"Kevelaer" Kevelaer by Kathrin_E

Kevelaer Travel Guide: 46 reviews and 144 photos

Germany's Second Largest Place Of Pilgrimage

Kevelaer is the second most, after Altötting in Bavaria, visited pilgrimage in Germany. The tiny town lives from the pilgrims. Since 1642 faithful people have come to worship the image of the Madonna. Immediately after, the Chapel of the Candles was built as the actual pilgrimage church. Incoming processions celebrate their service here and offer candles to the Virgin Mary. Next to it, in the mid 17th century the small octagonal chapel in the middle of the square was built to accommodate the sacred image.

The pilgrimage grew steadily. Reports tell of more than 100,000 visitors already in the 18th century. The chapels were too small for masses and the administration of the sacraments for so many pilgrims. In the mid 19th century the large Basilica was built next to the Chapel Square.

The Foundation of the Sanctuary

Pilgrimage to Kevelaer began during the 30 Years War. Around Christmas 1641 a travelling merchant, Hendrick Busman, stopped to pray at a wayside crucifix near Kevelaer and heard a voice, “In this place you shall build a chapel.” This happened to him three times. Hendrick was poor but he took the order seriously and was worried how to fulfil it. Some months later his wife Mechel had a vision at night. She saw a bright light and a shrine with a printed image of the Madonna, just like those she had noticed in the hands of two soldiers some time earlier. She had wanted to buy one but the price had been too high. Now Hendrick and Mechel searched for the soldiers and asked for one of the images. The picture was first kept in Geldern and then brought to Kevelaer on May 31, 1642. Hendrick had a shrine erected in the same shape his wife had seen in her vision. From that same day on many people from all over the country have been coming to the shrine to venerate the image.

  • Last visit to Kevelaer: Sep 2008
  • Intro Updated Aug 27, 2009
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Kathrin_E

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