Fire - both a curse and a blessing 2021

Fire - both a curse and a blessing

Fire is both a curse and a blessing, a gift from God and a punishment.

Until well into the 19th century, people were at the mercy of fire. Fire regulations prevented many a fire, and many courageous helpers extinguished smaller fires with bucket chains and hand-operated pumps. But only prayer helped against fires. The Virgin Mary and "fire saints" such as St Florian, St Barbara and St Christopher were invoked for help. Numerous answers to prayers, recorded in the "Frauenberg Miracle Book", tell of trust in God and heavenly intercession.

Modern technology, the onset of motorisation and a belief in progress increasingly shaped the 19th century. People took their fate into their own hands. In 1851, the monarchy's first volunteer fire brigade was founded in Reichstadt in Bohemia, and in 1853 the first in Styria was established in Graz. In 1872, the Liezen, Rottenmann and Aussee fire brigades were founded in the region, followed by Admont and St. Gallen in 1873.

Today, high-performance technology determines fire protection. State-of-the-art equipment, operated by highly trained volunteers, helps to fight fires. And yet St Florian watches over his "Floriani disciples" at every fire station...

Winfried Schwab OSB, cultural representative of the convent