[The photo is of St. Michael’s Church, Mondsee, which houses Conrad’s relics.]
Today we honor Blessed Conrad II, abbot of Mondsee abbey, Austria.
Mondsee was founded in AD 748 by Odilo, Duke of Bavaria, and it is said that the first monks at the abbey had come from Monte Cassino. In 788 it became an imperial abbey and in 831 King Louis the Pious gave the monastery to Regensburg Cathedral.
Conrad was born around 1100 in Trier, Germany, and became abbot of Mondsee in 1127. Blessed Conrad seemed to have been instrumental in the abbey regaining its independence in 1142. When nobles from town seized monastery property in 1145, Conrad protested vehemently, which cost him his life. The monks of Mondsee considered him a martyr for defending the monastery, and his relics – a full skeleton – are interred at the high altar, along with the bodies of four other saints, two on each side of the Abbot, and at the top, relics from 40 martyrs. In 1791, the abbey was dissolved by Emperor Leopold II; it was later renamed after St. Michael and in 2005 St. John Paul II elevated it to a basilica.
Saint Michael’s Basilica was the location for the wedding scene in “The Sound of Music.”