Telgter pilgrimage

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Pilgrims near Bad Iburg
The pilgrimage destination is the pilgrimage chapel in Telgte

The Telgter Pilgrimage is the name given to three historically grown pilgrimages to the pilgrimage site of Telgte , the main pilgrimage site of the diocese of Münster . These start from Münster , Osnabrück , Rheine and Warendorf . The pilgrimage from Osnabrück is known as the Osnabrück pilgrimage . With 7,500 participants it is the largest pilgrimage in German-speaking countries.

The miraculous image

The object of the pilgrims' veneration is the Telgter miraculous image of the painful Mother of God made of linden wood. It was created around 1370 and shows a Pietà , the body of Christ removed from the cross in the lap of his mother Mary. It belonged to the Brotherhood of Our Lady and to the provost and pilgrimage church of St. Clemens . Originally the miraculous image was carried before the local corridor processions (petition processions) and was wrapped in a precious cloak and decorated with a crown. After the Thirty Years War , which devastated the region, the Münster prince-bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen had a pilgrimage chapel built for the Pietà in 1654. In 1904 Pope Pius X included them in the list of globally recognized images of grace and had them crowned by the Archbishop of Cologne, Anton Cardinal Fischer . The coronation was renewed on July 3, 2004 by Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni and Bishop Reinhard Lettmann .


Wayside shrine at the fifth station from Münster to Telgte looking towards Telgte: the crucifixion of Christ

The origin of the Telgter pilgrimage goes back to the Prince-Bishop of Münster, Christoph Bernhard von Galen . In 1651 he ordered a procession from Münster and Warendorf to Telgte. Three years later, in 1654, von Galen appointed Telgte as the main pilgrimage site of the diocese of Münster and had a pilgrimage chapel built there over the next four years. Between 1658 and 1663 the historic pilgrimage route from Münster to Telgte was built along today's federal highway 51 . Responsible for this was Johann Blankenfort, the then rector of the Münster Jesuit college . He erected five double-sided wayside shrines with stations from the life of Mary. On the Münster side they show the pain and on the Telgter side the joys of Maria. You are on the section between Lützowstrasse and Kiebitzpohl Street . A corresponding pilgrimage route with wayside shrines is also located along federal road 64 from Warendorf in the direction of Telgte. In 1701, Prince-Bishop Friedrich Christian von Plettenberg ordered the parishes to go on a pilgrimage to Telgte in western Münsterland. This led to an upswing in the processions to Telgte.

Pilgrimage from Osnabrück to Telgte

The impetus for the pilgrimage from Osnabrück came from lay people in the 19th century. On March 26, 1852, citizens of Osnabrück, including a master gardener, a master coppersmith, a goldsmith and a master tailor, asked the Osnabrück auxiliary bishop Carl Anton Lüpke for permission to make a pilgrimage to Telgte. It should take place on the Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary . On March 30th, they received approval. The procession should begin at the Johannistor in Osnabrück. The pilgrims were supposed to have their own flag, which was to be kept in the Johanniskirche and only unfolded while they passed through Glandorf and Telgte. The bishop ordered them to refrain from consuming brandy and other alcoholic beverages.

Initially the procession was not led by clergymen. The first guide of the 25 pilgrims in 1852 was master tailor M. Conrad Specht, who wore a black gown. In 1853, 200 believers took part, in 1854 there were 1,500. In 1856 the bishop ordered that the first parish chaplain or parish vicar of St. Johann should be the spiritual director of the pilgrimage. Vicar Löning von St. Johann, who led the procession from 1873 to 1889, wrote the first pilgrimage book.

During the war years from 1864 to 1866, in the years of the Kulturkampf from 1872 to 1882, during the First World War from 1914 to 1918, and under National Socialism from 1938 to 1944, pilgrimages were prohibited. Nevertheless, small groups made a pilgrimage to Telgte, posing as hikers. After the end of World War II , 7,000 believers took part in 1947. In 1952 the number rose to almost 10,000. Interest in this form of belief decreased in the 1960s, only to pick up again in the 1980s. In the anniversary year 2002, however, the Catholics in the north far exceeded the believers from the south of Germany with 11,500 pilgrims.

