The history of the Visitation
The image of the Madonna is said to date from around the year 1390. For the first few centuries it occupied a spot on a rocky ledge just below the village, and it was the worship of this icon which gave rise to the village’s subsequent name:"Bild+Stein" = “picture+stone”).
A reputedly true occurence
During the early years of the 17th century, when Europe was ravaged by plague, a farmer named Georg Höfle, from Baumgarten (a district of Bildstein) made a promise to the Virgin Mary to build a chapel if his family and farm were spared. At that time the holy image was already accommodated in a small wooden chapel standing on the site of the present church.
In the autumn of 1629, the farmer’s two sons, Martin and Johannes Höfle, were on their way to the Baumgartner gorge when the Holy Virgin appeared to remind them of the unfulfilled promise a man had made to Her. When the children got home and told their story, their father realised that he was the man to whom She had referred.
During the next few years Georg Höfle built an impressive chapel, which was completed after his death by his wife. In the year 1657 the chapel received the authorisation to hold Catholic Mass. One point that should not be forgotten: the visitation by the Virgin Mary in the year 1629 has been historically recorded, sworn under oath, and is the only such case in Vorarlberg to have received official recognition by the Catholic Church.