Pilgrimage basilica Maria Weißenstein
Surrounded by meadows and woods, the most popular sanctuary in South Tyrol – Maria Weißenstein – is situated on a hill near the village Petersberg. The unique atmosphere is given even more magic with the wonderful view, ranging from the Dolomites with Mt. Schlern and Mt. Rosengarten to Ortler Group.
The pilgrimage church is open all year round from 7.30 am to 7 pm. Pilgrim’s paths start from Petersberg, from Deutschnofen and from Aldein. The crossroad from Leifers to Maria Weißenstein is especially beautiful. Since the end of the 18th century, the parish church in Leifers accommodates the original of the picture of grace of the Mother of Sorrows. In Maria Weißenstein, there is a copy of the 16 m high Pietà of alabaster on the impressive Baroque altar.
In addition to hundreds of votive tablets, the visitors in the pilgrimage church can admire the frescoes by Joseph Asam of Mölckh and by Alfons Siber. Directly near the church, there is the chapel of Saint Peregrinus Laziosi, the patron saint for persons suffering from cancer and the most highly regarded saint of the Servite Order. A pilgrimage and youth hostel, an education centre as well as an inn guarantee the spiritual and physical well-being of all visitors.
Legend has it that Virgin Maria appeared to farmer Leonhard Weißensteiner in 1553, healing him from his disease. As a thank you for this, the farmer built a small church, the so-called original chapel, which can be visited inside the church still today. During the 17th century, a Baroque church has been built surrounding this chapel, as pilgrims were coming more frequently. At the beginning of the 18th century, the sanctuary has been refurbished and the Servite Order has built a monastery.
In 1985, Pope John Paul II gave Maria Weißenstein the title “basilica”, highlighting the enormous importance of the pilgrimage church the same way as during his visit in 1988.