Brother Klaus  
  His Life
Our companion
  Pilgrimage Office
Youth Hostel
Pastoral care

Who is Brother Klaus?

1417  Born in a farmhouse under the "Flue" (German for cliffs and another word for Flüeli, a village in Canton Obwalden in the heart of Switzerland and Europe). His family name "von Flüe" is taken from his birthplace. His parents: Heinrich von Flüe und Hemma Ruobert. He is christened as "Niklaus," although the ceremony takes place in Kerns rather than Sachseln because the family stands under an interdiction.

As a child, he is already a seeker of God with an inclination to be alone (desire to be a hermit). He is an exemplary youth, and a lover of peace with sense of justice.
until 1446 Participation in various campaigns as an officer (Rottmeister) with the army of the confederation.
1447 A prosperous farmer, he marries Dorothea Wyss. Together, they have ten children (five sons and five daughters), the youngest of whom is Niklaus. He studies in Basel, Paris, and Padua and takes a Master's Degree in Philosophy. Later, he is the pastor at Sachseln.
1448 Until 1467: Various council and judicial posts and delegate from "Unterwalden ob dem Wald" (the present Canton of Obwalden) for several courts of arbitration.
1467 Repugnant experiences with political corruption and unfair jurisdiction. Niklaus von Flüe decides not to stand for election to the highest post in the canton.
1467 On October 16, Niklaus von Flüe abandons all that he has - wife and children, his farm and home - to travel through the world as a pilgrim seeking God. His wife Dorothea specifically permits this. After a few weeks however, while near Liestal, he decides to turn back. He returns to Obwalden and settles on the Alp Klisterli. Finally, he finds a final domicile in the Melchaa Gorge, or the Ranft, as a hermit. The emphasis of his spirituality lies daily in an intensive contemplation on the suffering of Christ: To carry "God's suffering" in one's heart brings comfort and assurance at the end of one's life.
1469 April 27: On order of the Bishop of Constance, the suffragan bishop and the vicar-general Thomas Weldner examines the fast of the hermit and consecrates the (upper) Ranft chapel.
1469 In June: Brother Klaus - as Niklaus von Flüe is now commonly called - tells a Dominican priest of his great inner turmoil, which only decreased when he could withdraw as a hermit and began intensively to meditate on the life and death of Jesus.
1474 Posterity is thankful to the Saxon squire Hans von Waldheim for important biographical and historical details. Dorothea is mentioned therein as a "suberliche Frau" (pure woman), which does not refer to her external appearance but to her being.
1478 Albrecht von Bonstetten, deacon of the cloister at Einsiedeln, publishes the first public report about Brother Klaus.
1481 Role of peacemaker in the face of the civil war. Having failed to reach an agreement among themselves concerning the admission of Solothurn and Fribourg at the council of Stans, the members of the Swiss Confederation are on the brink of taking up arms. Thanks to Brother Klaus, not only is the worst avoided, but also out of a hopelessly antagonistic and seemingly irreversible situation, peace is achieved.
1482 Niklaus von Flüe - in the meantime widely known throughout Europe - is consulted on different political and churchly questions. Letter of thanks to the Council of the City of Bern with the famous statement: "Peace is always in God, because God is peace. Peace cannot be destroyed, but strife will be."
1487 March 21: Brother Klaus dies and is immediately revered as a saint and called upon as a source for healing.
1648 Beatification by Pope Innocent X
1947 May 15: Canonization by Pope Pius XII. On the following day, the wife of Brother Klaus is also specifically honored in the Pope's homily.
1984 Pope John Paul II celebrates the Eucharist in Flüeli and afterwards prays at the grave of Brother Klaus in Sachseln. There he asks that Dorothea be honored also and he calls her "saintly".

Efforts for permission to honor Brother Klaus and Dorothee together as a saintly couple are underway.

  Masses Times  
  Holy Places
Pilgrim Paths
  Various Points