Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Heiligkreuz Abbey - Cham, Switzerland

The quaint town of Cham is located on the north shore of Lake Zug in Switzerland. The city's name, Cham, translates as village and refers to a large Celtic settlement on the shore of Lake Zug. The first mention of the town (as Chama) occurred on 16 April 858 when King Louis the German gave the town to his daughter, Hildegard, the abbess of the  Fraumuenster Abbey in Zuerich. The town was administered by a variety of nobles and bailiffs over the following centuries. Just a few miles north of Cham is the Heiligenkreuz Abbey which roots go back to 1830 as a school for girls taught by Benedictine sisters. On the Abbeys ground was a small chapel which has been used for families and travelers to find peace during their trip from Cham or Zug. In 1862 the sisters expanded and built the Heiligkreuz Abbey which still has been used as a school. In 1953 after a mission to Yenki, Korea, the emerging of the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters in Pusan has begun. Nowadays, the sisters give spiritual guidance. You can find a beautiful herbal garden created after Hildegard von Bingen's infinite wisdom. There is a souvenir shop where you can buy goods handcrafted by the sisters such as candles, clothing, tea and herbal medicine.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Auf bald!" (Hope to see you soon), say the Sisters at Maria-Rickenbach

Sandra from Incantato Tours reports quasi live from Switzerland: "It was a glorious day when we took the cable car up the mountain to visit the Sisters of Maria-Rickenbach in preparation for the upcoming visit of the Mount Marty College groups. The sun was shining as we made our way from the Talstation to Bergstation and, for a few moments, the only noise we heard was the ringing of the cowbells. The panoramic view as we "flew" through the sky was stunning and I believe this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The magnitude of God's creation surrounds the Abbey.

After we check-in at the Abbey's souvenir shop Mother Superior, Sister Maria Jacinta, greeted us warmly and welcomed us into the Sisters' quarters. "So are they really coming this time?" she asked, and I promised her an update after the tour meeting on October 15 in Yankton, SD. Hopeful that this time the answer would be yes, she smiled and insisted she call Sister Andrea, the former Mother Superior, to join us. Sister Andrea has visited the States twice and maintains close connections to Yankton, SD. Together, the Sisters showed us around the Abbey and pointed out many sights they would love to share with you. These sights included the church, the chapel, the meditation room, and a beautiful Nativity that is over 200 years old. They also showed us where the Sisters, who support themselves, work. "You are all welcome to see our textile workshop as well as the herb gardens," both Sisters confirmed.

The sisters are excited to welcome all Mount Marty visitors and share their ministry with you. The spiritual highlight of the visit will surely be the concert by the Mount Marty Choir and the opportunity to celebrate Holy Mass together.

Here is a picture album of the Incantato pre-tour visit:

We recommend visiting these websites for more information:

Maria-Rickenbach: Klosterkirche

Here are some pictures taken at the Maria-Rickenbach Klosterkirche (Abbey Church). 

Visiting the Sisters of Maria Rickenbach on May 16, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 will be a very special day for the Sisters of Maria Rickenbach and the travelers from Mount Marty College.

Although the college and Sisters maintain a close spiritual and affectionate connection, the visit from Mount Marty is highly anticipated. The local congregation of 15 sisters is looking forward to meeting current and past students of the American college that was founded 75 years ago by fellow Sisters from Switzerland. Mother Superior, Sr. Maria Jacinta was very moved when she learned that the Mount Marty College Choir will be performing at Maria-Rickenbach. Based on the sisters daily schedule, here is the proposed itinerary for the visitors from afar who are invited to spend as much time as possible at Maria-Rickenbach:

Departure from Engelberg by tour bus around 10 am to the Niederrickenbach Talstation for the cable car ride up the mountain. Upon arrival the Abbey you will have free time for strolling, taking pictures, and the opportunity to attend Noon Prayer. Beginning at 1 pm, the Sisters are offering a guided tour of the grounds in small groups. At 4 pm, the Mount Marty College Choir is invited to perform their special concert in Klosterkirche followed by the opportunity to attend the traditional Vesper and Holy Mass celebrations. The visit could conclude with a group dinner at the Pilgerhaus restaurant and a late return during sunset by cable car to the Talstation.

An optional early morning activity highly recommended by Sr. M. Jacinta is a trip even higher up the mountain to Musenalp, 1925 meters above sea level. Musenalp welcomes guests with products made by local artisan cheese makers and even more stunning views. This activity is not for those afraid of tight spaces and extreme heights and is only available if the snow has melted and weather permits. During our visit to Maria Rickenbach, the Musenalp was covered in fall fogs and could not be visited, however here is a link to visit taken earlier this year by a fellow traveler.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Klosterladen at Maria-Rickenbach: The Convent Gift Shop

The convent gift shop carries the sisters' herbal remedies and handicrafts of fine embroidery and weaving, liturgical vestments, altar cloths, and miscellaneous items.

A video documented visit to Maria Rickenbach