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According to legend, the story of the Fraumünster begins with two daughters of King Louis the German, Hildegard and Berta. The two sisters lived a secluded life in a fortress at Baldern auf dem Albis and dedicated their lives to the service of God. Often they would walk to the nearby town of Zurich, and worship there in the Chapel of Felix and Regula. God was merciful to the two pious sisters and sent them a beautiful white stag with burning lights on its antlers to guide them through the dark forest in the early morning. Every day the stag would lead the sisters to the shores of the river Limmat, opposite the Grossmünster church. Here it waited for them, and then accompanied them back to their hill fortress.
Since the stag always went to the same spot on the shores of the Limmat River and never moved from there, the pious sisters realised it was God’s will that they erect a house of God at this place. They submitted their request to their father, the King, who was happy to grant their wish. The new abbey was richly endowed and its first abbess was Hildegard. Following her early death, her younger sister Berta continued her work. (Source: City of Zurich municipal archive, third volume, 1951)
The white stag with the burning antlers may be described as the true symbol of the Fraumünster. When the City of Zurich commissioned Paul Bodmer to paint the cloisters alongside the Fraumünster in 1921, he used this symbol for his paintings. They can still be admired today.
The painting in the cloister of the Fraumünster
© 2008 /
English H. Baumer