Novena to Our Lady of Einsiedeln


The Novena is based on antiphons (Psalm Refrains) from the Liturgy of the Hours of the monks on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Einsiedeln which is celebrated on July 16th. By doing so, one of the main characteristics of Einsiedeln as a “Benedictine Pilgrimage Site” is particularly emphasized.

The individual Novena-Days carry features of particular antiphons based on the Old Testament and are patterned to reveal a relationship to Our Lady and to Her Swiss National Shrine. This poetic theology is supported by the hymns in her honor by the wellknown religious writer Silja Walter (1919-2011) who had been publishing under that pen-name even after she entered the Benedictine Convent of Fahr, which also belongs to Einsiedeln, as Sr. Maria Hedwig.

The prayers reflect the liturgical theme of the day and two Marian Invocations from the Litany in Honor of Our Lady of Einsiedeln conclude the end of the individual days of the Novena. Each day of the Novena ends with the Salve Regina, a Marian antiphon which is daily prayed in Einsiedeln since 1547. If time constrictions prevent the fullness of praying the individual days of the Novena, it is also appropriate to excerpt elements which may fit the particular situation.

The Novena may be prayed in preparation of the July 16th Feast Day of Our Lady of Einsiedeln but can easily be used all year round for personal prayer and intentions. Mary wants to accompany each and every one of her children on their own pilgrimage of faith, and she takes us by our hand to lead us to her Son Jesus Christ!

Every day of the Novena

Opening Prayer

Holy Mary, Virgin and Mother of God, with this Novena I honor You as Our Lady of Einsiedeln. In my thoughts I am wandering to Your Shrine in the Heart of Switzerland for You to be my Mother and my Intercessor. You know all my intentions and my sorrows. You also know all my trust is in Your motherly help and assistance for my particular need, which I lay here into Your Hands…

Take me by my hand and help me to walk the pilgrimage of true faith led by Your own hand. Turn Your merciful eyes to me and in this my exile show me Jesus, the Blessed Fruit of Your womb. Amen.

Closing Prayer

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To You do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To You do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn, then, most gracious advocate, Your eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show us the blessed fruit of Your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

No other prayer is as closely connected with Einsiedeln as the “Salve Regina”. The daily singing of it at the end of Vespers goes back to the Cistercian Abbot Johannes von Lenzingen (+1547), who had been exiled during the Reformation from his own monastery in Maulbronn, Germany, and found refuge in Einsiedeln.

Day One of the Novena - July 7th

Holy Mary – Rising from the Wilderness

«Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense?»
1st Antiphon of 1st Vespers (Cant 3,6)

At the beginning of Einsiedeln there was only barren wilderness to which St. Meinrad desired to retreat into its solitude in the year of 835 according to the example of the early Desert Fathers. But not the sands of the desert awaited him, only deep silence and the inhospitable ancient Dark Forest. For many years Einsiedeln was called by the Latin name “Heremus” – meaning desert or barren wilderness. Although it did not remain so! After the cruel and violent death of St. Meinrad January 21, 861, other hermits came to his cell and in the year 934 the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln was founded and over the centuries it grew into a major Marian Shrine:

Once a Dark Forest,
Animals and deadly wilderness.
Today blossoms forth from You,
Tree of Life, Blessed Virgin Mary,
A new and holy world.

Holy Mother of God, Holy Mary, sometimes I experience my daily life as nothing but “barren wilderness”, resembling a waterless track. Come and enter into my long and dry days! Bring forth through Your motherly presence the blossoms of a new and holy world, a world permeated by the love of God. Amen.

