In 1919, after Antonie Radler (1899-1991) contracted the Spanish influenza, the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, laid her hands on her, and healed her.
Between 1927 and 1936, Antonie worked as a manager in one of her father's butcher shops, in Lindau near Lake Constance. One day the Gestapo arrived and ordered her to replace the painting of the Virgin by that of the Führer. She was ordered to salute him in the Nazi fashion: "Heil Hitler" instead of the usual Bavarian greeting of "Grüss Gott." Antonie disobeyed those orders and as a result barely escaped several attempts to murder her, notably by drowning. She said that a mysterious cyclist protected her, whom she called her "guardian angel on a bike."
To express their gratitude, her parents erected a small Lourdes grotto in their garden, which was blessed by Father Basch, pastor of their parish, on October 11, 1936, feast day of the Maternity of Mary. The following month, the statue "smiled" at her. She received this prayer in a message: "Our Beloved Lady of Victory, conceived without sin, pray for us!"
On December 15, 1936, the day in the octave of the Immaculate Conception, as she was reciting the third sorrowful mystery of the rosary in front of the Lourdes grotto, Antonie heard "angelic choirs" singing: "O Mary! Immaculate, conceived without sin, Beloved Lady of Victory, pray for us."
On February 22, 1938, around 6:30 a.m., the Virgin appeared to Cecilia Geyer: "I heard something like a slight murmur, and after this the Mother of God came out from a bright cloud that kept increasing in size, looking exactly like the Wigratzbad statue. Suddenly I found myself inside that grotto. The apparition told me:
"Build a chapel for me here [...] I shall crush the head of the infernal serpent with my feet [...]. People will come to this place in large numbers, and I will pour a flowing of graces over them. Saint Joseph, Saint Anthony and the souls in Purgatory will assist Antonie."
The great lady ordered: "Now go adore my Divine Son in the Blessed Sacrament."
"Where can I do this? Right now, the Blessed Sacrament isn't exposed anywhere," Cecilia asked.
"So, before my astonished eyes, a chapel appeared at the place that had been designated to me [...]. Inside, on the altar, Jesus had his throne in a magnificent monstrance that was projecting wonderful rays of light in all directions."
On June 17, 1938, the government authorized the building of the chapel dedicated to "Our Beloved Lady, Mother of Victory."
Construction began on July 2, 1938, on the plot of land donated by Antonie's parents. The inauguration was planned for December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception, but Antonie was arrested by the Nazis on November 21st. She was thrown in a common jail, and suffered interminable interrogations. During the night of December 7th, she saw a great cloud rise inside her cell, and suddenly the Virgin appeared to her. She announced Antonie's imminent liberation: the girl would spend Christmas with her family.
Our Lady taught her the prayer to the Child Jesus that is still recited at the shrine today.
Antonie was freed on December 18th, on the feast of the Expectation of the Virgin. Since that year, an increasing number of pilgrims come to visit the shrine of Wigratzbad.
- 500 000 pilgrims visit the shrine each year.
- Spiritual retreats and conferences are offered every week.
- In 1991, Archbishop Stimpfle of Augsbourg celebrated Antonie's funeral and pronounced her funeral oration. He didn't make an official declaration but confided to Antonie's confessor: "I know that Wigratzbad is authentic!"
B. : J. Schmid, Das Geheimnis von Wigratzbad, Selbstverlag Pilgerstätte Wigratzbad, s.d.; Turi, 403.
And Patrick Sbalchiero