Lucerne traces its roots directly to St.Leodegar monastery, a small 8th century Benedictine cloister. Over the centuries a community grew along the Reuss River from the monastery to a nearby settlement. Historians regard Lucerne’s birth date to be 1178, when the parish was officially transferred from the monastery to the city. Middle Age fortifications, such as the famous Chapel Bridge, are timeless witnesses of the city’s rapid growth.
St. Nicholas of Flüe lived in the 15th century at a quiet river gorge near Lucerne. Commonly called “Brother Klaus,” he began his life as a successful farmer, town councilor and husband. But at 50 Nicholas felt God’s pull toward a life of seclusion. With the support of his wife and 10 children, Brother Klaus became a hermit and lived out his remaining years as a spiritual counselor and skillful arbitrator of political disputes. He was instrumental in arbitrating several treaties and political disputes, earning a reputation as a peacemaker and the role of Switzerland’s patron saint, being respected by Catholics and Protestants alike. Several sites related to his life are active pilgrimage sites, including his home and retreat in Ranft George near Flüeli-Ranft and his grave in Sachseln.
Abbey of Einsiedeln
In 828 Meinrad, a Ben edictine monk from Lake Constance, withdrew as a hermit to a secluded mountain valley east of Lucerne. There, Meinrad lived and prayed in solitude until 861, when he was killed by bandits. St.Meinrad’s retreat forms the core of the monastery at Einsiedeln, located only 1 hour east of Lucerne. Set on the location of St.Meinrad’s retreat, Einsiedeln (which means “hermitage”) has attracted the devout for over 1,000 years. Eberhart became the first abbot of the community under Benedictine rule in the 10th century. Pilgrimage to the monastery began no later than the 14th century, when the monastery acquired the Black Madonna, an icon so named for the black candle smoke that colors her skin and the infant Jesus. The Black Madonna is usually clothed in elaborate attire and resides in the Lady Chapel, which rests over the site of St.Meinrad’s cell. The chapel in turn resides within the nave of the baroque Abbey Church. Huldrych Zwingli, leader of the Swiss Reformation, served briefly as a priest at Einsiedeln but moved to Zürich where he persuaded thousands to join the Protestant Reformation.
The Jesuit Church is the first large sacral Baroque building in Switzerland and was constructed in 1666 by Father Christoph Vogler for the Jesuits. The vault was redecorated in the mid-18th century. The original vestments of Brother Klaus, are stored in the inner chapel.
The international Museum of the Reformation
This museum is a must-see for religious visitors that come to Geneva, Switzerland. It begins with an emphasis on the Bible and includes some of the oldest French and English Bibles. Unique objects, manuscripts, rare books, engravings and paintings illustrate the close ties of Geneva and John Calvin to the Reformation.
Experience how it is to live in a monastery and overnight in one of the various abbeys and monasteries in Switzerland that offer simple accommodation. Some even offer their own mountain hut refuge to rent, like the convent of St.John in Muestair
The pilgrimage way of St. James along Switzerland’s breathtaking mountain scenery.
Walk or cycle on St. James' footsteps, following his ways through the breathtaking mountain scenery of Switzerland to Santiago de Compostela. Take your time to visit some of the traditional pilgrims' stations.
The Christmas season will soon be here again.. as well as the traditional Christmas markets in Switzerland. Montreux is home to the largest one, Bremgarten (Aargau) to one of the biggest ones in terms of vendors. The highest one can be visited on Mt. Pilatus. Others can be found in Huttwil (Bern), Zürich or Basel.