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The Saint from Ojes

The Saint from Val Badia - Saint Ujöp Frenademetz

In the mid- 19th century several farming families with altogether twenty children lived in the hamlet of Oies. The missionary Ujöp Freinademetz, who lived in China from 1879 to 1908, was born into one of these families in 1852. In 2003 he was canonized by the Holy Father John Paul II after he had been beatified in 1975. In 1995 a church dedicated to Ujüp Freinademetz was built in Oies. The church was designed by the architect Oswald Valentini and stands were the Pitscheider family's fodder store once stood. Ladin elements such as stone and wood are mixed with Chinese elements e.g. the roof. The Saint's birthplace is next to this; a typical Ladin farm house. Today, there is a small chapel downstairs, a meeting room on the ground floor and various other rooms. Prayers and meditation can take place here. 

A modest museum depicts the Saint's life. Several of his personal effects are exhibited. Photographs show the missionary in China together with brothers from his religious order and letters written to his family and friends at home. In these letters he explains how he experienced life in a very different country from the one he knew. He describes the Chinese way of life, how they lived and their character. He also talks of the hardships he had to suffer especially during the Boxer Uprising. Pilgrims from all over the world visit Oies to ask for the Saint's blessing. The most prominent pilgrim was Pope Benedict XVI who visited Oies in 2008.
In addition, several bishops, including the Cardinal of Vienna Franz König (1905-2004) have visited the place.


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