Around 850, Blessed Irmengard (831/33-866) served the abbey as the first abbess known by name. She was a daughter of King Ludwig the German and the great-granddaughter of Charlemagne. Blessed Irmengard, the earliest Abbess of the monastery known by name died on 16th July 866 at the age of about thirty-three years. Tradition tells us of her saintly life and deeds. The fact that her bones were laid to rest in a marble coffin under the southwest pillar of the minster confirms this assumption. This reverence was attested to as early as 1004 when her remains were exhumed from the original sarcophagus and the event was marked by a lead plaque which is still preserved today as valuable evidence. On Friday, 17th October 1631 the mortal remains of Irmengard were exhumed from her original
in front of the Irmengard-
Chapel, Painting by Sr.
Gabriela Reiter OSB,
Abtei Frauenwörth, 1927
On this occasion a small lead tablet was found on the right side of the incorrupt skeleton. It bore texts on both sides
“Here lies Irmengard, the daughter of the illustrious King Ludwig, exceedingly blessed virgin, seen at the time of the Abbess Tuta. Earlier she presided for many years over the abbey.”
Along the edge under the verses: “On July 16th she laid down her earthly body.” … and on the right side: “PRAY
On the left side and upper edge there is a verse from the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians (4,4-5):
“Believe and rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say: Rejoice! Let your Goodness be known to all men. The Lord is near!”
The historical evidence remains sparse, but the tradition of the abbey tells of her piousness, of her love for God and her fellow man, of her concern and care for the poor of the area. She was officially beatified by Pope Pius XI in December 1928. As before, Saint Irmengard is seen as the intercessor for people in the many concerns of their lives. Thousands of people make a pilgrimage every year to the Irmengard Chapel in the minster and pray to her with confidence.
Irmengard has always been revered as the patron saint of the Chiemgau. Every year in the minster, on the Sunday nearest to the 16th July, the nuns and large numbers of visitors from the Chiemgau celebrate the anniversary of her death with a Pontifical Mass, accompanied by a choir and orchestra.