Sunday, January 7, 2007

Historic Kneipp Springs

In 1895 Dr. W.G. Geiermann purchased 80 acres of land on a hilltop in Rome City, at the behest of Fr. Dominick Duehmig with the intent of practicing the Kneipp Water Cure. Dr. Geiermann had spent time in Woerishofen, Germany learning the Kneipp healing methods. He soon erected a series of modest buildings near the therapeutic springs in Rome City.

At the original meetings was a young seminarian by the name of John Noll who was acting as an economic advisor to both Dr. Geiermann and Fr. Duehmig. Later on in life, this same young man would come to benefit of all the services provided at this facility by The Sisters of the Precious Blood, but he would be known as Bishop Noll (then Archbishop) to the sisters.

Bishop Noll became a regular visitor to the "Springs" as he had his summer house on Bishop's Island directly across the road on Sylvan Lake. He developed many friendships with staffers at the facility (one of his fishing buddies was a grounds maintenance man) and he said regular Mass and would hear the Sisters' confessions when asked. Bishop Noll had first-hand knowledge of the work done at the facility from its inception in 1895. He personally enjoyed the care and comfort provided there after his stroke in 1955 up until his death in July of 1956. The sisters took great pride in their relationship with Bishop Noll and he was obviously grateful for their work in God’s name and on his behalf. More on his involvement later...

In 1901, the Sisters of Precious Blood began operating the property under the leadership of their own resident Kneipp expert, Sister Margaret Schalachter. From 1901 to 1977 the Sisters employed various Kneipp treatments and continued to develop the buildings and the grounds of the campus, adding accommodations for the greater number of guests the sanitarium was attracting. In 1956, Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil, a nun at the sanitarium who worked as a domestic, began recording what she described as visits from the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of America) -- who seemed concerned about the private lives of Americans as society was about to plummet into the Sixties. These apparitions are the only ones in the United States to have reached the second level of confirmation by the Catholic Church.

Kneipp Background

From 1901 through 1977, the Rome City campus was owned and operated by the Sisters of the Precious Blood, who ran an on-site Sanitarium that specialized in Kneipp therapy. Kneipp therapy is the product of the holistic thinking of Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest. During the course of his life (1821-1897), Sebastian Kneipp combined aspects of the baths of the Greek and Roman empires, the cures of the Far East, as well as the medicine of the European cloisters and developed them to meet the needs of modern man.

This formed the basis of his visionary lifestyle: one that asks people to regard their daily habits and natural environment as inseparable from one another. Kneipp therapy – especially Kneipp water therapy – is alive and well, and is practiced by millions of people around the world.



The theory of the healing effects of specially selected herbs and plants is the result of thousands of years of experience. It is asserted that plants can gently move the body into health without side effects posed by some synthetic chemicals in modern pharmaceuticals.


Water is an ideal conductor of heat and coolness as well as a stimulus to chemical and mechanical reactions. In the center of the so named “hydrotherapy,” also known,as the famous “Kneipp Cure,” are pleasant applications of warm and cold water which are believed to stimulate the circulation and improve the natural healing powers of the body.


Regular physical activity, preferably out in the countryside, is an important aspect of Kneipp practice. Light physical activities like hiking, swimming and bike-riding as well as a moderate program of physical training, without the pressure of competition are integral to Kneipp.


A varied and healthy diet is a key ingredient of the holistic approach. Sebastian Kneipp did not subscribe to the concept of strict diets, rather he encouraged frequent, balanced and nutritious but low-fat meals. Since food and beverage play a central role in controlling inner balance and joy of life, Kneipp practice dictates that meals should be a palatable and pleasant experience.


At January 8, 2007 9:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the Springs still in use at all today for any health benefits?

At January 8, 2007 9:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The water is still there. People come by for water from the waterfall all the time.

They do not offer the spa services at this time although many of the "healing" rooms are still in place.

At January 8, 2007 10:06 PM , Anonymous Sam Iam said...

There have been numerous reported miraculous healings from the waters at these springs over the years.
Many locals swear by its health benefits and they don't attribute anything to the spirituality because they are not fully aware of the Catholic history. It's hard to believe, but Rome City was once 95% Catholic and now it might be 6%.

At January 8, 2007 10:41 PM , Anonymous Gloria said...

This has really been a wealth of knowledge on this fantastic property and OLOA.

I am glad to see the new links for the American Bishops too. I hope everyone uses them and sends their local Bishop a letter ASAP.

At January 9, 2007 9:16 AM , Anonymous Theresa P. said...

Congratulations! I think you are making very good progress on the website. the articles are quite informative and the links are very easy to navigate to important other information sources. the link to the contact info for the Bishops is a great idea. thank you for all you are doing for Our Lady of America.

At January 9, 2007 9:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading about OLoA for several years now on Spirit Daily and also the messages of Sr. Neuzl.

