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Place of pilgrimage in North Germany, not far from the Dutch border. A Marian shrine where many disabled and sick children have been healed. In 1641 a trader on three successive nights heard a voice telling him, "Build a sanctuary in my honor here." Simultaneously his wife had an apparition of a lovely lady, and recalled an itinerant soldier selling a cheap paper picture of the Madonna. The soldier was found and the picture was bought, but because of the crowds it attracted to her small cottage she gave the picture to the village church. Repeatedly the blind, paralyzed, deaf, and mute, especially children, who came to the church were cured and the word spread that the Blessed Virgin and her Son shown in the faded picture were the merciful ones. To accommodate the crowds, it was necessary to build a larger edifice, and a new statue made of stone but resembling the paper image replaced the old picture in importance. Pope Pius IX sent the stone from Rome for the new building and in 1892 the statue was solemnly crowned. Even during the war years in Germany, thousands came to this shrine, where both the new statue and the old faded picture are centers of devotion.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.