Cellitinnen to St. Elisabeth

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± The Cellitinnen of St. Elisabeth are better known under the name "Cellitinnen von der Antonsgasse" or " Cologne Augustinians ". They are a Catholic community of sisters who live according to the Augustine rule and are active in nursing. The patrons of the order are Saints Augustine , Elisabeth and Anna .


Middle Ages and Modern Times

On January 9, 1312 citizen gave Lore of Vylich the Beguine Greta a house in the Antonsgasse in Cologne. Greta founded a beginner's convention there, the members of which were active in nursing and which was also called the Lore convent after its founder. In all the centuries to come, the number of sisters kept hovering around twenty. In the first years the house had a common refectory , as well as a spinning and weaving room. The dormitory , the dormitory, was divided into cells .

The office of a superior , who accepted the members into a convent, was not exercised here by the pastor , but by the abbess of the canonical monastery of St. Caecilien. Throughout the centuries, the community always maintained a good relationship with the canons, who gave the sisters rich gifts, including houses.

After the sisters accepted the Augustine Rule in 1454 , they placed their monastery under the patronage of St. Elizabeth.

In the following years there were some disputes with the city of Cologne. For example, the sisters had an Alexian brother and assistants build a small building, which they had to demolish at the request of the city. A year later, the sisters complained that the city auditors had behaved improperly in inspecting their silk mill . In 1483, the city forbade them to include a neighboring house they had donated to their property.

Two years later, namely in 1485, Auxiliary Bishop Johann consecrated the first altar of the monastery. After Auxiliary Bishop Petrus van Walenburch consecrated the newly built monastery church on July 21, 1670, construction work on the monastery came to a standstill. After the city of Cologne obliged the monastery in 1776 to leave hospital Ipperwald with one or two nurses in an emergency, we learn that the community had eleven members in 1792, one from the city, the rest from the The villages of Kurkölns , Jülich and Berg came from. With an annual income of around 705 Thalers , the monastery was also one of the poorer ones in the city. After deducting all expenses, each sister only received 50 thalers. According to a report by the monastery confessor, the sisters lived together in peace and unity, as they diligently obeyed their rules and statutes.

19th century

On January 19, 1798, the monastery was forbidden from accepting new members and the dismissal of all novices was ordered, so that two years later there were only ten sisters and the number fell to seven by 1802.

It is noted for 1807 that all sisters wore secular clothing against the wishes of the Hospice Commission . On May 25, 1819, clothing could be made again for the first time after five years, but the number of members continued to decrease, so that the monastery had six sisters in 1821 and only five sisters in 1825. A visitation report from 1826 tells us that the monastery spirit was in good condition. Unfortunately, this did not apply to the income for that year, as it was just 878 thalers. The transfer of the last superior of the Cellitinnenkloster Klein St. Ursula to the Elisabethkloster was rated accordingly positively, especially since the community was awarded a third of the assets from the closed Ursulakloster.

In 1838 the sisters were offered a transfer to the Bürgerhospital / Caecilienkloster. The superior refused, but offered the interested sisters a change. Following the offer, two more sisters transferred to the Caecilienkloster on November 28, 1838 and three more in the following year, where they formed a new community with some sisters from the Kupfergasse. Although this monastery was completely independent, it was called a branch monastery of the sisters from Antonsgasse. From a visit report from 1843 it emerges that there was no common prayer and no reading at table , no retreat and no silence , the sisters still regularly wore secular clothing, maintained close contact with their relatives and visited them regularly in the country and at all stayed away from the monastery for a long time. It is mentioned that Sister Maria Wirtz has been in Goch for seven years and another sister has been in Krefeld for nursing for two years . At the same time as this report, the sisters asked permission to wear a black veil over their white veil in the future. In order to improve the internal conditions of the monastery, the coadjutor archbishop, Johannes von Geissel , transferred the superior of the citizen hospital , Ignatia Külpmann, as superior in the Elisabeth monastery in January 1844. When she asked to be transferred back to the Citizens' Hospital three days later, it was turned down because the poor administration feared the appointment of an economist . When Sister Ignatia finally left the monastery at the end of the year, one had to accept the failure of the attempt and find out that the monastery was now in an even more desperate condition.

