samedi 10 octobre 2009

Swiss and the Barack Obama Nobel Peace Prize

Dear President Barack Obama, at

We received your message and we thank you for this Hope given to all. Please, see texts and Africa below...

This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama


Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.


Our country has a special message about peace.

Dorothea and Niklaus von Flüe

Saint Nicholas of Flue, father of ten children.

Patron of Switzerland and of the world peace thanks to economical Justice.

God favored him with numerous visions and the gift of prophecy.

Swiss Hermit and Peacemaker, Holy Patron of the world peace through economical Justice.


Pope John Paul II celebrates the Eucharist in Flüeli and afterwards prays at the grave of Brother Klaus in Sachseln. There he asks that Dorothea be honored also and he calls her "saintly".

Special message for Michele Obama


Conjugal love gives a sacrament and God is there, present with every good human and complete act of Love between spouses, this is really an eucharistic adoration, basis for the social peace.

GOD is present in every act of real and true Love.

Vision about greed:

Saint Nicholas of Flue main economical vision is about how bad can money be and how to resist to this evil.

The penny and the fountain of life


The public place.

The brother rises in the night to meditate on the Passion and the martyrdom of God.

At the time to fall asleep again, he sees in spirit a place: a crowd of people; deliver to hard work, but he is astonished to find them so poor.

The basin where the Fountain flows. -

Then, at his right hand, he saw a beautiful house whose door was large open.

He entered and was in a kitchen, pertaining to a whole commune.

On the right, a staircase of four steps "or about" some rare men went up there.

Their clothing seemed sprinkled of white.

He saw a Fountain leaving the steps and filling a large basin in the kitchen.

It brought three things: wine, oil, honey.

 It ran as quickly as a flash, and so high that the palate resounded about it like a horn. He was astonished that people, however so poor, did not come to the Fountain, open to everyone.

The source of the Fountain. -

Then, it assembled the steps to see from where came the Fountain, He arrived in a big room.

In the medium, was a tank. He approached at the risk of his life.

With the four angles, he noticed four powerful iron stays. The Source was so transparent we could have seen at the bottom least any hair; and she sang marvelously in the tank and in caned where she ran out. She was inexhaustible and full to the edges, full to the brim.

The world perishes of misery just besides the Fountain of Life. -

Then, he wanted to go down again to see what retained the men to come to draw the Fountain.

One had drawn up a barrier through the place and he did not let pass anybody without claiming the penny.

Another made whirl its club, to require the penny.

Another played music of the fifre, to have the penny.

Tailors, shoe-makers, craftsmen claimed the penny to him.

And before they have finished, they were already become again so poor that they did not even succeed  to enrich temporally.

But nobody came to draw from the Fountain.

Conclusion. - Then the scene changed, the man saw wild slopes similar to those which surround the vault and hermitage of Nicolas, and he understood that the palate was himself, Nicolas, Nike, from nikê, in greek victory and  laos, People, Victory for the people.

The solution is in the communal house, only four steps to climb ( Fights against the Love of money, against pride, against selfishness and against violence ), a small effort, Love to each other, the people living in your village is the solution, small is beautiful, at the lowest level, the village united to protect the weakest.

This simply  leads to peace and justice worldwide.

My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.

Prayer of Saint Nicholas of Flue
patron of Switzerland and of the world peace thanks to economical Justice.

His favorite meditations

The Life of Brother Klaus


"The name of Jesus be your greeting and we wish you much good and may the Holy Spirit be your last reward"

Graphic about 1672 With these words greets us a mystic and politician who lived more than 500 years ago and is still revered in Switzerland as peacemaker and saint. His name: Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487). Till his fiftieth year he lived as a respected member of his village in the canton of Obwalden, taking an active part in the political life of the time. After a deep spiritual crisis he withdraws from public life and spends the remaining 20 years as a hermit, praying and fasting. Men from near and far come to him seeking counsel. They call him lovingly Brother Claus. The mystic becomes more and more a political adviser and his fame spreads over all Europe.

