Feast of Saint Nicholas of Flüe Date in the current year: September 25, 2024

Feast of Saint Nicholas of Flüe On September 25, the Swiss celebrate the feast of Saint Nicholas of Flüe (Bruderklausenfest). It is dedicated to a Swiss hermit, mystic and ascetic who was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII and is the patron saint of Switzerland.

Nicholas of Flüe, also known as Brother Klaus, was born to wealthy peasants. In 1438, aged 21, he entered the army and participated in the Old Zurich War. He retired from his military career at the age of 37 and become a councilor and judge for his home canton. Nicholas was offered the position of governor a few years later but chose to decline the offer.

Nicholas had a wife and ten children. When his oldest son came of age and could take care of the family, Nicholas left his family – with his wife’s consent – and became a hermit in the Ranft chine. He led an ascetic life and survived for almost two decades with no food except for the eucharist.

Brother Klaus, as the locals called him, spent his time in pious musings and prayers. He often received mystical visions (in fact, it was one of such visions that prompted him to give up his worldly life and became a hermit) and became a well-known spiritual guide. Due to Nicholas’s reputation for piety and wisdom, people from across Europe sought advice from him. In 1481, his council even helped prevent a civil war between the Swiss cantons.

Nicholas of Flüe died on March 21, 1487, surrounded by his family. He was beautified in 1669 and canonized in 1947. Since his death anniversary coincides with the feast day of Saint Benedict of Nursia, the patron saint of Europe, the feast day of Nicholas of Flüe in Switzerland and Germany, where this saint is venerated the most, is September 25.

The feast day of Nicholas of Flüe is a public holiday and non-working day in the Swiss canton of Obwalden, where the saint’s grave is located. On September 25, pilgrims from all over Switzerland and abroad come to visit his grave and pay their respects to Brother Klaus, as well as attend church services in his honor in local churches.

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