On January 1, 1845, Sister Petronella Cöllen was appointed a respectable superior by the archbishop. Gradually a monastic spirit returned to the community, which in 1844 had set up a home for elderly women in their monastery, so that since 1854 a 13-hour prayer took place on the feast of their patron saint. After the reformer Sister Petronella had given up her position in February 1860 to Sister Katharina Esser, who was also willing to reform, a retreat was held in May of that year . Two days after the beginning of the same, Petronella called in sick and gathered a few sisters in her cell who were ready to take her into opposition to the new matron's new course . After the retreat was over, five sisters accepted the new statutes and made perpetual vows, while Sister Petronella and her three companions continued to resist. When archiepiscopal measures were taken against this group in July, their leader was quite open-minded, while the other two remained obstinate. That year, when there were 12 sisters, the Archbishop tried to unite the Cellites into a single congregation . This failed, however, when in 1862 he appointed the superior of the Caecilienkloster, Sister Dominica Barth, as superior general and assigned the Elisabethkloster as the mother house, as the majority of the sisters refused to recognize a "foreigner" as headmistress.

In March of the following year, the two opponents lodged custody against any change in the monastery with the vicar general and the superior, so that the sisters, nine in number, were spared the introduction of new statutes. But the disputes increased and on June 5, 1868 even led to the penetration of the two opponents into the superior's cell, where they attacked her. When they refused to leave the monastery on the instructions of the archbishop, the archbishop turned to the authorities, who initiated an investigation. In the end, the two stayed in the monastery, which they no longer regarded as a monastery, but as a "nursing home". Two years later they complained to the government about renewed attempts by the archbishopric to transform the house, which was a secular one, into a monastery. In future, admissions will only be made possible for sisters who are willing to take vows. In addition, contrary to the provisions, there was an election of superior women. The two now demanded the complete subordination of the institute to state supervision. Nothing more is known about the further development of these two women, but here too the moods must have calmed down.

The Kulturkampf that followed brought its own concerns with the ban on accepting new members in 1875. This was a decision of the state authorities, which was only revised in December 1882, so that they, who had fallen to three sisters in 1878, could again dress three novices on August 11, 1883. After the community grew rapidly, it was decided ten years later to replace the old monastery building with a new one. In the same year (1893) the congregation in Schlebusch succeeded in establishing its first branch, which many more were to follow.

20th century

Memorial plaque on the commercial building at Antonsgasse 7. Text: This is where the St. Elisabeth monastery, the motherhouse of the Augustinians, stood. Founded in 1312 as a beguinage, whose sisters were appointed by the Cologne City Council to care for sick citizens.
The monastery chapel with the much revered miraculous image of the Sorrowful Mother was also located here.
On May 31, 1942 and October 15, 1944, the chapel and monastery were bombed destroyed
The love that overcomes everything, rebuilt the monastery and chapel in 1953

On December 7, 1911, the Cellitinnen took over the sponsorship of the newly founded St. Anna Hospital in Duisburg- Huckingen . The house offers space for 100 patients and cost 500,000 marks. The order was responsible for the house from 1911 to 1994. From 1994 the Maltese took over the sponsorship. Today four sisters still live in the house under the direction of Mother Superior Sister Christiane. The Sisters' cemetery is located on the same site as the hospital and was completely renovated in 2006. Source: Festschrift St. Anna for the anniversary 2004.

In 1927 they took over the St. Brigida Hospital in Simmerath, which they handed over to the Maltese in 1997.

On July 23, 1937, the sisters took over the motherhouse of the Alexians in Cologne , today the St. Hildegardis Hospital , which was badly damaged in the war. In the bombing raids of October 1944, the parent house in Antonsgasse was so destroyed that only the cellar remained. The Generalate has now been moved to Attendorn after it had been housed in the Bürgerhospital in the meantime .

After the war they looked for a house of the appropriate size and leased the Eichholz estate near Wesseling for ten years . During this time, a smaller monastery was built next to the Hildegardis Hospital, which was to serve as the temporary motherhouse. However, at the request of the Archbishop of Cologne, the Superior General left this to the Catholic students and instead built today's mother house at Gleuler Strasse 365, which is also connected to a retirement home .

In 1953 there were 157 sisters living in the Diocese of Cologne alone, but by 1966 their number had fallen to 103. In 1999 the 62 sisters of the congregation lived in five settlements, several of which were given to the Order of Malta at the time.

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