In 1641, during the Christmas Season, a traveling salesman named Hendrick Busman, was walking near the fire-torn village of Kevelaer. When he saw a cross on the side of the road, he decided to stop and offer up a prayer. He suddenly heard a voice say, “At this place, thou shalt build me a chapel.” He was astonished to hear the voice, however, he saw no one when he looked around. Thinking nothing of it, he continued on his journey and didn’t think about it again, until a few days later. Passing through the area again, he heard the voice, this time much louder and clearer than the first time – “At this place, thou shalt built me a chapel!” Not sure what to make of it, he heard it a third time.
After hearing the voice three times, Henrick realized he did not imagine it. He was sad however, because he was not a man of great money and could not afford the means to build such a chapel. He decided to put some money aside each day to attain the funds needed to build the chapel.
After a few months passed, his wife, Mechel, had a vision in a dream during the night. In her dream, she could see a large and beautiful shrine with an image of Our Lady. She had seen this image before in the past when two soldiers presented her with pictures of Our Lady of Luxembourg. Because the pictures were so expensive, she did not purchase them from the soldiers at that time. After Mechel told her husband of her vision and the story about the soldiers, he asked her to set off to find the soldiers and the pictures. Arriving at a prison in Kempen, she found a lieutenant incarcerated there who had bought the pictures from the two soldiers. She bought one of the pictures of Our Lady of Luxembourg from the imprisoned officer.
When Mechel arrived home with the picture, Henrick began to prepare for the shrine of Our Lady to be constructed. His desire was to make the chapel exactly as his wife had described it to him from her dream.
During this time, the voices and the vision started to become known to people in the region. The Carmelite Nuns at Geldern also heard about the acclaimed apparitions and asked to borrow the picture for some time. After praying with the picture, the Carmelites sent the back to the home of Henrick and Mechel.
All of sudden, throngs of people, pilgrims from the region began to come to their home to see and venerate the image of Our Lady of Luxembourg. They were in no way ready to receive all these people. The Franciscan Capuchin Priests that were close to their home housed the image for them until the chapel was complete. Again, throngs of pilgrims also descended upon the priests, so much so, that they asked that once the chapel was built for the image that it be taken back and housed there.
On June 1, 1642, the picture of Our Lady of Luxembourg was placed into the shrine that Henrick had built. It was tall with a thick wall of bricks, had a roof, and a niche so the picture could fit. Glued to a board, the picture of Our Lady of Luxembourg was given its place in the shrine. Although the shrine was built, they still could not handle the large amounts of people coming to see the picture. The parish priest, Fr. Johannes Schink, asked the Bishop for help. The Bishop assigned three Oratorian Priests to assist with the shrine.
Without the delay, the Blessed Virgin Mary in her title as Our Lady of Luxembourg did not hesitate to intercede for the faithful who arrived. Countless physical healings took place on that grounds of the shrine. There were so many cures reported that the Vicar General of the local diocese opened an investigation on the miracles. This investigation was to test the validity of the healings and miracles. Once the investigation was complete, it showed that the healings were valid and that miracles were happening on the site. The crowds grew exponentially.
From the time the shrine was built till his death in 1649, Henrick and Mechel took care of their daily duties. He was very grateful to see so many people come to the shrine.
To house the thousands of pilgrims that came to visit the shrine, a Basilica was eventually built and dedicated to Our Lady. Over the years, many dignitaries from across Europe have visited the shrine, including King Frederick William I, King Frederick William IV and Pope Saint John Paul II. In 1892, Our Lady of Kevelaer was honored with a papal coronation to celebrate the 250th Anniversary.
Our Lady of Kevelaer…Pray for Us
“Our Lady of Kevelaer .” Saint Cecilia, fsspx.com/EucharisticCrusade/2004_May/Lady_Kevelaer.htm.