His time

In the 15th century Switzerland goes through a stormy period of development: wars at home and abroad. Corruption and bribary are rife. The situation in the church is disastrous, forshadowing the reformation. In Sachseln , Nicholas of Flüe's parish, there is neither priest nor church service from 1415 – 1446. Nor are there any schools in the country. Nicholas of Flüe is a self educated man, he learnt from life. At decisive moments of his life occur dreams and visions revealing to him the inner way and helping him to interpret prophetically the needs of his time. After the death of the hermit friends, neighbours and acquaintances record in the church book of Sachseln (1488) how they have experienced Nicholas of Flüe. In addition other literary sources contain hundreds of contemporary reports. (Standard work: Durrer / Amschwand, see note on literature.)

His call

Nicholas of Flüe, son of Heini of Flüe and Hemma Ruobert, is born in 1417 and baptized in the neighbouring village. Later he says that he could remember his birth and his baptism. Already in his mother's womb he had seen a star which lit up the whole world, as well as a great rock and an oil-jar. This vision recalls Jeremiah 1,5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you for my own: before you were born I consecrated you. I appointed you a prophet to the nations." At 16 Nicholas sees a high tower at the place where later his cell and his chapel will stand. Thus from his youth he is prepared to seek a "mystical union with God" ("einig wesen", church book 1488). The mystical union with God ("einig wesen") is, as it were, Nicholas of Flüe's life motto: it is his desire to bring God and the world together. And like a living tower he will later guide and support the people.

Life in the world

Dwelling of Nicholas and Dorothea of Flüe-Wyss Nicholas becomes a farmer. In youth he is also a soldier, but "he had always loved moderation, punished injustice and in war caused little injury to his enemies but had rather, as far as possible, protected them" (church book 1488). At almost 30 he builds a house and marries the 16 year old Dorothea Wyss. Five sons and five daughters are born to them. Nicholas is councillor and judge. He has a special gift to arbitrate between contending parties. But he has no false respect of persons. 1457 he conducts a law-suit for his villagers against a priest who demands too much tribute. 1462 he arbitrates between the people of Stans and the cloister Engelberg and he pleads for the rights of the people to elect priests. Nicholas has experienced that judges and councillors are also bribable. He withdraws from all civil posts and experiences a deep inner crisis. More and more he seeks solitude and fasts.

Facing the Truth

Nicholas recognizes clearly what is wrong with his time. He sees into the hearts of the people who in private and in public life always seek only their own advantage. Once in a dream he sees the great Pilatus mountain sink into the ground: "the whole earth opened and sin was revealed. Great crowds of people appeared and behind the people Truth. And they bore on their hearts a swelling as big as two fists. And this swelling was selfishness which led the people astray". This vision is as significant today as then. The sinking Pilatus mountain may stand for our threatened environment, for the ever widening gap between rich and poor, for the millions of homeless. Are we prepared to face the truth that stands clearly behind this phenomenon?

Crisis and parting

Nicholas wrestles with the problem of his future way. On the one hand he is bound to his family, on the other hand the urge to relinquish all earthly goods grows. After two years of tormenting doubt Dorothea gives him her liberating "Yes" to the step into an uncertain future. On the 16th October, the anniversary of Saint Gall, Nicholas leaves house and farm (1467) dressed in a penitential robe. Many people cannot understand how Nicholas could leave his wife and ten children. Such a decision cannot be explained. It is a unique act scarcely to be imitated. Later Nicholas often says it was by the great grace of God "That he received the consent of his wife and children to his hermit's life" (Church book). In spite of this separation the family remained united in love. Dorothea's share in the saving way of her husband may not be undervalued. To her belong thanks and honour no less than to Nicholas.

