Frauenberg ‒ the pearl of the Ennstal
For over 600 years, Christians have been coming on pilgrimage with their requests for intercession to the church of Frauenberg. Here they can share their joy and sorrow, hope and fears with Mary, the mother of God. Found on the banks of the flooding River Enns in 1404 was a so-called ‘miraculous image’ ‒ a Gothic representation of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus. In her honour, Abbot Hartnid Gleusser decided to build the first chapel on the nearby hill known as the ‘Kulm’. It became a centre for the veneration of the Blessed Virgin in Upper Styria and far beyond.
Once the turmoil of the Reformation period had settled, pilgrimage once again became popular during the Baroque. Between 1682 and 1702, Abbots Adalbert Heuffler and Gottfried III of Lampoding commissioned the redesign of the church and the extension of the presbytery. At this time and also subsequently notable artists were employed in Frauenberg, including Carlo Antonio (architect), Giovanni Battista Carlone (fresco painter), Antonio Maderni (painter), Frans de Neve (painter), Josef Stammel (sculptor) and Johann Lederwasch (painter). Up to 60,000 pilgrims then annually visited to pray before the miraculous image.
And again decline and resurgence followed. Although pilgrimage had become an almost totally defunct practice by the late 18th century, it experienced a revival in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The development of modern means of transport, such as the railway and later the motor vehicle, meant that not only pious pilgrims were drawn to the location, but also tourists intent on discovering the culture preserved at this tranquil spot.
Just 6 km from Admont Abbey, the church restored at great expense in 2013 and 2014, the restaurant ‘Marienklause’, the ornamental Japanese garden and the Calvary hill invite the visitor to linger. Against a backdrop of magnificent mountain scenery, faith, art and culture wait to be discovered off the main tourist trail.
Even our present age has gained a foothold in the pilgrimage church. The altar room has been redesigned by the artist Wendelin Pressl and now displays meaningful Christian symbolism expressed through a contemporary stylistic idiom. Pressl has used wood, stone and aluminium. Jesus and His twelve Apostles are there to be discovered as is the Word of God that breaks down all barriers and shatters all stones. The pupils of Ardning primary school helped create the new Apostle crucifixes.
Sundays and holidays at 10.30 am and on thursdays at 12 am.
For information on guided tours, please enquire. The pilgrimage office is open on Mondays to Fridays from 8.30 am to 11.30 am. Tel.: 03612 / 7333.
Further information on http://www.katholische-kirche-steiermark.at/pfarren/dekanat-admont?org=749