Watertravel & Waterside Destinations A nun pays her respects to the jewel-encrusted drawing known as Our Lady of Luxemburg, on display in a window at the small chapel in the square at Kevelaer.

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In 1641 — with the Holy Roman Empire crumbling, the Thirty Years War raging, plague and famine devastating all of Europe — Hendrik Busman was going about his usual rounds.

The small print, Our Lady of Luxemburg, is on display surrounded by jewels which have been donated by the faithful. As the itinerant salesman passed a wayside cross at a spot which is now the site of the city of Kevelaer —then 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 confused. 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 top).

The ornate basiillica at Kevelaer houses a superb pipe organ. Around the same time, a vision appeared to his wife. Shortly aferward she saw a print which closely 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 motorcycles.

The interior of Kevelaer's basilica is exceptionally ornate.
Copyright Don Douglas