Holy Mary, Queen of the Hermits – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Two of the Novena - July 8th

Mary – Black and Beautiful

«Black I am, and beautiful, o you Daughters of Jerusalem. Therefore the King loves me and leads me to his chamber.»
2nd Antiphon of 1st Vespers (Cant 1,4-5)

The black color in the faces of Mother and Child are the particular characteristics of the sacred image of Our Lady of Einsiedeln. The statue is carved from basswood and dates back to the middle of the 15th century. She is counted among the most known and surely the most beautiful of the Black Madonnas in Europe. The black color marks the role of the statue as a sacred image which is not first and foremost a work of art but will point to a spiritual reality. She points to Christ, “The Sun of Justice” (Mal 3,20), which has marked Mary as “burnished” (Cant 1,6):

The dawn lines the edges,
The vast expanses grow bright.
The cloud standing in the ascent,
Begins to burn.
We celebrate You, we turn to You,
Mary the new Dawn.
You carry the day which lifts us
From our nights.

Mary, Mother of God, there is often darkness in my heart. But You are the Dawn of the new Creation which points to Christ, the Sun of Justice. He is the bright day who lifts me out of the darkness of night. Help me to expose myself to the fire of His Love, to be marked and changed by it, so that God may recognize in me the image of His Son. Amen.

Holy Mary, black and beautiful – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Three of the Novena - July 9th

Mary – Fountain of Living Waters

«The Wellspring of the Garden is You, a Fountain of Living Waters, Mother of the Redeemer.»
3rd Antiphon of 1st Vespers (Comp. to Cant 4,15)

The Orient sees oases as places of community and its gardens as a remembrance of Paradise lost. The sins of mankind turned the world into wilderness and made it hostile to life. The quote from the “Song of Songs” describes the Virgin as the “Wellspring of Salvation”. In the center of the Abbey Square in Einsiedeln stands the Fountain of Mary as a symbol that Mary gave us true life. Marian Shrines like Einsiedeln are to be stations of rest on our pilgrimage path of faith, where the promise will be fulfilled: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Is 12,3):

Woman of Light, burnished by Light,
People flocking together,
In the dew of the desert,
Tree of Life, Virgin Mary,
Resting in your shade.

Mother of God, holy Mary, I too come before you thirsting to rest in Your presence from the toils and troubles of life. You are the Mother of the Redeemer who said, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11,28). Show me Jesus and lead me to Him, so that He will give me that water which will become a well in me and flow into life eternal (Comp. Jn 4,14). Amen.

Holy Mary, Fountain of Living Water – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Four of the Novena - July 10th

Mary – Queen of His servants

«You Mary, holy Mother of God, You have found mercy and favor from among all women before God. He placed a crown upon your head and made You the Queen over all His servants.»
Magnificat-Antiphon of 1st Vespers (Comp. to Est 2,17)

These verses originate from the Book of Esther and are explaining a unique feature of Einsiedeln. It is not only a pilgrimage site, but also a Benedictine Monastery where Mary reigns as the Queen of the servants of God. The monks of Einsiedeln Abbey are not only the guardians of the Shrine of the Mother of God, but they are also Her heralds, and the following verse describes the task of the Benedictines of Einsiedeln with an image of the Heavenly City of Jerusalem:

Onto your ramparts He, the Lord, placed watchmen,
Virgin and Handmaiden,
Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
Mary, You are the splendid City on the Mountain.
They may not remain silent, neither day nor night,
Until all people of the earth will praise You.

Mary, Mother of God, I pray to You for the monks of the Einsiedeln Abbey, who have been called to be guardians and watchmen of Your Shrine. Strengthen them in Your service and help them to bring people closer to Him as the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. Intercede for their monastic community that they may flourish with good and fruitful vocations and continue to be witnesses of Your Son far into the future. Amen.

Holy Mary, Queen of the servants of God – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Five of the Novena - July 11th

Mary – The Pride of our people

«You are the glory of Jerusalem, You are the great pride of Israel, You are the great boast of our nation.»
1st Antiphon of 2nd Nocturne of Vigil (Jud 15,9)

The role of Our Lady of Einsiedeln as “Patrona Helvetiae” (Patroness of Switzerland) was uncontested for centuries until the Reformation. Even though St. Niklaus von Flue (1417-1487) was declared the official Patron Saint of the Nation after his canonization in 1947, Our Lady of Einsiedeln continues to occupy a special place in the hearts of the faithful Swiss. Therefore, Einsiedeln continues to remain the National Shrine of the Swiss Confederation. In the words of the Book of Judith, Mary, the Mother of God, is indeed “the great Pride of our people” as these verses express:

We cannot be silent and mute before the Lord,
Virgin Queen,
Mother of God and Mother of the Church,
Mary, You, the City illuminated by the Lamb.
From You comes forth the new and eternal Day,
The new Creation, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, in Your image I recognize the love and tender veneration of my forefathers in the faith. I can follow their traces as I wander to Your Shrine to join with You into praising God. I commend my homeland to Your motherly protection. Help the Christians in our country to be leaven for the Gospel and light of the world. Amen.

