"Marpingen: A Village changed by ...well, by what??" Marpingen by christine.j

Marpingen Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 9 photos

A Chapel in the Woods

For many centuries people here had prayed especially to the virgin Mary.

In 1876 three 8-year-old girls came running home, telling their parents they had seen her. She was a woman in white clothes, with a baby on her arm. Within days thousands of pilgrims started to come to Marpingen, which then had about 1600
inhabitants. The Prussian authorities didn't like this at all. Soldiers came to Marpingen to restore peace. Even the parliament in Berlin had to talk about the events in Marpingen. Several families of Marpingen were accused of committing fraud, taken to court, but acquitted.
The official Catholic church never acknowledged the sightings as real, but Marpingen remained a village with a special relationship to Mary.

Even though I'm not Catholic, we often went hiking in the woods there when I was a child, and afterwards came to the chapel to light a candle. Many plates were on the walls, thanking Mary for her help in all sorts of matters.

1997 - 2000

Then, in 1997/98, a British historican published a book called "The Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bismarkian Germany".
Several months later, in 1999, three young women said they had seen,respectively heard the Virgin Mary again. She had also given them the dates on which she would appear again.

Now this time it happened in multi media age, but the village was still rather small. It wasn't only thousands, but tens of thousands of pilgrims
who came to Marpingen. They parked their cars all over the village, blocked driveways, used gardens as toilets and generally annoyed the
villagers very much. TV teams showed up, but only the three women were able to see and hear Mary. Souvenir stalls were all over the place and prices for candles went up sky high.

Again the official Catholic church did not acknowledge the apparitions. Some people of Marpingen believed in them, other did not.
What caused many people to wonder was the fact that Mary postponed one of her apparitions, after she realized that it would coincide
with the village fair. Even the believers among the Marpingers found it hard to accept that Mary would care about the logistics of their fair.

In 2000 the stream of pilgrims was less, but the village council had to come up with some ideas. A parking lot was built next to the chapel, toilets
were installed. The way up to the spring was renamed Mary's path. Waterpipes were put up at the spring, with four faucets to avoid
crowding. They are still working at the chapel, a huge rosary is being put up right now, again to avoid overcrowding.

All this may be necessary, but it took away the quiet spirit the chapel used to have before. What used to a special place, has been turned into a
tourist attraction in my mind.

  • Last visit to Marpingen: Sep 2007
  • Intro Updated Oct 9, 2007
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Reviews (3)

Comments (5)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2007 at 10:05 AM

    I remember to have read about the little chapel in the Bonjour Saarland books. But if it is that touristy by now... ah, I might go there in winter, then it might be quiet. Interesting story :-))

  • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2007 at 2:29 PM

    Your photograph of the Madonna is so luminous Christine- the lighting is perfect. I'm amazed I hadn't heard ofthis place as we love sightings of the Virgin Mary in Ireland. In fact this place sounds a lot like Ballinspittle in Cork :)

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2007 at 11:09 AM

    Loved the story of the little place that became famous :) a nice read

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2007 at 12:16 AM

    At least the three young young women have found their communion :~)

  • antistar's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2007 at 7:09 AM

    Fascinating story. I wonder if the visited women had shares in the local candle making company :).


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