This is one of my favorite legends… In about 612, a group of Irish monks pilgrimage through Europe, led by Columban and arrived in the region of the lake of Constance. Gallus, a member of the group of pilgrims was sick and was left behind, whereas Columban and his friends crossed the Alps and went to Italy.

Gallus, the adventurous Celtic Saint, wanted to live as a hermit in the loneliness of the forest, praying and serving God. In the valley of the Steinach, he stumbled over a stump of a thorn bush. He considered this as a sign of God and decided to stay at this place.

As the legend tells, Gallus and his companion Hiltibold ate together at the campfire and then lay down. When Hiltibold had fallen asleep, a wild and hungry bear appeared. Gallus told him to fetch wood to light a fire. In exchange, Gallus gave him a piece of bread and ordered that the wild animal should never harm human beings or animals. The bear never reappeared! When Hiltibold saw this, he was deeply impressed and said: «Now I truly know that the Lord is with you, since even the animals of the wilderness are obedient to you.»

His reputation grows. Monks travel from far and wide to learn from him. He is asked to become bishop of the burgeoning monastery or the abbot of Luxeuil in France. Gallus said no. He always just wanted to be a monk and pray in solitude.

After the death of Gallus (†Arbon), monks from various regions came to live at this place and the spot grew in importance as a place of worship. Gallus legend grows. A Benedictine monastery was founded in 747 by St.Otmar and named for Gallus.

See also: Abbey Library, Abbey Cathedral

Gallus in the Vaulted Cellar made by Taxidermist Marcel Nyffenegger