Brother Claus

In his brown penitential robe Brother Claus sets off towards Basle. At Liestal, near Basle, he is called to a halt: The town seems to be in flames. A peasant coming along the way advises Nicholas not to go abroad but to serve God at home. Nicholas spends the night in the open. A flash of lightening strikes him causing a pain as if his body were being cut open with a knife. Nicholas turns back. Without food and drink he reaches his home and is found by huntsmen in the mountains. He seeks further till four lights show him the place where he should settle: on his own land only a few hundred metres away from his house and family on the bank of the stream in the deep gorge of the Ranft. He spends the winter in cold and poverty. Next winter peasants build him a small house and a chapel. The farmer Nicholas of Flüe becomes the hermit Brother Claus.

Prophetic fasting

Since the night near Liestal Brother Claus lives without bodily nourishment. Curious questioners about his fasting he answers with reserve: "God knows." But once he says: "when he attends mass and the priest takes the sacrament he receives such a strengthening that he wishes to be without food and drink, otherwise he could not endure it" (Church book 1488). With his fasting Nicholas stands out favourably against the pleasure-loving and miracle-seeking late middle ages. Fasting is for him actually nothing extraordinary, he has always wished for it. His son Hans reports: "as long as he remembers his father has always fled the world. Also he has fasted four days every week and during Lent every day never eaten more than a small piece of bread and a few dried pears" (Church book 1488).

The two windows

Inside the cell, the two windowsThe hermit Brother Claus is still very much in the world. The ambassador of Milan, Bernardo Imperiali, writes on 27th June 1483 to his Duke about Brother Claus: "lo trovato informato del tutto." (I found him informed about everything). The hermit is abreast of current developments. He has an alert mind and goes to the root of problems. Through one window of his cell the light shines onto the altar of the chapel. The other window opens out to the people. All that is brought from the world outside to Brother Claus he brings before God in prayer. All that he receives in prayer he gives back to the people. His counsel comes from the depths. Today we are exposed to a flood of information but we remain on the surface and consume more and more. Brother Claus did not consume, he fasted. Where men dig deeply new life grows for the world.

Life out of the centre

"Brother Claus is a simple layman who cannot read" (Heinrich Wölflin 1501). Yet the hermit speaks of his "book". It is a drawing with the structure of a wheel. The movement goes out from the centre and comes back to the centre. The wheel picture is made public in 1487 by an unknown pilgrim with an explanation from Brother Claus: "That is my book in which I learn and seek the art of this teaching." He calls the wheel the figure in which he contemplates the nature of God: "In the very centre is the undivided Godhead in which all the saints rejoice. Like the three rays the three Persons go forth from the one Godhead and have embraced the heavens and the whole world". An illustrated version of this wheel exists already during the hermit's lifetime (see back side of this brochure). Both pictures bear witness to the deep wisdom and clear judgement of this "simple layman".

The peacemaker

Many people come to Brother Claus seeking advice: men and women, young and old, rich and poor. The Dukes of Austria, Milan and Venice keep in contact with him, likewise the cantons. In a time full of intrigues Brother Claus stands above all parties. His convincing life lends him the highest moral authority. After the victory over Burgundy when the confederation stands on the brink of civil war because of the rich booty and political rivalry Brother Claus makes a decisive contribution to peace. (Treaty of Stans 1481). From that time he is recognized as a peacemaker and is more and more often called upon to arbitrate in political and ecclesiastical disputes such as, for example, in the reform conflict about the renewal of the cloister Klingental in Basle (1482) or in the disagreement between the town of Constance and the Confederacy (1482).

Peace in justice

Thanks to Brother Claus the quarreling cantons came to a lasting confederal agreement in 1481. In his letter to the Council of Berne the hermit tells us what peace depends on: "Obedience is the greatest honour in Heaven and on Earth, therefore you must strive to be obedient to one another. Peace is certainly in God, for God is peace." You cannot command peace, it is a gift. Conflicts can only be fruitfully resolved in mutual respect and mutual obedience. This calls on the deepest in men and demands our greatest effort. There is no peace without justice. Ultimately peace is founded in mystical union with God (einig wesen). Since 1981 there is a Peace Village at Flüeli, near the saint's cell: a place where young and old seek to learn peace.

