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Death: ~1516


After entering the Carthusians’ Swiss monastery of Ittlingen in 1476, Hans Wagner, of Riedlingen, Germany, aspired to an even more austere life of solitude. Consequently, he wrote to Pope Innocent VIII, seeking permission to become a hermit. In a letter dated May 6, 1489, the pontiff answered in the affirmative, beginning his response with a warm salutation: “My well-beloved son, receive above all our greeting and our apostolic blessing!” After receiving this reply, Hans journeyed to Switzerland’s Mount Pilate, with a summit of nearly seven thousand feet, settling in a cave on its slopes. The surrounding woods are now known as “the Forest of the Good God.” Here he continued to live according to the Carthusian rule, emerging from his hermitage only to attend liturgical rites in the parish church of Kriens, or when dire necessity compelled him. In 1504 a Swiss magistrate and his devout wife, impressed by the hermit’s extraordinary holiness, built a chapel for him. Those who knew Hans noted his great serenity of spirit and his deep humility.


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