This is Our Lady of Einseldeln Archabbey in Einseldeln, Switzerland. I believe I enjoyed celebrating mass here even more than I did in the Vatican. They don't let you take pictures inside the church, but it is decorated everywhere. (If you even go to churches in Europe, take some time to look up at the ceiling). I remember it being quite pastel and pink. Mass was wonderful, and it included polyphonic chants by the monks. It was also during mass here that I realized that "Peace be with you" can be understood in the context of mass, even if you don't speak the same language as the people around you. (Mass was in German).
This monastery is famous for it's black Madonna statue (Madonna is code for Virgin Mary... it took me a while to figure that out). The story is that they burned candles around this statue so much that her face turned black. At one point they tried to clean it and paint it back to its original color, but the people had fallen in love with the black Madonna, so it is now painted that way.
So Fr. Matt (who is the priest from the Newman Center here who traveled with us) knows a monk who lives here (who actually grew up on the real Matterhorn) because the monk studied abroad to Fr. Matt's seminary. Anyways, this monk was super cool and took us to different places around the monastery. Here are pictures from the amazing library they had there.
What's that? Square-note notation music? Yes! Yes it is! Isn't that crazy and amazing? At least for you music geeks out there?
This is the second Bible ever translated into German (after Martin Luther's). The monk who showed us around just picked it up off the shelf and read a bit of it to us.
The shield here shows two crows, which is all around the monastery. I believe it has something to do with St. Meinrad, but I couldn't tell you for sure.
Now to set the setting around the monastery. This is literally what Switzerland looks like - I didn't edit these pictures at all. It is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been.
They are also famous for a certain breed of horses, but I'm not too sure what those are either. This is just a fountain outside of the monastery. (On another note, nearby is a restaurant where I got the best meal of my entire life. If you're ever in town, check it out.)
On another Catholic note, the bishop was at the Newman Center today to confirm new members. Congratulations to all of my new brothers and sisters in the faith!