The shrine with a minor basilica , a Franciscan monastery, an open air altar and various facilities receives more than 200 thousand pilgrims a year. It lies on the Blue Trail (Section 19).
The Holy Well of Mátraverebély lies in a peaceful valley at the foot of Meszes-tető on the eastern edge of Cserhát. It is accessible from Hollókő along the Blue Trail or by car from Pásztó.
Stations of the Cross are arranged on the shady slope and in the opposite towers of the minor basilica rises slightly over the trees. Next to the church benches and an altar decorated with Slovenian Jesuit theologian Marko Ivan Rupnik’s mosaics await pilgrims for open-air masses. The Holy Well is an octagonal stone structure with a statue of the Madonna and Child on the top at the wall.
Legend has it that as King Saint Ladislaus was fleeing from his enemies in 1091, he arrived at a chasm. Survival was nearly hopeless from here, but he managed to leap over it with his horse. Where his horse touched the ground a spring appeared. The first miraculous healing happened here in the 12th century when Virgin Mary appeared to a mute shepherd and as he drank from the water he regained his speech. In the next century processions from the church of Verebély had become common and the Holy Well soon became one of the most important pilgrimage site.
In 1700, an investigation by Pope Clement XI recognized the miraculous healings as real. The current church together with the adjacent friary was built between 1758 and 1763 by donation of János Almásy as a token of his gratitude for his recovery by the miraculous water. This church was honoured with the title “Basilica minor” by Pope Paul VI in 1970. The Franciscan friary was nationalized after WW2 and was turned into a nursery home. After the political changes development started, which finished in 2015. By the overall renovation a National Shrine was established with various facilities to make it an internationally reputable destination for religious tourism preserving its peaceful ambience at the same time.
Apart from the main feast day (on Sunday right before the day of Assumption) the parking lot may seem surprisingly spacious, however, it often gets full as the shrine receives 200 thousand visitors a year. Right at the entrance there is an information center with the Franciscan Gallery and a gift shop.
Just a few hundred meters away on the slope of Meszes-tető you may visit the hermit caves that were used as chapels and homes between the 13th and 18th century. The last hermit died in 1767 and was buried in the church. Follow the Green Ω (ZΩ) markers from the outdoor altar.
Take your time to visit Szent László gorge and spring nearby heading north along the Blue (K) Trail.