I have to say that I was simply flabbergasted to learn about this wonderful site where the Blessed Mother first appeared to Sr. Neuzil as OloA. It was rarely given mention on the other sites. I have learned SO MUCH from this site and I will be checking it every day for the articles and comments. The history of this place sure is inspiring and I am glad She picked such a beautiful place (not a garbage dump :)) I really like to hear the peoples' stories who have been close to the Blessed Mother.

At January 9, 2007 4:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good people,

I would much rather pray and worship on a dump that has been blessed by God than in a lavish and ornate chapel that is completely devoid of God's grace. You see, it is the spiritual merits of a place that makes it holy and worthy of attendance by the faithful, not its superficial glitter. A place with no spiritual validity, such as the one in Indiana, is unworthy to serve as a place of worship nor of pilgrimage, no matter how luxurious and scenically situated it is, because such a place is spiritually desolate, and can never bestow on people the kind of special blessings and graces that can be gained at the humblest place, even a dump, that has been sanctified by God.

Don't be seduced by the eye-appeal of a place. Things can be attractive to eye that are poisonous to the soul. Remember what happened to Eve in the garden. How attractive and savory the devil made that apple seem to her eyes. And yet, it was fatal. So, consider not the superficial glitter of things, but look deeper at the spiritual value. For, any rocky patch of ground where our Blessed Mother may appear is holy and sacred. Such places, though outwardly not very appealing, are gateways to God's graces. Is not the Lord's manger more glorious and precious than all of the world's thrones?

I have seen some of the photos of that place in Indiana, and I must say that they do not convey any sense of a holy atmosphere. They seem like nothing more than pictures of a park. On the other hand, when I look at photos of places such as Lourdes and Fatima and even Medjugorje, I get a much different impression. Genuine apparition sites possess such great spiritual presence that even a photograph of them seems to convey some special grace upon the viewer. I dare say, good people, that a mere photograph of Lourdes possesses more spiritual power and bestows greater blessings than the actual place in Indiana.

God bless you and guide you always!

At January 9, 2007 4:29 PM , Anonymous Not Anonymous, My name is Greg said...


Is this all you have to do all day? I've seen your posts all over this blog and you keep saying the same thing with nothing to back it up. Apparently you are one of those people who won't believe anything until after everything is done. I think that one guy was right in that you are like the people who persecuted the CHILDREN at Lourdes and Fatima. You would have been one of those ready to pitch the first stone. Well, I think you better get over your attitude because this looks like it has all the markings for another resounding VICTORY for Our Lady. I believe this will be confirmed and I believe the National Shrine will become a place of spiritual miracles and I believe this place in Rome City is going to bring countless people back to Our Lord.

At January 9, 2007 4:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez- What a grouch that grumpy Anonymous is!
Somebody give her some raisins or something.

At January 9, 2007 4:48 PM , Anonymous T. Graham said...

Boy, this lady (I'm assuming it's a lady) REALLY wants to suffer. Apparently she has never been to fatima or Lourdes because I can tell you there isn't anybody suffering at those places or standing around on garbage piles.

At January 9, 2007 4:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, are you saying we should tear down the Cistine Chapel because it is beautiful and there's now ay God's presence could be felt there?

At January 9, 2007 5:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the life of me I still cannot understand how this disgruntled person continues to say, contrary to the Church Herself, that this place/cause has no spiritual validity. Perhaps that is why the signature is "anonymous". So, anonymous, do you regularly dissent from the Church's guidance? For She has given you such through the holy bishop's Imprimatur in this case.

The other point that baffles is this expression of "glitter" to describe a seemingly rural setting with the remaining buildings that housed a religious order of nuns for years with a lovely chapel that as much held the body of Christ as that referenced stable of Bethlehem. Therefore this sacred place should be held today in as much reverence for having housed God. Please don't continue to desecrate holy places with your words. Perhaps you yourself are the one too caught up in appearances rather than the essence of holiness being renewed to its rightful place where once Jesus' divine Presence existed and desires to once again. And don't you think God deserves a beautiful Chapel to house His Presence? After all He changed that dump into a gorgeous spot. I wouldn't think then it's a very good idea to turn His lovely home, at least in your mind, into a dump! IOW, I wouldn't put road blocks in His way.


At January 9, 2007 5:50 PM , Anonymous Jeannie Ambrose said...

well said Kris...again. Are you going to put a retreat together at this place? I saw one of your earlier comments and I think you should. I know I would attend if I could.

At January 9, 2007 6:28 PM , Anonymous Gloria said...

Don't let that anonymous person get you riled up. They just don't get it and probably never will. That is just fine with me because I would rather someone like that not be at a place like this while I am there because they would try to ruin the experience for everyone just to draw attention to themself.

I bet anonymous is one of those LOUD people in church that makes it hard to concentrate.

At January 9, 2007 7:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had always wondered what this place was used for when the nuns had it. Very interesting. It makes sense with all the stories of healing and all that.

Is this place going to be going back to the nuns who ran it before or to the new order in Fostoria or is there another plan? I know of a group of Franciscan priests who would do good there and they are really interested in OLOA.

