The Catholic Travel Guide
Seefeld, Austria: The Eucharistic Miracle of Seefeld
The Eucharist is what sets Catholic Christians apart from most other Christian faiths. The Catholic Church teaches that the consecrated host and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ, not merely a symbol. Here in Seefeld Our Lord manifested Himself through the Eucharist in 1384.
On the night of Holy Thursday in that year, those attending Mass in the village church included Knight Oswald Milser who was guardian of a nearby castle. A man who had an immense ego and arrogance, he demanded that the parish priest give him a large Host at communion rather than the smaller ones normally given out. Refusal by the priest could have been punishable by death.
At the end of Mass, Milser approached the priest with his sword drawn and the priest handed him the host, at which point the ground under Milser suddenly gave way. In a moment of panic, he grabbed the edge of the altar to keep from falling. The imprints of his hands can be seen on the altar today.
Others in the congregation filled in a few details not revealed by the priest. They said that Milser, now filled with terror, asked that the host be removed from his mouth and once that was done the ground became firm again. He then rushed to a nearby monastery for confession and for the next two years performed acts of penance for is blasphemy. He died in 1386 and, according to his wish, was buried near the entrance of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
Visitors to the church can view a hole below the altar where Milser sunk up to his knees and you can also see the original altar with his handprints, although there is a newer altar placed above it in order to preserve the original. The church is open to the public most days.
Seefeld is a short drive from Innsbruck. There is also train service from Innsbruck and from Munich (by way of Garmish-Partenkirchen). The train ride is one of Europe's most scenic and highly recommended.
If you plan to stay in Seefeld be aware that is is a very popular ski and vaction destination so be sure to make arrangements in advance.
Garmisch is nearby and also a great town in which to stay with many hotels and guest houses. It is also very close to Oberammergau, home of the famous passion play.
1. Personal visits.
2. Kevin J. Wright, "Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe", Liguouri Publications, 1999.