Our Lady of Mariazell, Austria
In 1157 Our Lady dramatically answered the prayer of a Benedictine monk named Magnus by splitting a huge rock formation in two.
While walking through the forest of what’s now Austria, a Benedictine monk named Magnus sought the perfect location for his hermitage. He came upon a rock formation too large for him to climb or go around. He pulled out a statue of Our Lady and knelt down in prayer. Soon after, the ground shook and the rock split with a loud crack right down the middle. He walked through the opening and placed the statute on a nearby tree branch. Soon after, with the help of other monks, Magnus built a small chapel for the statue.
Word of the miracle quickly spread and by 1200, a Romanesque church began to arise around the former shrine. By 1500, records show pilgrims from at least 16 countries traveled to Mariazell. It became the national shrine of the House of Hapsburg after the Counter-Reformation. Additions continued to be added until the present church was completed in 1643 by the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand. It was named a basilica in 1983 by Pope St. John Paul II. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, 25,000 came on pilgrimage together in 1990 from former Easter Bloc countries in thanksgiving. The town of Mariazell contains only 2,000 residents but close to a million pilgrims a year still visit the basilica. Many visitors climb the final staircase on their knees, or with arms outstretched, or while carrying heavy stones. Those unable to do so often leave letters for Our Lady, all of which are kept.
There is also a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mariazell in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
Prayer to Our Lady of Zell (Mariazell)
To our beloved Mother of Grace: Remember, O most gracious Virgin, our loved ones, families, friends and kind benefactors who kneel here in spirit at thy shrine, sending up their sighs to Thee. In Thy clemency, O good Mother, hear and answer their humble petitions, if they be to God’s greater honor and glory and for the good of souls. Help them to bear the sweet yoke of Jesus, Thy Son, that they may carry their burdens of this life patiently and lovingly, that they come at last to the eternal rest of thy heavenly abode. Amen.