The Catholic Travel Guide
Our Lady of the Bowed Head Vienna, Austria
One of the many miraculous images of the Blessed Mother is Our Lady of the Bowed Head in a Carmelite convent on the outskirts of Vienna. In the year 1610 a Discalced Carmelite friar named Dominic of Jesus of Mary (proclaimed Venerable in 1907) was out looking for a location for a new monastery. When viewing an abandoned house he came across a pile of debris in the yard. Feeling an interior urge to look in the pile, he found a beautiful but filthy oil painting depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Dominic decided to take the picture home and re-paint the picture and then keep it in his cell. One evening after he had swept his cell Dominic noticed that the picture was dusty. He wiped the picture and as he did he said: "O purest and holiest of Virgins, nothing is worthy of touching your holy face, but since I have nothing but this coarse handkerchief, deign to accept my good will". As he cleaned the picture the face of the Virgin Mary came to life and smiling and bowing her head in appreciation.
Dominic earlier had requested a special favor from our lady and Our Lady then spoke to him, telling him that his prayer request would be granted. In return she asked that he help promote devotion to the image and that all who honor her image ask for her protection would obtain many blessings.
He then took the picture and placed it in the Church of Santa Maria de la Scale. It remained there until his death in 1630 and was then loaned to the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian. Later it was loaned to Emperor Ferdinand II and then returned to the Carmelite Fathers after Ferdinand's death in 1655.
In 1901 a new church was built and the image given a place of honor there where it remains to this day.
1. Personal visits.
2. Kevin J. Wright, "Catholic Shrines of Central & Eastern Europe", Liguori Publications, 1999.