My Lord and my God

On the 21st of March 1487 Brother Claus dies at the age of seventy. Over his whole life stands his personal prayer:

My Lord and my God,
take everything from me
that keeps me from Thee.

My Lord and my God,
give everything to me
that brings me near to Thee.

My Lord and my God,
take me away from myself
and give me completely to Thee.

The ecumenical Saint

Brother Claus lived before the Reformation but some of his earliest biographers are reformed. The hermit warns our church not primarily to watch over the frontiers, but to concentrate on the centre. In the middle, in the Trinitarian God, is the mystical union with God (einig wesen). The important thing is that we really live from faith. The Zürich Reformer Huldrych Zwingli sometimes cites Brother Claus, especially in connection with the struggle against mercenaries. Brother Claus stands above Parties. "He brings together the different confessions and cultures: he is the better self of Switzerland." (Thus the reformed theologian Georges Méautis.) And on the occasion of the canonization in 1947 wrote Karl Barth: "In spite of the canonization , which we absolutely refuse, Brother Claus is still our saint."

Brother Claus belongs to the whole world

Already during his lifetime his contemporaries call the hermit "a living saint". His fame spreads over all Europe. Probably the most impressive account of a journey to Brother Claus is from Hans Waldheim from Halle in Sachsen. On the 25th May 1474 he meets the hermit with his wife Dorothea and their youngest son. In 1487 an illustrated book about the wheel picture of Brother Claus appears in Nürnberg. Amongst the first pilgrims who seek the grave of the hermit after his death are a fisherman from Denmark and a goldsmith from Erfurt. Both come from Santiago de Compostela to Sachseln and are healed from their sickness. The Swiss poet Heinrich Federer writes in 1921: "Brother Claus is much too great to belong to Switzerland only… he belongs to the whole world." In four continents today there are hundreds of churches, chapels and schools consecrated to the peace-saint Nicholas of Flüe.


© 1999 - 2009 Wallfahrt Sachseln

St. Nicholas of Flue, March 21  and September 25

Biographical selection:

Nicholas was born on March 21, 1417 and died on the same day 70 years later in 1487. He was from the canton of Unterwalden in Switzerland. His parents were simple peasants who tried to provide Nicholas with a better education, given his uncommon intelligence and piety. He had an inclination for the contemplative life and practiced severe mortifications. He married and had ten children, some of whom came to hold high positions in the country. He used to wake every night to pray and read a psalter in honor of Our Lady.

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Picture of St. Nicholas of Flue
from the parish church in Sachseln

At age 23 he was called to take arms in a campaign against the canton of Zurich, which rebelled against the Swiss Confederation. Fourteen years later he was still engaged in military service and had achieved the post of captain, having 100 men under his command. In battles Nicolas always fought with the sword in one hand and the rosary in the other. His courage earned him the highest military decorations.

Returning home, he was asked to be mayor of his city, but declined the honor, alleging his humble origin made him unsuitable for that post. However, he accepted the position of judge in the local court, a position that he carried out with rare ability for nine years. Then he retired from this position to his farm to have more time to dedicate himself to matters of the soul.

He had received symbolic visions since childhood. After his retirement, he was watching his flock when he mystically saw a marvelous lily growing from his mouth and rising up to the clouds; suddenly it fell to the ground and was eaten by a horse. He understood that his contemplation of heavenly things was often disturbed and consumed by earthly concerns. He realized he should abandon the world and devote himself exclusively to matters of soul as a hermit.

Although she had just borne his tenth child, his wife heroically consented. He settled at Ranft, a few miles from his home. From the outset of his life as a hermit, he was miraculously nourished only by the Holy Eucharist, which he received once a month.

