Highly spiritual – The Black Forest was often a harsh and difficult living environment for its former inhabitants. There was no insurance in the event of illness, fire, poor harvests, or other turns of fate. Help and salvation was sought through the belief in the living God and the intercessions of the saints. Henceforth, chapels were built in the districts and hamlets far from the parish churches in the village. They are “small churches without their own clergy”. It was in these chapels that people once sought hope and assurance in times of need.
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St. Gall is very well-known in southern Germany, Switzerland, and France. He came to Alemannia in 610 with St. Columban, one of the Iro-Scottish missionaries, to bring Christianity to its inhabitants. It is said that he preached in the local language.
Starting in 612, he lived in a hermitage by the source of the Steinach River (Switzerland/Lake Constance region). He was known for his philanthropy and his love for nature. It is also said that he was able to heal people. A group of followers, whose lives centred on prayer and studying the bible, gradually grew around him.
St. Gall died around 640. After his death, St. Othmar initiated the building of the Abbey of St. Gall, a Benedictine monastery, which was built in the spot where St. Gall’s living quarters had been. The town of St. Gallen evolved here. St. Gall is depicted as a monk with an abbot’s staff and a bear.
The chapel was rebuilt after a fire in 1904. Around 1990, it was renovated on the inside and the outside and adorned with two church bells. Nowadays, as in the past, worshippers come here to ask St. Gall for advice, help, and consolation.
The feast day of St. Gall is on 16 October.