Two shepherd boys found a carved image of the Virgin Mary in the hollow trunk of an old larch tree in the wood. Villagers went to the boys’ find to admire the image. They cut the statue out of the tree and took it to the Parish Church in Matrei. One Thursday night, Jakob Lusch, a simple timber labourer from Matrei, heard a voice that told him to build a church where the image of the Virgin Mary had been found. He was a poor labourer and not able to carry out the instructions. But one day he fell asleep under a tree in the wood. He heard the sound of silver bells and awoke to see a beautiful woman holding a child in her arms. In 1411, the authorities gave Lusch permission to collect donations for the construction of a pilgrimage church at Waldrast, the place where he had had the vision. The church was completed in 1429, and the statue with miraculous powers was removed from Matrei and taken to the church.
Distance: About 34 kilometres (21 miles)
Walking time You can drive up a toll road to the place of pilgrimage.
There are themed trails around Maria Waldrast Monastery: ‘Quellenweg’ (trail of springs), ‘Schöpfungsweg’ (trail of the Creation) and ‘Besinnungsweg’ (trail of contemplation). The photo with a view of Mount Serles was taken from one of these tracks.