He was loved and venerated by the people, and pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He was often called on by dignitaries to make peace between the cantons in their continuous disputes. He always achieved success in those missions.

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Many pilgrims came to consult St. Nicholas,
known as Brother Klaus

Woodgraving from the Chronicle of Johann Stumpff, Zurich, 1548
Shortly before his death he was assailed by strong pains. "O, how terrible is death!" he used to say. But he delivered his last breath in peace. His body was preserved in the Church of Sachseln, a village close to his birthplace.

Even today the visitor can venerate there the bones of Brother Klaus (Nicholas in German), his mortal remains richly ornamented with gold and precious stones, and around his neck countless military decorations of honor.
Note: After Vatican II, the richly adorned reliquary, which also served as an altarplace, was replaced with a table and simple modern contemporary tomb without the jewels or military decorations.

Saint Nicholas de Flue – a saint for peace in Burundi

Students' Pilgrimage to the Shrine in Mount Sion Gikungu, Burundi


Bujumbura, Mont Sion Gikungu: 11. Gründungstag des Chors Niklaus von der Flüe, und Schülerwallfahrt

Bujumbura, Monte Sion Gikungu: 11° aniversario del coro San Nicolás de Flue y peregrinación de estudiantes

Bujumbura, Mount Sion Gikungu: 11th anniversary of the Choir St. Nicolas of Flue, and students' pilgrimage

Bujumbura, Mont Sion Gikungu: 11. Gründungstag des Chors Niklaus von der Flüe, und Schülerwallfahrt


Die Statue des Heiligen wird zum Heiligtum getragen

Entrega de la estatua del santo

Offering of the statue of the saint

Die Statue des Heiligen wird zum Heiligtum getragen

Das Heiligtum von Mont Sion Gikungu  

El Santuario de Monte Sion Gikungu

The Shrine of Mount Sion Gikungu

Das Heiligtum von Mont Sion Gikungu

Fotos: Marahukiro © 2007


BURUNDI, Fr. Deogratias Marahukiro.  Sunday, 30 September was a special day on Mount Zion Gikungu. Not only was it the last Sunday of September and therefore, normally Pilgrimage Sunday, but the Saint Nicholas de Flue choir celebrated its eleventh anniversary. Furthermore, the Schoenstatt pupils invited students from other schools join them on a pilgrimage to open the new school year.

As a result, the liturgy on this Sunday was as beautiful as it was rich, above all symbolically rich.

An offering of a book and a pen to the Queen of Peace:

The symbols were interesting and unique, but above all, these symbols were richly charged with meaning. The Schoenstatt pupils, who were accompanied by children belonging to other Catholic movements, wanted to start the school year with a pilgrimage in which they would entrust the academic year to the Virgin Mary. This was a very touching initiative, which should be encouraged as this could begin a powerful tradition for the students, who will think of entrusting themselves to the Virgin Mary at the beginning of every school year. If it is encouraged, it will also allow the Schoenstatt pupils to help other school children to find the Virgin Mary in the Shrine. The pupils did not just make a pilgrimage, they knew that they were giving themselves to the royal heart (Ku kirimba), and anyone who goes to the heart never comes back empty-handed. He returns with a gift. This is why they came offering gifts to the Queen. They presented, in their own words "a hoe that they use to tend their science garden at school." They also presented a book and pen. Through these symbols, they presented all the work that they will do this year. And they know that they won't be alone: the Mother of God will be with them throughout the year.

Eleven and a crown of roses offered by the Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir

The Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir celebrated their eleventh anniversary. For this reason they included an offering of eleven candles carried by some of the dancers in the choir. In addition to the candles, the choir also wanted to give a special present:

A crown of roses. Why such a crown ? Because the choir also wanted to contribute to the crowning of the Holy Virgin as the Queen of Peace. They knew that in crowning the Virgin Mary, they are also committing themselves to promoting peace in Burundi. They understand that the life of this crowning is at the heart of St. Nicholas de Flue's mission. St. Nicholas de Flue had a special mission in this tiny country, once known as Africa's Switzerland. This is also why St. Nicholas de Flue was at the heart of the liturgical celebration.

