Switzerland: National Pilgrimage to Flüeli

Source: FSSPX News

On Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17, 2023, the District of Switzerland organized the annual national pilgrimage to St. Nicholas of Flüe, patron of Switzerland and Father of the Homeland, canonized by Pope Pius XII on May 15, 1947.

This year, to allow more faithful to follow the event, the date was moved from the end of August to mid-September. More than 500 pilgrims, from all over Switzerland, gathered under a mild sky to make the pilgrimage.

The march began in Rotzloch with the destination of Sachseln: St. Nicholas’ body is kept in the church of this village. The faithful then reached the village of Flüe in procession.

On Saturday evening, Fr. Jean-Baptiste de Seyres celebrated a first solemn Mass, which was followed by a first Mass of Fr. Marc-Antoine Moulin. During the night, the faithful prayed before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, and recited the great Confederate prayer.

On Sunday morning, after the 7:00 a.m. sung Mass, a pontifical Mass was celebrated by Bishop Vitus Huonder.

St. Nicholas of Flüe

Born in 1417 in the village of Flüe in the municipality of Sachseln, he died on March 21, 1487 in the same place. Married at 30, he had 5 sons and 5 daughters. Around the age of 50, he was pushed by grace to a more perfect life, and with the consent of his wife, he first sought to enter a monastery, but was brought back by providence to his village.

He lived as a hermit until his death, a few hundred meters from his family. During these twenty years he was nourished only by the Holy Eucharist. This miraculous fast was verified by the civil authorities who surrounded his hermitage – the Ranft – for an entire month and could not detect any food at the saint's house.

He received several celestial visions and a gift to advise the souls who came to consult him. In 1481, while the Diet of Stans which brought together the Swiss cantons, held after the victory against Charles the Bold, was taking place in a conflicted manner and civil war threatened within the Confederation, the holy hermit calmed the situation with a simple message, the content of which remains secret.

It was this episode that earned him the nickname “Father of the Homeland.” It is celebrated on September 25.