The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is an open-air folklife museum and research center dedicated to preserving and celebrating Pennsylvania German folk culture, history, and language in a unique educational setting at Kutztown University.

Mountain Mary

Mountain Mary: Contemporary Visions of the Sainted Healer

A Virtual Exhibition of Old and New Artistic Works and Artifacts at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University.

Mountain Mary: Contemporary Visions of the Sainted Healer

A Virtual Exhibition of Old and New Artistic Works and Artifacts at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown University.

Venerated as the sainted healer of the Oley Valley, Mountain Mary, or Anna Maria Jung (1744–1819), has become one of the preeminent legendary figures of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Enshrined in works of art and immortalized in poetry, Mountain Mary embodies the spirit of the region’s folk culture even two centuries after her death.

From her humble beginning as a young German-speaking immigrant from war-torn Europe, to her journey of more than 40 years living in the wilderness as a revered, Mary rose to the level of a folk hero among the Pennsylvania Dutch for her legacy of healing, generosity, and kindness Establishing herself as a skilled healer, productive farmer, and leader in her community, Mountain Mary’s story is a quintessential American pioneer narrative of virtue, cooperation, and humility in the face of war, illness and adversity.

For generations, Mountain Mary has inspired pilgrimages and spiritual reflection among the people of the region who continue to retell her legend, sing ballads of her heroism, and portray her at cultural festivals. Young Pennsylvanians, eager to experience their cultural roots in the region, look to Mary’s healing traditions and connection to the land as a means to explore alternative spiritual modalities. Mary’s colorful and often contradictory legend continues to embody the traditions and positive values which sustain the region’s folk culture.