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Absam, Austria (1797)

   
History

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Absam Austria 1797

Summary

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.

Timeline

Jan 17, 1797

On a snowy day, 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.

She was drawn to look out the window - and was surprised to see an amazing sight. An image of a beautiful young woman had formed on the glass of the window next to her. She called to her mother, who saw it too, and they both assumed it to be the Blessed Virgin. The parish priest was summoned and they told the neighbors. People seemed to all agree that the image was a portrait of the Virgin Mary.

Despite her mother's worry, Rosina thought that it was a sign that her father and brother would come home safely despite her premonition. They did arrive safely and, amazingly gave the report that they had just survived a salt mine accident.

 

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 glass was scrubbed and the image disappeared -- but then reappeared. Even attempts to sand it off or to remove it permanently with acid failed miserably. The origin of the image was declared undetermined, and both the priest and bishop declared the image to be miraculous.

June 24, 1797

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 Mother too"), they donated it to Saint Michael's 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.

Description of the Virgin

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).


Miracles, Cures, and Signs


Despite her mother's worry, Rosina thought that it was a sign that her father and brother would come home safely despite her premonition of a bad accident. They did arrive safely and, amazingly gave the report that they had just survived a salt mine accident.

Soon after the installation of the image in the chur, 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.


Approval

The origin of the image was declared undetermined, and both the priest and bishop declared the image to be miraculous.

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.

Shrines

From Sacred Desitnations website:

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.



Books and Videos

Kevin J. Wright, Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe (1999), 19-22.
Peter Mullen, Shrines of Our Lady (1998).
Ratzinger, Georg and Hesemann, Michael. My Brother the Pope. (2011)


Links

Sacred Destinations: Our Lady of Absam
The Vision in the Window Glass - Catholic Culture
Absam, Tirol - Tirol.at

 
   
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