A statue of St. Nicholas de Flue led the procession at the beginning of Mass. A large man was asked to carry the statue as high as possible. The procession began moving in time with the music. Joy seemed to glow from the face of St. Nicholas' statue. The almost disfigured face of the statue appeared to have been transfigured and took on a new expression as the sun's rays shone from it. The opening hymn was magnificently directed by Mount Zion's "famous choir master," Mr. Matthias, and this set the tone so that the entire Eucharistic celebration could as beautiful as possible.

The most touching moment was the thanksgiving, after the presentation of the symbols during the offertory. It was beautiful to watch the entire people of God lifting up their hands to dance and praise the Lord. This gave the idea and image of what heaven must be, a place of praise and worship before the true God. In fact, if our liturgy is spoken with sincerity, it becomes a participation and foretaste of heaven.

At the end of Mass, we processed, or rather, we "pilgrimaged" to the Shrine accompanied by St. Nicholas de Flue, the saint of peace and took the crown of roses with us to offer it to Mary. The Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir wanted to place this symbolic and meaning full gift in the most important place, there where Mary has placed her royal throne, in the Shrine. We could also say that St. Nicholas accompanied us to ask Mary, the Queen of Peace for peace. The crown of flowers was a small gesture and may seem insignificant in the eyes of many, but it was loaded with meaning and symbolism. It means that we believe that Mary is truly the Queen of peace and is able to intercede for us, asking for peace in our hearts and in our country. It means that we are not alone, we walk with St. Nicholas de Flue, the saint of peace. It also means each one of us, particularly the Saint Nicholas de Flue Choir, are committed to promoting peace and making this gesture fruitful. Finally, it also calls all of us to be missionaries and apostles of a new culture that is being born: a culture of peace.

In conclusion, we thank all those who made this beautiful day possible, we thank those who prayed that everything would go well and above all, for those who prayed for rain, as we felt the very first drops beginning to fall. We also thank all those in the International Schoenstatt Family who were present with us in prayer.

Original: French

Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Johannesburg, South Africa

Had Nicholas not been a saint, or had he eaten and drunk like other saints, Switzerland with all it has meant for peace and humanity would probably not exist today. For Nicholas's entire life was ordained in view of his vocation to save his country.

Nicholas von Flue was born on March 21st, 1417 in the Canton of Unterwalden on the lake of Lucerne, a citizen of a peasant democracy and a farmer's son. As he grew up he proved himself a capable farmer, and the ability he displayed in the local parliament, of which every male citizen was a member, led to his election at an early age as councillor and judge. He also proved himself a capable commander of troops. In the war against the duke of Tirol he persuaded his compatriots to respect a convent of nuns. Though willing to perform his military service, Nicholas condemned as immoral, wars of aggression and the slaughter of non-combatants inevitable in any major modern war. About the age of thirty he married a farmer's daughter, Dorothy Wiss, and built a farmhouse to receive her. The couple had ten children and descendants survive to this day.

Nicholas had thus approved himself to his countrymen as a thoroughly capable man, as farmer, military leader, member of the assembly, councillor, judge and father of a family—also a man of complete moral integrity. All the while, however, he led a life of contemplative prayer and rigorous fasting. He was the subject of symbolic visions and a diabolic assault.

