Some time around the 17th century there
was a nobleman by name of Kuno von Falkenstein, who was in love
with the beautiful maiden of the castle Neuerburg. Alas, he wasn’t
the only one! His rival, with some friends, resolved to kill him.
They attacked him in the woods near the castle. He wouldn’t
have stood a chance if it weren’t for the Virgin Mary helping
him. She appeared to him in a vision and showed him a hollow oak
tree where he could hide.
After his miraculous rescue, thankful young Kuno placed this Black
Madonna, probably meant to be a copy of the Black Madonna of Altötting,
in the oak. Soon the people of the region started coming here on
pilgrimage and apparently some of their prayers were answered. The
chapel across from the shrine in the tree exhibits quite a few ex-voti
– thanksgiving plaques offered to the Black Madonna.
In 2010 the local priest reported that the original was stolen.
In 1984 an artist made two copies resembling the old statue, one
for the tree shrine and one for the church in town. The latter seems
to be kept in the parish office building.
Information and photos are based on Ean Begg(*1)
and Mark Veermans, a Dutch
man who walked from Holland to Montserrat, Spain on a Black Madonna
pilgrimage and took the most beautiful pictures. If you don’t
know Dutch I recommend googling Mark Loopt (that is 'Mark walks'
in Dutch) and clicking on “translate page”.
What remains of the 700 year old oak tree is carefully
preserved and still houses the Black Madonna.