13th September : Our Lady Of Zell

Our Lady Of Zell

Country : Central Europe

Year : 1157

The places dedicated to Mary are the best proof that Mary gives help today to souls and bodies.  The glorious pilgrim church at Zell, built in the midst of the Styrian mountains, is the Lourdes of Central Europe.

The various peoples of the broad Danubian area have made it the goal of their pilgrimages.  King Louis the Great of Hungary had the basilica built in gratitude for a victory won over the Turks:  An army of 20,000 men defeated over 80,000 Turks. Jewels, crowns, garments were brought to the Great Mother at Zell.  Untold thousands of Austrians, Hungarians, Croats, Slovenes, Czechs have knelt there before Mary’s picture, each feeling that his nationality was under the special protection of Mary.

In Mariazell, a lamp of pure silver burns before the altar.  It is the gift of the Empress Maria Theresa.  She was mother of a great empire and brought her sorrow to Mariazell to the Mother of God.

Mariazell is the West’s shrine nearest to the Iron Curtain; it nestles in the beautiful mountains 50 miles southwest of Vienna.  It is mantled in snow most of the winter and is the haven for skiers.  St. Lambrecht and the Benedictines established Mariazell in 1157.  By order of Emperor Ferdinand III it was built into a large baroque structure.  No castle of Our Lady was more honored and enriched by the Hapsburghs.  An average of 300,000 annually make a pilgrimage to the shrine and pray that Mary will again turn back the hordes from the East as she did for Louis the Great nearly 500 years ago.

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