Although adversely affected because of the protestant reformation, Switzerland still holds some of the most beautiful Catholic Churches in the world, specifically Monasteries. This blog post will enumerate Catholic monasteries in Switzerland that you should consider visiting. These monasteries are witnesses to the rich history and heritage of the country—testimonies to how the Catholic Church influences Switzerland. From architecture and holy artworks to serene ambiance, these pilgrimage sites are must-visits!
Here are the beautiful Monasteries in Switzerland.
Let’s start our virtual tour with Einsideln Abbey. This monastery is one of the most renowned monasteries in Switzerland. Located in the town of Einsideln in Switzerland, this abbey is administered by the Benedictine Order. It was founded in the 10th century making it historically rich in monastic life, culture, and art. One of its physical characteristics that catch people’s attention, faithful or not, is its Baroque architectural style. It also has several important artworks like the Black Madonna, a famous statue of the Virgin Mary, and the child Jesus. Objects of pilgrimage and devotion to both Swiss and Catholics of different places. To have an all-new experience, visit this holy site on the Feast of the Miraculous Consecration where there is a candle illumination and candlelight procession.
Another monastery on the list is Muri Abbey. Founded in 1027, built and consecrated in 1064, Muri Abbey is located in Muri in Switzerland. It is a combination of Gothic and Baroque architectural styles. Inside lies St. Michael’s Altar, Holy Cross Altar, and Choral Altar. It also has striking Cupola Frescos. Gold and white colors are prominent interior colors making the monastery look heavenly. In addition, the abbey values music. It creates access to the spirituality of the Benedictines. Every May to September, concerts take place where music and liturgy meet. For ease and convenience, the Monastery provides guided tours to visitors. From a basic tour to a scenic tour, their experienced team got you covered! Truly, a must-visit monastery in Switzerland!
Saint John Abbey
Located in Santa Maria Val Müstair in Switzerland, this early medieval Benedictine monastery of Carolingian art has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. It is believed that this abbey was established circa 780 under orders from Charlemagne. Aside from its jaw-dropping exterior, its interior will also surely amaze you. It shelters important artworks specifically paintings. The frescoes are organized in five (5) rows stretching from the southern wall across the west wall to the northern wall. These paintings present scenes like the Life of Christ, the Crucifixion of St. Andreas, and the Last Judgment. The monastery also houses a Museum and a Chapel from the Carolingian Period. There are also tours available to explore the abbey. Visit in Summer and see the nuns praying the Hours.
The second most important pilgrimage site after Einsiedeln Abbey, Mariastein Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Metzerlen-Mariastein, Switzerland, and is a member of the Swiss Congregation since 1647. Its architectural style is late Gothic with a classicist entrance facade. The heart of the Mariastein is the Shrine which was originally a rocky cave that is converted into a Chapel. The abbey has various chapels such as Seven Pains Chapel, St. Joseph’s Chapel, and St. Anna Chapel. Its interior is Baroque with frescoes and stucco ornaments in gold and white. Additionally, it has organs used in praying and concerts. You can visit the place on your own through a public tour. For organized experience, guided tours are also available. Another monastery to put on your bucket list!
Founded in 778, Rheinau Abbey is a monastery located in Rheinau in the Canton of Zurich in Switzerland. This Church with its two (2) organs is one of the most significant religious structures in Switzerland. Inside, the appointments dating back from 1710-1759 are remarkable. It also has a baroque architectural style. The historic Altars created according to Vorarlberg Munster Scheme will welcome you. Ceiling frescoes and icons are just picturesque not to capture. The location of Abbey is surrounded by hiking trails which makes it a perfect place to rest. The monastery is open to the public with Church Services and concerts taking place on a regular basis. Guided tours are also available. A holy place to visit!
Abbey of St. Gall
A dissolved abbey in the city of St. Gallen in Switzerland, the Abbey of St. Gall is a Carolingian-era monastery founded by St. Othmar on the spot where St. Gall established his hermitage. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Like other Abbeys, this Cathedral is also in a Baroque Style. It has one dome and two spires. In addition, one of the treasures of this monastery is its library. The Abbey Library of St. Gallis is considered among the richest medieval libraries in the world. It holds collections of early medieval books in German-speaking parts of Europe. Aside from that, it also houses the major architectural drawing from the early middle ages, the Plan of St. Gall. Like other monasteries, you can also avail yourself of guided tours.
Established on January 22, 1130, Fahr Convent is a benedictine convent in Unterengstringen, Switzerland under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Basel. It is among the Swiss inventory of the cultural property of national and regional significance. The convent features outside and ceiling frescoes, St. Anna Chapel, and the famous Cloister Garden which for years have garnered multiple awards. The sisters are very well into agriculture and viticulture so expect greeneries around the monastery. There is also an area that is ideal for picnicking. If you happen to go, try to visit their restaurant as well. Guided tours are also available. A pilgrimage site in the middle of nature. Worth visiting!
There you have the must-visit Catholic Monasteries in Switzerland!
Switzerland is not just about the Alps and other natural beauty. It is also home to some breathtaking and tranquil monasteries. Have a glimpse of the daily life of monks and sisters, notable architectural structures, and historic cultural heritage. It is a combination of nature and spirituality right before you.
Such a holy experience!