monastery of Saint Catherine

A brief description.

Diessenhofen lies halfway between Stein am Rhein and Schaffhausen on a trapezoidal shaped terrace situated above the south bank of the Rhine. The terrace narrows westwards into a point.

The village of Diessenhofen received its town charter from the Counts of Kyburg in 1178. Following the death of the last Kyburg in 1264, Thurgau passed over to the Habsburgs, who maintained tight administrative control over their territories. They established a strong administrative elite that received the full support of the dynasty – an elite richly rewarded for loyal service by means of commodities and seized goods.

The foundation of the monastery of Saint Katherinental of Diessenhofen is in 1230 or earlier. The first known prioress is Williburg von Hünikon with thirteen sisters.

In 1242 the bishop of Constance allowed them to move outside Diessenhofen at Gall, on the bank of the Rhine river. The location was called "Vallis Sanctae Catherinae prope Diessenhoven."
In 1245 the community was incorporated into the Dominican order by pope Innocent IV. The Dominicans in Constance were responsible for the care of the nuns.

Dependent communities: In 1399 five sisters were chosen to help found the reformed convent of Schönensteinbach, whose first prioress was Clara Anna von Hohenburg.

Social ccharacteristics: The members of the community were drawn from the urban patriciate and the local nobility from the surrounding areas of Villingen, Schaffhausen and Constance.

Literary wwks: The community's first period of bloom was in the fourteenth century; At this time it produced the Saint Katharinentaler Sister-Book. (This was also a period of a renewal of strict observances.) A chronicle of the community also survives.

The present-day baroque monastery dates back to a new structure built in the years 1715-1718 by the Vorarlberg architect Franz Beer.

The church was built in the years 1732-1735 by his son Johann Michael Beer and is regarded to have one of the most beautiful late-baroque interiors in Switzerland with a magnificent altar, pictures and ceiling frescos. In the church Johann Jakob Bommer built the organ from 1735-1741, restored by Kuhn in 1967. It is the best preserved of the few organs, and richly decorated with angels making music.

The community of Diessenhofen was dissolved by the Canton of Thurgau in 1869. The last sisters moved to Schänis, and then to Weesen.
The Canton Thurgau transformed the buildings into a old peoples' residence and nursing home.

Source : Monasticon by Lisa Bitel, Katherine Gill. Editors ;  Marie Kelleher Assistant Editor
            : Internet s.v. monastery Diessenhofen.


Monastery of Saint Catherine in Diessenhofen. Under Prioress Dominika Josepha von Rottenberg (1676-1738) the Baroque
buildings of the convent were built.

                                              Switzerland 2005, Mi 1920, Sc  .




             Switzerland 2005. stamp booklet  0-141.



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