After entering the Carthusians' Swiss monastery of Ittlingen in 1476, Hans Wagner, of Riedlingen, Germany, aspired to an even more austere life
of solitude. Consequently, he wrote to Pope Innocent VIII, seeking permission to become a hermit. In a letter dated May 6, 1489, the pontiff answered in the affirmative, beginning his response with a warm salutation: "My well-beloved son, receive above all our greeting and our apostolic blessing!" After receiving this reply, Hans journeyed to Switzerland's Mount Pilate, with a summit of nearly seven thousand feet, settling in a cave on its slopes. The surrounding woods are now known as "the Forest of the Good
God." Here he continued to live according to the Carthusian rule, emerging from his hermitage only to attend liturgical rites
in the parish
church of Kriens, or when dire necessity
compelled him. In 1504 a Swiss magistrate and his devout wife, impressed by the hermit's extraordinary holiness, built a chapel
for him. Those who knew Hans noted his great serenity of spirit
and his deep humility.