In her pilgrimage church of St. Josef, Kirchstrasse 28, 66292 Riegelsberg, 8 km from Saarbrücken, on the border to France, phone: 06706-960107, copy of the most famous German Black Madonna, the one of Altötting, painted wood.

Black Madonna in Riegelsberg


It is rare that a copy of a famous Black Madonna makes it into my index. This one did for two reasons. One, she is from my homeland. Two, her story illustrates in great detail how a famous Black Madonna “begets her daughters”, if you will. It is much more involved than simply carving a copy. There is a whole process by which as much as possible of the “mother’s” sacred energy is transferred to the “daughter”. For more on this read the entry on the Black Madonna on the Fraueninsel.(*1)

Right after World War II an influential priest from Altötting, Monsignore Adalbert Vogl gave this Madonna to the parish in Riegelsberg. She was consecrated on the feast day of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, on 8/15/1945, by Bishop Simon Konrad of Passau and was touched three times to her mother image. Then the sacredness of this daughter image and its connection with Altötting was further enhanced by inserting into it a photo and a relic of Brother Konrad a saint from Altötting, who had a special devotion to its Black Madonna. (More on him under Altötting.)

Finally the copy was entrusted to Ms. Elisabeth Friedrich, who was from Güchenbach near Riegelsberg, but had been evacuated to Altötting during the war. (Sounds like the whole thing was her idea.) Under great post war kind of difficulties she brought the Madonna to Riegelsberg in hopes of turning her hometown into a center of Marian devotion reminiscent of Altötting. On 9/2/1945, a monk and priest from Altötting solemnly installed this Black Madonna in her new home, with a great crowd in attendance. 

The next year she received a precious mantle, crown, and scepter from the treasury of her mother image, which she wears on special occasions. With that she was solemnly crowned by the Archbishop of Trier on the feast day of the Assumption of Mary in 1946. And so the little parish church of St. Joseph became a place of pilgrimage. Every year from 8/15, the Assumption of Mary to 8/22, the commemoration of Mary’s name, a festival and pilgrimage is celebrated in her honor. Thank you Ms. Elisabeth Friedrich! Thank you Mother Mary! (*2)

* 1: Normal Catholics don’t refer to them as mother and daughter; that’s my invention.
* 2: All info and image from the parish website.