Holy Mary, Pride of our people – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Six of the Novena - July 12th

Mary – Splendor of Carmel

«The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.»
3rd Antiphon of Lauds (Cant 35,2)

The Feast of Our Lady of Einsiedeln of July 16th falls on the same day as the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is reflected in an antiphon during the morning prayer. Einsiedeln is located in the foothills of the Swiss Alps and has one thing in common with Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. As many other Marian shrines, they are situated between Heaven and Earth. In the Bible the most notable locations of encounters with the Divine take place in the mountains. It is the same with the places of veneration of the Mother of God, whose vocation is universal, not bound to a single location, but the entire land is to be “wedded” to the Lord:

You are a crown in the hand of the Lord,
Virgin, Lady,
Mother of God and Mother of the Church,
Mary, You golden City of crystal.
As a bride You are sumptuously adorned
Your land, which is wedded to the Lord.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, To You the Lord granted all glory and splendor. You are the beloved Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the Bride of the Holy Spirit. You are all beautiful and Your life mirrors the Lord looking lovingly upon it. Help me to recognize and rejoice that I too am “beautiful” in the eyes of the Lord. Amen.

Holy Mary, Splendor of Carmel – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Seven of the Novena - July 13th

Mary – Filled with God

«The Lord God filled each of His houses and granaries with His treasures, o holy Bearer of God.»
1st Antiphon of 2nd Vespers ( Sir 1,17)

As Mary herself, so are all of her shrines filled with the merciful presence of God. A verse from the Book of Sirach speaks of this, as does the medieval legend of the Engelweihe (Angelic Consecration). This legend tells of the night of September 14th, 948, where Jesus Christ Himself consecrated the Chapel of Mercy in the presence of countless Angels and Saints in honor of His Most Holy Mother. Even though the legend is simply explaining the transfer of Patronage of the chapel by the Redeemer to His Mother Mary, the legend is nevertheless true in that we believe in the reality of the Church transcending time and space:

Angels celebrate You with us
and with the Church of Heaven!
You, who have conceived Jesus,
Tree of Life, Virgin Mary,
You bore Divine Fruit.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, we venerate You as Our Lady of Einsiedeln. Your Son has sanctified this site by His presence and made it into Your Shrine. Here You show Yourself as loving Mother of all those who come to You with their joys and with their sorrows, with their pleas and with thanksgiving. Let me receive those blessings, which may bring me ever closer to Your Son Jesus Christ! Amen.

Holy Mary, filled with God – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Eight of the Novena - July 14th

Mary – The Praise of God

«Sing and rejoice, Daughter Zion! Now, I am coming to dwell in your midst – oracle of the Lord»
3rd Antiphon of 2nd Vespers (Zec 2,14)

The verse from the Book of Zechariah is also part of the “Votive Mass of Our Lady of Einsiedeln”. This verse of the Prophet from the Old Testament brims with joy and jubilation, and in Mary the promises of the First Covenant are fulfilled. The echoes of the chant of the Magnificat and the Salve Regina by the monks and the countless pilgrims throughout the centuries are drifting through Einsiedeln and fuse into a magnificent symphony of prayer. The purpose of the praise of Mary is to allow the flow of praise to the Most Holy Trinity:

To praise You is to behold the Sun.
To love You is to feel the Sun.
To sing to You is awakening the Song of Praise
in Your soul.
So sing with us, praise the Lord,
who has lifted You and us up
through Your Son in the Holy Spirit,
God, our Father.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, I join myself to all who have been flocking for more than a thousand years to Einsiedeln to praise You, and together with You, I praise the merciful God, who has done great things to me too. Help me so that like You I will make God the center of my life, so that my life will become one praise to His greatness. Amen.

