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Catholic Shrines & Places of Interest in Switzerland

About the Catholic Church in Switzerland:

National flag of SwitzerlandSwitzerland was part of the Holy Roman Empire up until 1648, when it gained independence through the Treaty of Westphalia.  The country has a unique make-up among modern countries, both in its method of governance and its variety of religious beliefs.

An interesting fact about the Swiss flag:  The white cross is known as the Swiss cross, or the federal cross. it is one of only two square national flags in the world….the other being that of Vatican City.

Each of its 22 Cantons controls much of its own destiny, relegating only matters such as national defense, foreign affairs, etc. to its national government. Some of these Cantons actually recognize Catholicism as the official religion of the Canton, while others do not. By official, we mean that the Canton will collect taxes for the local parish. This rather unique situation would seem to be at odds with modern-day history, but has worked out well in practice.

Their constitution actually requires approval by the federal government before a new diocese can be established and some cantons even have a say in who will be named Bishop. This applies to both Protestant and Catholic churches. The country itself is a mix of geographical backgrounds; the predominant being German, French and, to a smaller degree, Italian.


Among the most famous Catholic sites in Switzerland are:

Bourg-Saint-Pierre: Great Saint Bernard Hospice

Einsiedeln:  The Shrine of Our Lady of Einsiedeln (the Black Madonna)

Ettiswil:  Eucharistic Miracle

Fribourg:  Cathedral of Saint Nicholas:  Tomb of Saint Peter Canisius

Lugano:  Church of St Mary of the Angels (magnificent frescoes)

Mariastein:  Mariastein Abbey

Muri:  Muri Abbey & the hearts of Bl Karl of Austria and his wife Zeta

Orselina:  The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rock

Saint Maurice:  Abbey of the martyrdom of the Theban Legion

Zermatt:  Parish Church of Saint Mauritius


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