In 1641 — with the
Empire crumbling, the Thirty Years War raging, plague and famine
devastating all of Europe — Hendrik Busman was going about
his usual rounds.
As the itinerant
salesman passed a wayside cross at a spot which is now the site of the
city of Kevelaer
in Holland, now in Germany — he heard a
voice. According to the story, the voice said to him, “At
this place shalt thou build me a
chapel.” Seeing no one about, he went on his way, perhaps a little
A week later,
Hendrick is said to have heard the
voice again. This time he was sure it was coming from the cross.
Although he had virtually no money, he saved what little he could
toward building a chapel (shown in photo at
Around the same time,
a vision appeared to his wife. Shortly aferward she saw a print which
resembled her vision, and, although they couldn't afford to buy it,
they did so eventually.
From there it
snowballed, the chapel was built and subsequently improved.
The print was put
on display in such a way that it can be viewed from outside. And
Kevelaer has been the destination of
pilgrims ever since. From May to October a visit to Kevelaer will be
shared with crowds of pilgrims,
sometimes arriving on foot or bicycle, another group coming on