At January 9, 2007 8:14 PM , Anonymous Mark Heffner said...

I must admit that I was SUPER skeptical of what the group that is behind this website was up to at first. I thought maybe they were after money at first but I have come to decide that they are for real. All of these stories and this history can't be made up. They are also linking to all of the right things that will help Our Lady get confirmed. The link to the Bishops is great. It should be on the other site too!

I have a pretty good feeling about how all this is going to come together in big moment and we will have Our Lady represented in The National Shrine as OLOA and we will have people able to visit and learn at this beautiful place where it all began. Isn't that how all of the great pilgrimage sites go? Everybody goes to where Our Lady appeared...whether it started as a garbage dump or not.

What is with the crabby apple who keeps commenting so tersely? If this place was a Church/parish for al those years, it is consecrated and has been the home to Our Lord and a place of rebirth for how many countless people over the years? Our Lady picked the place because she knows what she wants.
Don't be second-guessing my mother!!

At January 9, 2007 9:18 PM , Anonymous KimJ. said...

I think I see a definite connection between the Kneipp lifestyle and what Our Lady may be calling upon us to do in our own lives with Our Lady of America. One thing always leads to another and this seems to be a hand in glove fit.
Very interesting reading.

At January 10, 2007 10:20 AM , Anonymous Kenneth, Indianapolis said...

I have been travelling to Rome City for about 8 months now to get water for my ailing father. It is about a 6 hour roundtrip for me and I look forward to it each time. I fill two five gallon coolers and whatever gallon jugs my wife sets aside for me. We give the gallon jugs away to friends and my father drinks the water in the coolers. He calls it his "miracle water from Mary's place".

I wouldn't do anything like this if my wife had not heard about this water source from a friend at Church one Sunday. She was told about a grandchild of one of the parishioners who is working on Our Lady of America being healed instantly of some sort of neck injury suffered at birth. They claimed it was the water from this apparition site so my wife convinced me to drive her up to get some water and try it on my father's crippling arthritis.
We grabbed some coolers and old milk jugs and headed up the Highway 69. When we arrived, we found a man out mowing this HUGE front lawn. He told us we could help ourselves to the water but that we should go to the hill before we left and ask for Our Lady's intercession in this healing we were seeking.
My wife had her camera so we took some photos of the grounds and made our way to what they call Holy Family Hill where they have the most beautiful statue of the Holy Family I think I have ever seen.
We took some photos and prayed to Mary while we touched the statue and all of a sudden we were surrounded by all of these butterflies. We couldn't believe it. It was beyond our belief. We both started to cry tears of joy and comfort that we were being blessed by our dear Heavenly Mother. One of our photos has a very clear image of Mary with two angels above the treeline. It is the most precious possession we own.
We took the water back to my father and he began drinking it regularly. It was gone in about a week. And so was his pain in his joints he had suffered for over 15 years.
We pray for Our Lady of America's confirmation and we pray for this beautiful piece of heaven and thank God that we have been so blessed.
I have never been to Lourdes or fatima or Mejugorje. I have been to Rome City and I can HIGHLY recommend you visit if you can. It is so peaceful and full of gifts.

At January 11, 2007 4:32 PM , Anonymous Marilyn L said...

I use some Kneipp products but I never knew there was any connection to the US. This is quite interesting how this is all rich with history. What a story this is.

At January 11, 2007 6:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live on Sylvan Lake across from this gorgeous old beauty! I can see it every day from my living room. I hope they can put the gold cross back on top of the church some day. The Way took it down and it has never seemed the same.

The new owners have the place looking good and I do believe they are trying awfully hard.

The water is exceptionally clean from the waterfalls. I gather a few galllons now and then and use it for my tea.

At January 16, 2007 12:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At January 16, 2007 12:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

does this post Alex Test

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At August 29, 2007 6:00 PM , Blogger herroyalhighness said...

My great-aunt Sister Prudentia was a member of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. She passed away at the convent in Rome City 5/1/1945. She is buried there.

My grand-father was a gardner there while my grand-mother was a patient there.

Does anyone know who owns the property now.

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Keep up the great work. It very impressive. Enjoyed the visit!

At August 24, 2009 5:51 PM , Anonymous JoAnn said...

My family visited the church and grounds this past weekend. I must say it is a very interesting place. We were invited to take a tour and were taken below ground to the source of the spring. It was quite amazing. The grounds are lovely and you certainly do feel peace all around you.I'm not sure what to make of it all, but I do believe it is a very special place. We have a cottage nearby and have always admired the beautiful old buildings.

At October 15, 2009 5:45 PM , Anonymous F. Utz said...

My daughters and I had the opportunity for a tour there this summer. The history of the place is pretty incredible. I think before someone passes judgement on it, they should visit first. It's a beautiful old place.

At October 29, 2009 11:17 AM , Blogger soldierotc said...

I grew up about a quarter mile down the road, and look forward to visiting when we come back that way.


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