The image of the Virgin Mary at Absam
Let us read what Johann Puecher, Rosina's brother, wrote about what happened in 1797 in their father's house. At the age of 76, he wrote the following in the presence of two witnesses:
"On 17th January 1797
my sister, a grown girl (18 years of age) by the name of Rosina was sitting at the table by the window on the ground-floor room sewing. She then - between 3 and 4 o'clock - suddenly looked up and saw what had never been seen before, drawn on a window pane, an image of Mary, the Mother of God. She called to her mother, who was also present, but in another part of the room. Mother hurried over and was initially not a little frightened, when she saw the image of the Holy Virgin, as she thought an accident could have befallen father or myself in the salt-mine where we worked. She said to sister Rosanna that we should pray; and that is what happened. After saying their prayers, the mother wiped the picture with a cloth, because she thought it was steamed up, but look, scarcely had she wiped it off, but it was back just as it was before. The apparition of the image took place on a Tuesday, and on the Thursday me and my father came home perfectly well from the mountain. We looked with joy and amazement at what we had occurred. On 17th January 1797 I was in my 16th year and have retained in my memory everything that happened on that day."
(The original copy of this record is in private ownership. It was taken in an abridged from the 1955 Parish News No. 2)
Academics from the University of Innsbruck, the mathematician Franz von Zollinger, the chemistry professor Dr. Schöpfer, the renowned fresco painter Josef Schöpf from Telfs, two master glazers Messrs. Schwänninger and Appeller checked the image in the presence of church and secular representatives.
Having made precise examinations, with the application of chemicals, spirits and rubbing, and also with caustic spirits and other fluids, it did disappear, but then soon re-appeared exactly as it was before. The mirror grinder then used the special polish he called "Politura" to erase it, but this too was in vain, as the image became fully visible again, just as it was before, as soon as it was cleaned with the wet sponge and dried off.
In the end Herr Apeller, the glazier, attempted to remove it with a damp grinding abrasive and then polished one or two spots on the pane with glazing lead. The result was that clear and pure glass showed through, the image disappeared and returned no more.
The report concluded with the observation: "As a result of the investigation, a quite natural cause has to be assumed, and so the image should not be regarded as a miracle."
(Document in the Absam and Thaur Parish Archive; taken from the Parish News 1952, No.5)
The report concluded with the observation: "As a result of the investigation, a quite natural cause has to be assumed, and so the image should not be regarded as a miracle." (Document in the Absam and Thaur Parish Archive; taken from the Parish News 1952, No.5)
For the faithful of Absam and the whole of Tyrol, there was no mistake. "Where the Son stays, there must be a place for the Mother too!" These were the words of the people as a procession followed the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary to the church amid a ceremonial peal of all the bells. This took place on 24th June, 1797.
Initially the image was placed on the high altar, but it now occupies a position beneath the fresco of the Gothic Madonna - for all to see.
Since then countless pilgrims have visited Absam in order to seek solace and succour from the image of the Virgin Mary.