05 Church of Our Lady and Chapel of Grace

To read along
05 Church of Our Lady and Chapel of Grace
The octagonal Liebfrauenkirche and the attached Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of Grace) are known as the Marian Shrine of Säben.
The Liebfrauenkirche is an architectural masterpiece from the early Baroque period, built by the citizens of Klausen around 1652 as a token of their gratitude that the town has been spared from an outbreak of the plague.

While the exterior may appear simple and modest, the interior is nonetheless surprising. The cupola immediately catches the eye with its rich stucco and eight murals depicting the life of the Madonna. The frescoes were created by Stefan Kessler, an important Baroque painter who was active in and around Brixen.

The wooden gallery that surrounds the interior in a semicircle at half height reminds us of the monastery cloister. The gallery permitted the nuns to remain inside the church without being visible to outsiders. Attentive visitors will probably have already seen the wooden bridge that connects the convent garden and the church.

From the interior of the Liebfrauenkirche three steps lead downwards to a side room where an early Christian baptismal font is located.

Adjacent to the church is the small and unassuming Chapel of Grace. The apse still bears traces of Gothic elements dating from before the rebuilding of the Liebfrauenkirche. On the neo-Gothic high altar can be seen the Mother of Grace of Säben, a copy of the precious statue of the Madonna made by Master Leonhard of Brixen. For security reasons the original is kept under lock and key.