Black Madonna in Riegelsberg
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,
|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
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.