Our Lady of Altötting is a Bavaria shrine in southern Germany famous for its 9th century Black Madonna.
Altötting has attracted pilgrims since the 15th century
The Royal House of Germany has had a particular devotion to Our Lady of Altötting since the Middle Ages, a preference that had become a tradition. An urn in the "Virgin's chapel" still holds the hearts of dukes and kings of the ruling family of Wittelsbach (family of the famous empress Sissi).
During the terrible period of Nazism the shrine and its pilgrims were persecuted, but the number of pilgrims coming to Our Lady of Altötting only doubled.
In 1934, Pope Pius XI solemnly inscribed the name of Capuchin lay brother Conrad of Parzham in the list of Saints. Saint Conrad held the office of porter at Altötting for over thirty years. He ate little, slept even less and worked hard, and remained always in communion with Christ, the God of his heart. He was also known for his Marian piety. Conrad had the gift of prophecy and of reading people’s hearts. To the young and old alike, to the polite and impolite, the saint was always kind and gentle. He died in Altötting on April 21, 1894.
That year more than half a million pilgrims came on pilgrimage to Altötting!
It is said that during World War II, seeing the American army had nearly arrived, the troops of the Nazi SS took refuge in the convent of Altötting after shooting the dean. The Americans warned that they would bombard the place if the Nazis did not turn on the electric lighting. The Nazis refused, but a pilgrim managed to turn on the lights, an act of courage that he paid for with his life, while saving the shrine from destruction.
Today, one million faithful come every year to pray to Our Lady of Altötting.