set in gold presented to him by his siblings Mary and George on the occasion of his episcopal ordination in Munich in 1977. It is now in the sceptre of the Miraculous image of Our Lady of Altotting.
Many young people from Germany make pilgrimages here in the summer time, often walking for 50 miles or more on their journey.
The small chapel is in the middle of a square and barely holds 100 people so be prepared for crowds. Fortunately on the times we have visited it was not crowded but either way it is a great pilgrimage destination. Private Masses for groups can be scheduled in advance.
To arrange for a Mass contact:
Pilgrimage Support Office, St. Magdalena Monastery
tel: (+49) 08671 969242
Traveling to Altotting:
Altoetting is approximately 60 miles East of Munich. By train, it is about two hours from Munich (in most cases you change trains at Muhldorf). Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
It takes a little less time if you are driving (love the Autobahn).
Address: Papst-Benedikt-Platz, 84503 Altötting
GPS coordinates: 48° 13′ 34.4856” N, 12° 40′ 39.1404” E
Tel: +49 8671 969260
Click here for the link to the town of Altotting website describing the shrine.
Click here for a virtual tour of the Shrine of Our Lady of Altoetting.
And click here for a video of the 2013 Christmas Children’s Program in Altotting.