In 1797, in the small village of Absam near Innsbruck, a young girl was astonished to see an image of the Virgin Mary appear in the windowpane next to her. The image was determined to be miraculous and began to cause miraculous healings. Today, the small glass pane with the image of the Virgin is enshrined in the parish church for veneration.
History of Shrine of Our Lady of Absam
On a snowy January 17, 1797, eighteen-year-old Rosina Buecher was quietly sewing at the family dinner table when she felt a sudden terror. Her father, who was at work in the salt mines, came immediately to her mind and she feared he had been in a terrible accident.
Instinctively, she looked out the window - and beheld quite an unexpected sight. An image of a beautiful young woman had appeared in the windowpane next to her. She called to her mother, who saw it too, and they both thought it must be the Blessed Virgin. They contacted the parish priest and alerted the neighbors, and everyone agreed the image was a portrait of the Virgin Mary.
Rosina's mother worried the image was a bad sign, but Rosina herself hoped it was a message that her father and brother would return home safely despite her premonition. Indeed they did and, moreover, reported that they had barely escaped involvement in an accident at the salt mine.
The parish priest had the windowpane removed for examination by experts, who discovered that the image disappeared when submerged in water, but reappeared as before when dry. The origin of the image was declared undetermined, and both the priest and bishop declared the image to be miraculous.
The window was returned to the Buecher family, but at the request of the villagers (who argued, "Where the Son stays, there must be a place for the Moth too"), they donated it to the parish church for veneration. News of it quickly spread, and pilgrims began to flock to Absam to pray before the image.
Soon, miraculous healings began to occur after praying to Our Lady of Absam. Those who were healed donated ex-votos of small paintings to the church, most of which depict a sick person lying in bed or a worshipper at prayer, with the words ex-voto ("out of thanks"), a date, and a small image of the apparition. These have all been kept and can be seen in the Chapel of Ex-Votos outside the church.
What to See at Shrine of Our Lady of Absam
The miraculous image of Our Lady of Absam can be seen in a side altar of the parish church of Absam. The glass pane is just seven inches tall and five inches wide, but the face of Mary can be clearly seen. It is enclosed in a metal shrine with golden rays, a golden crown, golden flowers, and precious jewels. The face of the Virgin in the image is young and gentle and befits the most affectionate title used commonly by Austrians and Germans for the Virgin Mary: "Our Dear Lady" (Frau Liebe).
Festivals and Events
Two main feast days are celebrated at Absam: January 17, the day of her appearance; and June 24, the installment of the Virgin's picture in the parish church. Special celebrations also take place at the shrine every month on the 17th. At Christmastime, the pilgrimage church at Absam has one of the area's loveliest nativity scenes.
The small village of Absam is located six miles east of Innsbruck. By car, head northeast out of Innsbruck, following the signs to Absam via Thaur.
By train, get off at the Innsbruck station or the smaller station in Hall (which is within walking distance of Absam). From either station, take a short bus or taxi ride to Absam.
Absam is most easily accessible by bus from Innsbruck and other nearby villages. From the Innsbruck train station, take either Bus D or E to Absam. After a 20-minute ride, the bus drops you off right at the shrine (Absam Kirche).
As Absam is a popular tourist destination in both winter and summer, the church and shrine is open daily, year-round. Most visitors lodge in Innsbruck, but there are several hotels and guesthouses in Absam as well.
Quick Facts on Shrine of Our Lady of Absam
|Names:||Shrine of Our Lady of Absam|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||47.294076° N, 11.504574° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Shrine of Our Lady of Absam|
- Kevin J. Wright, Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe (1999), 19-22.
- The Vision in the Window Glass - Catholic Culture
- Peter Mullen, Shrines of Our Lady (1998).
- Absam, Tirol - Tirol.at
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