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January 21

Saint of the day:
St. Meinrad

Patron Saint of Hospitality


The Story of Saint Meinrad

Meinrad was born into the family of the Counts of Hohenzollern and was educated at the abbey school of Reichenau, an island in Lake Constance, under his kinsmen, the Benedictine Abbots Hatto and Erlebald. There he became a monk and was ordained. After some years at Reichenau, and the dependent priory at Benken, St. Gallen near Lake Zurich, around 829 he embraced an eremitical life and established his hermitage on the slopes of Etzel Pass, taking with him a wonder-working statue of the Virgin Mary which he had been given by the Abbess Hildegarde of Zurich. Because so many people sought him out, in 835 he retreated to a hermitage in the forest on the site of today's monastery in Einsiedeln. Inspired by the Desert Fathers, Meinrad practiced a strict asceticism. Gifts presented to him he passed on to poor. He was killed in 861 by two robbers who wanted the treasures which pilgrims left at the shrine. Meinrad is known as the Martyr of Hospitality. Over the next eighty years, the hermitage was occupied by a succession of hermits. One of them, named Eberhard, previously Provost of Strasburg, erected a monastery, Einsiedeln Abbey, and became its first abbot. Meinrad was originally buried at Reichenau, but his relics were returned to Einsiedeln in 1029.

During the Middle Ages, Einsiedeln became a popular place of pilgrimage for people from southern Germany, Switzerland, and Alsace. Meinrad's cell became the shrine of the Black Madonna of Einsiedel. Over the years dust and the smoke of candles, oil lamps and incense darkened the image. In 1803 the hands and face were painted black. The Chapel St. Meinrad at the summit of the Etzel Pass is first mentioned in the 13th century. The chapel and a nearby inn are located on the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago, which continues from the Zurich Oberland over the Etzel Pass to Einsiedeln and from there to the northern Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela.








Einsiedeln Abbey

Kloster Einsiedeln, 8840 Einsiedeln, Switzerland





Lemon, Parsley and Caper Fish Balls


  • 600g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 3 tbsp milk

  • 140g tin of sardines in oil (reserve the oil)
    -or whatever canned fish you like

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 medium free-range eggs

  • 3 tbsp plain flour

  • 200g crème fraîche

  • 1-2 tbsp dijon mustard

  • 3 tbsp capers

  • Small handful chopped fresh dill, to serve


  1. Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and cook for
    10 minutes or until tender. Drain and steam dry for 5 minutes.
    Tip back into the panned mash with the milk and plenty of black pepper.

  2. Drain the sardines, reserving the oil. Heat a splash of the oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and gently cook for 7-8 minutes until soft. Add the shallots to the mash along with the drained sardines and the lemon juice, then mix well. Roll heaped tablespoons of mixture to make about 20 balls.

  3. Beat the eggs in one dish and put the flour in another. Roll the balls in egg, then flour. Set aside. Heat another splash of the reserved oil in the frying pan and fry the balls until golden all over and heated through (about 10 minutes). Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

  4. Warm the crème fraîche in the pan with the mustard and capers. Return the balls to the pan and toss gently. Scatter with the lemon zest, dill and more pepper to serve

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