One of the outstanding events of the Pilgrimage Town of Kevelaer in the 20th century have been Pope John Paul II’ and Mother Teresa’s visits in 1987.
During the Thirty Years' War, a few days before Christmas, a merchant from Geldern named Hendrik Busmann heard a voice nearby a hail-cross standing amidst the heath of Kevelaer. He was ordered to build a chapel onto this place. After having heard this voice on two further days he made up his mind to build a chapel there. In the following year the French army crossed the Rhine intending to unite with a Kur-Hessian corps in order to defeat the imperial army, who supported the Spanish. In the same year one night Busmann’s wife Mechel saw a large shining light with a little chapel in its centre in which a small devotional picture, resembling the one she had been offered by an imperial officer recently, was to be seen. She told this to her husband who then bought the picture concerned.
Though times were hard, Henrik Busman kept his promise and build a wayside-shrine in the way Mechel had seen it at the very spot he had heard the voice before. On Sunday 1st June 1642 the local parish priest of that time put the devotional picture into the wayside-shrine.