From Beinwil to Mariastein

The origins of the Mariastein Monastery can be found in Beinwil, Solothurn. It is here, at the northern foot of the Passwang, that Abbot Esso and a group of monks from the reform abbey of Hirsau in the Black Forest found an establishment around the year 1100. In 1648, Abbot Fintan Kieffer relocates the abbey from Beinwil to Mariastein. At this new location, the monks take care of visiting pilgrims and run a monastery school. At the same time, they oversee the abbey parishes.
The year 1798 witnesses the Helvetic Revolution, which brings about the end of both the monastery and the pilgrimages and leads the monks to take flight. The assets of the monastery are sold off or leased out.
In 1802, Abbot Hieronymus Brunner (1765-1804) buys back the monastery. His successor, Abbot Placidus Ackermann (1804-1841), arranges for the buildings to be renovated gradually.
In 1874, the monastery is shut down once again as a result of the culture wars (Kulturkampf). However, the Swiss government makes a commitment to keep pilgrimages alive. The abbot and monastery settle down in Delle, France. In 1906, they establish their new home with the Diocese of St. Gallen in Bregenz on Lake Constance.
In 1941, driven away by the Nazi regime, the monks take refuge by returning to Mariastein.
In 1971, the monastery is rebuilt under civil law following a cantonal referendum. The complete renovation of the abbey complex begins. The project ends successfully with the renovation of the church in 1999-2000.