After some twenty years of married life, in 1467 Nicholas received a compelling call to abandon his home and the world and become a hermit. Though she had just borne his tenth child his wife heroically consented. His neighbors, however, even his older children, regarded his action as indefensible, unbalanced, immoral and irresponsible. He set out for Alsace, where he intended to live. Had he carried out his intention his vocation would have been missed. A storm, however, symbolically interpreted, and friendly advice not to settle where the Swiss were detested made him turn back from the border. At the same time he became incapable of eating or drinking—a condition which continued for the rest of his life. As an act of obedience to a bishop he once ate with acute agony a piece of soaked bread. (The problem of prolonged fasting is more fully discussed in the account of St. Lidwina of Schiedam.)

He resumed to his native canton, passing the first night undiscovered in the cow-shed of his farm and settled in a hermitage at Ranft within a few miles of his home. It was no temptation to return home, as he never felt the least desire for his former life. Symbolic visions continued to be a feature of his contemplation, and when, after a month's strict surveillance, his countrymen were convinced that his fast was genuine, they recognised his sanctity and vocation, and he became a spiritual guide whose advice was widely sought and followed. Pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He acquired influence with Duke Sigismund of the Tirol, whom he confirmed in his neutrality when the Swiss confederacy met and defeated Charles of Burgundy. Everything was ready for the climax of Nicholas's life: the accomplishment of his unique vocation.

The victorious cantons were at loggerheads. The rural cantons opposed inflexibly the demand of Zurich and Lucerne that Freiburg and Soleure be admitted to the confederacy. A conference held at Stans, December 1481, failed to reach agreement. Next day the delegates would disperse and a civil war ensue which would presumably have destroyed the confederacy. The parish priest, once Nicholas's confessor, hurried to Ranft and laid the matter before the hermit. During the night Nicholas dictated suggested terms of agreement. The priest resumed in time to persuade the delegates to give a hearing to the proposals of a man so widely respected for his well tried practical abilities and so widely venerated for his holiness. The terms suggested—the conditional admittance of Freiburg and Soleure—were unanimously accepted and embodied in the agreement of Stans. Switzerland had been saved.

Nicholas survived his achievement almost six years, universally revered, visited and consulted. On March 21st 1487, his seventieth birthday, he died, apparently of his first illness. One is glad to know that his wife and children attended his deathbed. After all, she had never lost her husband completely. Honored by Swiss Protestants, venerated by Swiss Catholics, Nicholas's cult, uninterrupted since his death, was officially sanctioned by Clement IX (1667-9). In 1947 he was canonized by Pope Pius XII.

Taken from "The Saints: A concise Biographical Dictionary", edited by John Coulson, published by Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1960.

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Comments of Prof. Plinio:

To better admire the life of St. Nicholas of Flue, let me propose several presuppositions and make some observations.

First, at that time, like today, Switzerland was divided into cantons, which are small provinces. Each canton had an almost complete independence, subordinate only to a Swiss Confederation that exerted a vague authority over them all. They frequently were engaged in disputes and fights, because the neighboring countries exerted different influences over the various cantons. For example, in one canton, they spoke French, in another, German; in another, Italian, etc., and each canton was normally influenced by the neighboring country to which it had culturally closer ties. This generated intense political disputes often followed by military engagements.

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15th-century Switzerland produced many special military units like the Swiss Guards
You should consider also that the 15th century in Switzerland was a military epoch. It was in that period that the Swiss people revealed themselves to be great warriors, providing troops and special guard units for all of Europe. The Swiss Guard that until today serves the Popes is a remnant of that tradition. In such a scenario St. Nicolas of Flue was called to take up arms against the canton of Zurich.

Second, you can imagine this valorous man in the battlefield, carrying his sword in one hand, and his shield and rosary in the other. It is a beautiful battle scene! Today you can see how the connotations that surround objects of piety have changed because of sentimentalism. Today, who would say that a rosary reminds one of a warrior? On the contrary, more often it calls to mind a man incapable of fighting. This religious sentimentalism worked an almost complete change. This is a grave injustice to the rosary.