Holy Mary, Praise of the Lord – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

Day Nine of the Novena - July 15th

Mary – My Mother

«The Lord said to His Mother; Woman, behold your son! Then He said to the disciple; Behold your mother!»
Magnificat-Antiphon of 2nd Vespers (Comp. to Jn 19,26-27)

These verses from the Gospel of John join the evening prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist together during the Feast of Our Lady of Einsiedeln. They are pointing directly into the center of all Catholic Marian veneration. Mary is the Mother of the Redeemer and through that also our Mother. She is the legacy of her Son to the Church, which sees Her simultaneously as archetype and parable until the fulfilment of time. The path of pilgrimage of the Church spans through time and space. Mary became our Mother through the events of Golgotha:

Christ exchanged Your son
beneath the Cross You became
the Mother of the sinners.
You Mother, satisfy our hunger,
Tree of Life, Virgin Mary,
Show us God, our Salvation.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, He chose You to be the Mother of His Son, and as His most faithful Disciple You walked the pilgrimage of faith to the Cross. There Your Son made You the Mother of His disciple and since then You are the Mother of all who follow Your Son. You are the Mother of the Church. Let me and all who take the path of the pilgrim to Your Shrine in Einsiedeln feel Your motherly presence. Show us Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Holy Mary, our Mother – pray for us!
Our Lady of Einsiedeln – pray for us!

Salve Regina

On the Feast Day - July 16th

Litany to Our Lady of Einsiedeln

This Litany takes up the invocations from the Novena to Our Lady of Einsiedeln and is therefore based on the liturgical texts of her Feast Day and the poetic work of Sr. Hedwig (Silja) Walter, O.S.B.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary, pray for us
Mary, Our Lady of Einsiedeln
Mary, Risen from the wilderness
Mary, Clothed in frankincense and myrrh
Mary, Light in the Dark Forest
Mary, Tree of Life from which a new and holy world blossoms.
Mary, Queen of the Hermits
Mary, Black and Beautiful
Mary, Dawn of the New Creation
Mary, New Morning, who carries the Eternal Day
Mary, Fountain of Living Water
Mary, Wellspring of Salvation
Mary, Mother of the Redeemer
Mary, Woman of Light
Mary, Queen of the servants of God
Mary, Crowned by God
Mary, Queen of monks and nuns
Mary, Magnificent City on the Mountain
Mary, Pride of our people
Mary, Glory of Jerusalem
Mary, Joy of Israel
Mary, Queen of our Homeland
Mary, Patroness of Switzerland
Mary, City illuminated by the Lamb
Mary, Splendor of Carmel
Mary, Glory of Lebanon
Mary, Crown in the Hand of the Lord
Mary, Golden City of Crystal
Mary, Bride sumptuously adorned
Mary, Wedded to the Lord
Mary, Filled with God
Mary, Treasury of the Lord
Mary, Praised by the Angels
Mary, Celebrated by the Church of Heaven
Mary, Tree of Life bearing the Divine Fruit
Mary, Praise of God
Mary, Daughter of Zion
Mary, Dwelling of God among people
Mary, Exultation of the People of God
Mary, Our Mother
Mary, Gift of Your Son
Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church
Mary, Tree of Life filling our hunger
Mary, Queen and Mother of Mercy
Mary, Our Life
Mary, Our Sweetness
Mary, Our Hope
Mary, Our Advocate
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us, O Lord.

Our Lady of Einsiedeln, pray for us,
So that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

We honor You, Holy Mary, we turn to You, new Morning. You carry the day that lifts us up from sleep. In praising You we behold the Sun. In loving You, we feel the Sun. In singing to You, we awake a Hymn of Praise within Your soul. So, sing and praise the Lord with us, who has lifted up You and us through Your Son in the Holy Spirit, God our Father. Amen.