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On the rock spur above the small Emme river stood a castle of the barons of Wollhusen in the 12th century. This is probably where the monastery originated. The founding legend is a little more adventurous:

According to this legend, a Dutch gold panner around 1500, when he once spent the night in the open air at the Emme, heard angels singing and saw a bright light. The next day he visited the place where the light came from and hung up a picture representing the Coronation of Mary. The miracle spread and more and more people visited the place.

However, in 1518 a first chapel was built and 100 years later a Franciscan monastery. During the Reformation, the miraculous image (a Pieta) was saved from the iconoclasts by Fribach (Canton Bern) and brought to Werthenstein. This picture attracted many pilgrims and pilgrims.

In 1838 the Franciscan monastery was abolished by the government of Lucerne.

Later, the premises housed the cantonal deaf and dumb institution. When this also moved away, the buildings were used by the parish of Werthenstein and from 1909 by the Missionaries of the Holy Family.

Werthenstein an der Kleinen Emme

Majestically the monastery is enthroned on a rock above the Kleine Emme.

Werthenstein monastery

Various renovation works starting in 1953 gave the complex its current appearance. It is used exclusively by the parish and pilgrims.

church portal Werthenstein

Church portal with domes.

In the shop at the entrance to the monastery you can get the pilgrim stampPilgerstempel Werthenstein

arcade courtyard Werthenstein

The church square is surrounded by an arcade courtyard in the Renaissance style. The colonnaded walkways serve as a cloister and a burial place.

Choir and tower church Werthenstein

Tower and choir of the late gothic church.

Werthenstein, church interior view

Inside, it is hardly noticeable that the Gothic vaulting ribs are painted.

gothic Pieta - Werthenstein Pieta

The left side altar is the picture altar. At the very top is St. Christopher, below on the left St. James and St. Sebastian. To the left of the Pieta is St. Verena of Zurzach and to the right St. Barbara.


Very slowly the water flows out of the well pipe of the Graceful Brunnelis. It takes a lot of patience to fill a bottle. The water is said to help with arthrosis and other ailments.

We have drunk it and still feel healthy.

The Brünneli on the way from the monastery to the wooden bridge has been visited by numerous pilgrims for many years. According to many reports, the water from this spring has already helped with many ailments.

Covered wooden bridge in Werthenstein Covered wooden bridge in Werthenstein

This covered wooden bridge leads the way to the village of Werthenstein and to our hostel, the Gasthaus zur Emme.

GH zur Emme