Third, it is interesting to see how St. Nicholas showed a profound spirit of hierarchy when he declined an important public post that was offered to him. He said, "No, I am from a humble condition, and I don't want to exert authority over persons who are higher than me by birth." Such a thing no longer exists in our century. Today egalitarianism has invaded everything, and we have the opposite: the rejection of someone because he has a higher condition and the preference for the lower. That is, the scale of values has been completely inverted.

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Above, a scene from the Swiss Alps, where St. Nicholas
herded his cattle. Below, the Parish Church of Sachseln where his relics are preserved

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Fourth, he had visions all along his life, which was a fairly common life. So you should consider Nicholas of Flue the warrior, the judge and the shepherd having visions as he carried out these different occupations.

You can imagine the scene of the judge Nicholas of Flue seated in the small tribunal of his canton and listening to the different sides of a suit. As the persons are presenting the case, suddenly someone notices that the judge has a distant gaze that reveals he is in ecstasy. He becomes illuminated, seeing a heavenly scene. The talking ceases in the tribunal; the hatred and differences dissolve; when the vision ends the opposed parties are reconciled; the case is resolved. Do you know some judge like this? How everything has changed in our days!

You can also imagine the shepherd in the poetic Swiss landscape. In the background are the Alps covered with snow, which at sunset take on pink or light blue hues. St. Nicholas of Flue is there blowing a horn to assemble his dispersed cattle. He stops and prays the Angelus by himself, and then heads toward the stables with the cattle. At this moment he receives the visit of an Angel who shows him Heaven and reveals this or that marvel to him. When he returns, the cattle are all in the stable, quiet and bedded down for the night, led there by another Angel who took care of them. The Angels, the innocence of the Swiss landscape and the soul of St. Nicholas of Flue fit together perfectly. It is something truly superior!

Fifth, the vision of the lily that fell and was eaten by an animal showed him that his high contemplation was often destroyed by earthly concerns. If some of us have an analogous problem – and I think that many of us do – we should take St. Nicholas of Flue as our patron saint. We should ask him for the grace to not demean the graces we receive and to sustain our good thoughts. It is encouraging for us to see that saints have the same problem we have.

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The cell from the hermitage of St. Nicholas in Ranft
Sixth, the last thing you can consider is how richly the faithful decorated his remains. It reveals their veneration for sanctity. It is curious also to see the many military decorations around his neck. These were not just the ones he earned during his lifetime. The descendents of St. Nicholas of Flue began to place the military decorations they received there also. With this excellent tradition, they show that it is more honorable for them to be descendents of the saint than to wear the decorations they receive. It is an action full of meaning.

These are the points I offer for your meditation in admiration of St. Nicolas of Flue, asking him to give us the courage to always have the sword in one hand and the rosary in the other in the difficult fight we are engaged in today.

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

  1. Hogan, Richard M. (February 25, 2003). "An Introduction to John Paul II's Theology of the Body". Natural Family Planning Outreach. Retrieved on 2006-07-14. 
  2. ^ West, Christopher (2004). Theology of the Body for Beginners. Ascension Press. p. 5. ISBN 1-932645-34-9. 
  3. ^ a b Weigel, George (October 1999). Witness to Hope (First edition ed.). Harper Perennial. pp. 336, 343, 853. ISBN 0-06-018793-X. 

During the second world war, the German tanks massed on the Swiss border. All the Swiss started to request the rosary or other prayers through the intercession of holy Nicholas de Flue (national patron saint), and even the General Commander of all swiss armies, named Guisan, which was Protestant, admitted having requested the rosary and holy Nicholas.

Conclusion: the German armoured tanks made half-turn. Explanation given by German testimonys: they saw a hand in the sky which beckoned to them not to advance. They were afraid and made half-turn. They could not attack. And it was far to be the only example. God stops the wars if it is asked to him.

Avec mes meilleures salutations.
François de Siebenthal
14, ch. des Roches
CH 1010 Lausanne
Suisse, Switzerland

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