Nicholas of Flue

A brief biography.


Nicholas Löwenbrugger of Flüe, - nickname Brother Klaus, German Nicolaus von Flüe, or Bruder Klaus -, was born March 21, 1417, in  Flüeli, near Sachseln, Obwalden, Switzerland.  He was the eldest son of pious, well-to-do peasants. At the age of 21 he entered the army. Heeding the advice of his parents he married in 1442 a pious girl from Sachseln, named Dorothy Wyssling, who bore him five sons and five daughters. His youngest son, Nicholas, born in 1467, became a priest and a doctor of theology.


Probably he fought in the battles near the Etzel in 1439, near Baar in the Canton of Zug in 1443, and assisted in the capture of Zürich in 1444. After serving with his cantonal contingent in the war, Flüe was elected judge and councillor for upper Unterwalden (1448). He took up arms again in the so-called Thurgau war against Archduke Sigismund of Austria in 1460. It was due to his influence that the monastery of the Dominican nuns St. Katharinental, whither many Austrians had fled after the capture of Diessenhofen, was not destroyed by the Swiss confederates.


He was under the influence of the mystical circle around the Benedictine abbey of Engelberg and the Dominican movement of the ‘Gottesfreunde’ in Strasbourg, inspired by the Dominicans Henry Suso (ca 1295-1366), John Tauler (after 1300-1361) and Margarete Ebner (ca 1291-1251). 

On Gallus-day he left with the consent of his wife, the whole family, his farm and his civil functions to become a hermit on 16 October 1467 and joined the group in Strasbourg. But a divine inspiration ordered him to take up his abode in the Ranft, a valley along the Melcha, about an hour's walk from Sachseln.

He lived in a narrow hut, which he himself had built with branches and leaves, and came daily to Mass either at Sachseln or at Kerns.

Early in 1469 the civil authorities built a cell and a chapel for him, and on 29 April of the same year the chapel was dedicated by the vicar-general of Constance, Thomas, Bishop of Ascalon.

Distinguished persons from nearly every country of Europe came to him for counsel in matters of the utmost importance. In 1479 a chaplain was put in charge of the chapel, and thenceforth Nicholas always remained in the Ranft.


When in 1480 delegates of the Swiss confederates assembled at Stans to settle their differences over the admission of Fribourg and Solothurn to the Swiss Confederation and civil war seemed inevitable, Henry Imgrund, the pastor of Stans, hastened to Nicholas, begging him to prevent the shedding of blood. The priest returned to the delegates with the hermit's counsels and propositions, and by the agreement of Stans (Stanser Verkommniss, December 22, 1481) the civil war was averted.


Nicholas died March 21, 1487, in Ranft, was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1669 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on 15 Mai 1947. He is the patron saint of Switzerland. Numerous pilgrims visit the chapel near the church of Sachseln, where his relics are preserved.


5th Centenary of the death of Nicholas of Flüe.
Design by Yvo Buschauer from Appenzell.
Austria 1987. Postmark Dornbirn 02.05.1987.

Portrait of Nicholas of Flüe.
Parish of St. Bruder Klaus in Munich.
Germany 1969. Postmark München 26.10.1969.




Catholic parish church of St. Bruder Klaus in Munich.
Germany 1971. Postmark München 10.10.1971.




Catholic parish  St. Bruder Klaus 
in Munich.
Germany 1978. Franking stamp München 02.12.1978.



Jubilee of the Catholic parish church St. Bruder Klaus in Munich,
Germany 1979. Franking stamp München 30.06.1979.




Catholic parish of St. Bruder Klaus in Munich.
Germany 1980. Franking stamp München 29.11.1980.




Philatelic barter day St. Bruder Klaus.
Germany 1984. Franking stamp München 02.12.1984.



The Virgin, statue in the parish of St. Bruder Klaus in Munich.
Germany 1986. Postmark München 29.11.1986.





Catholic Parish of St. Bruder Klaus in Munich.
Germany 1987. Franking stamp Munich 21.03.1987.




40th Anniversary of the canonization of Nicholas of Flüe.

Liechtenstein 1987, Mi 918, Sc 863.










Postcard for the National Celebration in 1916.

Christmas card for the distressed soldiers.

Brother Klaus at the left.


Switzerland 1916. Postcard 1916.







5th Centenary of the death of Nicholas of Flüe, 21 March 1487.

Switzerland 1929, Mi 238, Sc B 52.









Nicholas of Flüe.

Switzerland 1937, Mi  315, Sc B 86.







Nicholas on the diet of Stans.


Switzerland 1938, Mi 329, Sc 245.










Girl of Obwalden with in the left corner the memorial chapel of Sarnen.
In 1468 Nicholas saved the village of Sarnen from a conflagration
by his prayers and the sign of the cross.


Switzerland 1941, Mi 401, Bl 6; Sc B 115.  









The birthplace (21 March 1417) of Nicholas Löwenbrugger
in Flüe in Obwalden. Br
uder Klausen-Heimat.


Switzerland 1960. Postmark Flüeli 12.06.1960






Half-Thaler of Obwalden (1732) with Nicholas of Flüe.


Switzerland 1962, Mi 752, Sc SP 217.







St. Oswald church (1478-1545) in Zug with on the front a statue
of Nicholas of Flüe.


Switzerland 1967, Mi 864, Sc 454.





Visit of Pope John Paul II to Switzerland 12–17
The Pope signed the visitors book in the memorial
chapel with the tomb of Nicholas in Sachseln.
Portrait of Nicholas of Flüe.


Vatican City 1986, Mi 904, Sc C 80.







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