Saint Nicholas of Flüe; Died 21 March 1487

Saint Nicholas of Flüe

Nicholas was born in 1417 in Unterwalden, Switzerland.

Nicholas joined the army at age 21 and took part in many battles, including the Battle of Ragaz in 1446. Nicholas was a distinguished soldier and retired at age 37. It’s reported that he fought with a sword in one hand and a rosary in the other.

Nicholas received a mystical vision which he interpreted as his worldly life eating his spiritual life. After the vision Nicholas consulted with his wife and he left her, with her blessing and their 10 children to live as a hermit in Ranft.

Legend has it, Nicholas lived for 19 years with no food, only the Eucharist.

Nicholas continued to have visions and he was sought out for his wisdom and piety. In 1470 Pope Paul II granted the first indulgence to Nicholas’ sanctuary at Rantf.

Nicholas’s counsel prevented a civil war between the hostile factions in Switzerland. Letters thanking him for his counsel still survive in Switzerland.

Nicholas died on 21 March 1487 surrounded by his wife and children.

Nicholas was beatified in 1669 by Pope Clement IX. Nicholas was canonized St. Nicholas of Flüe in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Switzerland and the Pontifical Swiss Guards. (Saint Nicholas of Flüe is not Santa Claus, although he is sometimes invoked as St. Klaus)


My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.

~personal prayer of St. Nicholas of Flue

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