In 2020 the pilgrimage tour organized by the Diocese of Osnabrück will not take place for the first time in its 168-year history due to the Covid-19 pandemic .


The pilgrimage from Osnabrück to Telgte is held on the second weekend after Peter and Paul . The pilgrims walk on the federal highway 51 , but deviate from it on bypasses and cross the villages.

The day of the pilgrimage, always a Saturday, begins at 1:30 a.m. with a pilgrimage mass in the Osnabrück churches of St. Johann and St. Joseph . At three o'clock in the morning, the pilgrims set out from the Johannisfriedhof. Over the Harderberg ( Georgsmarienhütte ) and through Oesede it goes uphill to the Herrenrest on the Dörenberg , where the participants rest for the first time around 5:15 a.m. at the Klause. The train reaches Bad Iburg at around six o'clock . This is where the participants of the Remseder pilgrimage join them. A pilgrimage mass is held in Glandorf at eight o'clock. At 9:30 am it goes from Glandorf to the Klause near Gut Oedingberge , where we rest again. We continue to Ostbevern for a lunch break. At 3:45 p.m. the pilgrims arrive in Telgte, where the image of grace awaits them. At 7:30 p.m., an evening prayer closes the day's program.

Sunday starts at 4:30 a.m. with a pilgrimage mass, followed by a family and youth mass and a prayer. At 8 o'clock the pilgrims start their way home. You reach Bad Iburg at 5:30 p.m. From there it goes to Oesede, where a final prayer will be held at 6:45 p.m. in the church of St. Peter and Paul .

Jubilee pilgrimage 2002

11,500 believers took part in the 150th Osnabrück pilgrimage to Telgte in July 2002. The Westfälische Nachrichten from Münster reported on a "procession of superlatives" that had inspired the masses. In every village, at all central crossroads, groups have joined the steadily growing crowd.

This newspaper described the arrival of the pilgrims after they had to survive a downpour shortly before their destination: the church square could hardly accommodate the masses than the apostolic nuncio for Germany, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo , together with the Osnabrück Bishop Franz-Josef Bode and the Munster auxiliary bishop Friedrich Ostermann greeted the exhausted pilgrims. The highlight of the ceremony: Bishop Bode put a valuable plaque specially made for the anniversary on the image of grace. For Osnabrück there is no question that “praying with your feet” has a future. It is reported as particularly noteworthy that the average age of pilgrims was under 30 years.

Bicycle pilgrimage

Since 2012 there has been an additional bicycle pilgrimage organized by the ADFC and the Maltese from Osnabrück. The group of bicycles (normal bicycles and so-called e-bikes ) follows the pilgrimage to Telgte on secondary routes and arrives at the rest and stopping points of the pilgrimage according to the schedule.


The writer and Nobel laureate in literature Günter Grass mentions the Telgter miraculous image in his short story “ The Meeting in Telgte ” (1979). In Telgte, along with other travelers, a group of poets and writers have moved into accommodation with the landlady Libuschka. After dinner, they move from the small restaurant to the large hall: the only student who stayed away was Scheffler . While they were still having their soup, it had drawn him through the Emstor into the city, where he was looking for the destination of the annual Telgter pilgrimage, a wood-carved Vesper picture: depicting the seated Mary, rigidly holding her death-staring son. The gentlemen poets meanwhile recite their works to each other. The evening ends like this: When they cleared the main hall, the medical student was between them again. He made eyes as if a miracle had happened to him on the way. Only the pastor of the main church had shown him the Telgter Vespers picture, hidden in a shed. To Czepko, who was standing next to me, Scheffler said: Our Lady had meant to him that, like God in him, she could be found in every girl's lap.


  • Werner Freitag : The Telgter Marian veneration and pilgrimage: Urban experience, episcopal guidance and pious action. In: Werner Frese (ed.): History of the city of Telgte. Ardey Publishing House; Münster 1999, pp. 295-318.

Web links

Commons : Telgter Pilfahrt  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Report kirchensite  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  2. The largest foot pilgrimage is canceled for the first time in 168 years -. In: April 19, 2020, accessed April 20, 2020 .

Coordinates: 51 ° 59 ′ 6.1 ″  N , 7 ° 47 ′ 10.1 ″  E