Christian women

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The religious order of the Christian Sisters , formerly the “Cooperative of the Christian Sisters”, is a Roman Catholic religious order that split off from the order-like household communities of the Beguines and Begarians around 1300 and founded a branch in Aachen . The Christian women, whose name only became naturalized around 1500 century, belong to the religious family of the Cellitinnen and are mainly active in the care of the sick and the elderly. Since 1974 the house Maria im Venn in the Stolberg district of Venwegen has been the mother house of the Christian women.

The guiding principle of the religious community is: " Every creature of God is to be accepted and accepted without reservation from its own life history, religion, origin or worldview "

From the origins to the French era

First parent company in Aachen until 1899; left the chapel, built by Adam Franz Friedrich Leydel

After, as in many other cities, in Aachen, too, at the beginning of the 13th century, individual Beguine groups, who were exposed to accusations of heresy and thus to persecution and the Inquisition by the Pope and his bishops, were protected by recognized religious orders or formed themselves into one, the Cellitinnen branch in Aachen was founded around 1299 from such a group.

The first mother house mentioned is a building that housed the " sisters who live in Aachen on the Graben " around 1334 and was located in the immediate vicinity of the Harduinstor at today's corner of Kapuzinergraben / Theaterplatz. On the west side it had a common wall with the Tertiarierkloster the Webbegarden in the 1614 Aachen Capuchin moved in. On August 11, 1315, the Bishop of Liège, Adolff II von der Mark , allowed the sisters to build an oratory and chapel and to create a cemetery there. Around 1370 the term Kestenzien was found for this community , which came from the Latin "Castae", the chaste . Around 1412 the sisters accepted the rule of St. Augustine and were thus recognized as an official religious community. In honor of the services of Mary and Martha of Bethanien, they baptized their monastery into " House Bethanien " and in 1472 received permission from Pope Sixtus IV to build a new church or chapel with a modest tower and a small bell to expand the cemetery. Finally, around the year 1500, this religious order was given the current name "Christian Sisters".

During the great fire of Aachen on May 2, 1656, their monastery was also destroyed by flames, but thanks to generous donations, the building was re-inaugurated in 1668. As early as September 1692, the parent company was again badly damaged in an earthquake and this time, too, the repair costs could only be covered by further appeals for donations. Finally the church was restored again in 1721 and the monastery community received an organ for their chapel in 1748.

In 1792 the city was occupied by the French , whose tax burdens the convent community bowed to and consequently had to submit an inventory and property register in 1798. As early as January 6, 1799, the commission of civil hospitals took over the management of the monastery's assets, the chapel of which was no longer open to public use. The 12 sisters were also forbidden to accept new novices , to take vows and to wear religious clothes.

19th century

While the religious order was able to look back on a monastery with up to 18 sisters before the French Revolution , the number of members has now been limited to 15, but since 1807 they have been allowed to wear their religious dress again. Two years later the small community received permission to take their vows for a period of five years. When the French rule collapsed in January 1814, there were only seven sisters left, although the number of members of this small religious community increased again in the following period. Finally, in the years 1829/30, the monastery chapel of the Christian Sisters was given a new classical exterior by the Aachen architect Adam Franz Friedrich Leydel as part of a necessary restoration .

Although the sisters were generally praised for their zeal in nursing, the incumbent monastery commissioner Johann Wilhelm Dillschneider (1795–1872) complained on the one hand about their frequent stay with their families and the low level of education in the monastery, but on the other hand rejected the suggestion of the city Authority to prescribe training in nursing for the sisters . In his opinion, the novices were given the necessary knowledge by the guidance of an older sister and he was able to assert himself. For his part, Dillschneider now tried to urge the sisters, who in his opinion were only an association of pious and benevolent women, to reform the cloister. Nursing activities were only to take place in Aachen itself and also in the nearby Burtscheid , in order to prevent individual sisters from being present in the monastery for a long time, as many of the foster recipients lived further away. The sisters should also return to their monastery every 14 days, no longer take bathing trips and return to the monastery immediately after their patient's recovery. However, the development does not seem to have developed entirely according to the ideas of the monastery commissioner, in 1854 Dillschneider still complained about the uncontrolled dealings with the outside world by the sisters and now also about the fact that certain sisters preferred to embroider rather than care for the sick these brought a higher income.

neo-Gothic chapel of the Christian Sisters at the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Geilenkirchen

From June 1852 community retreats were held again in the monastery and on June 6, 1865 the introduction of the perpetual vow could be applied for in the Vicariate General . After reviewing the legal relationships, five sisters were granted permission to take perpetual vows on September 8, 1866. Since the monastery was now able to record an increasing influx of female candidates, the first branch monastery and the attached St. Elisabeth Hospital in Geilenkirchen were founded in October 1872 . This branch was followed in 1888 by the establishment of the nursing home and later St. Josef Hospital in Linnich and in 1916 of the St. Josef Stift in Randerath with an attached nursing home, a nursing ward, a sewing school and a kindergarten.

Motherhouse from 1899 to 1974 in the former Jesuit monastery in Aachen

In the meantime, at the end of the 1890s, the nuns had to sell their mother house on Kapuzinergraben to the city, which needed the area for the expansion of the forecourt and the area surrounding the Aachen City Theater . The Christian Sisters now acquired the former monastery of the Jesuit community in Aachen on Aureliusstraße as a new residence, which was converted and expanded for this purpose by the architect Hermann Josef Hürth and moved into it in the autumn of 1899. The sisters prayed here In 1904 the times of the day from the Holy Cross were exchanged for the Office of the Virgin Mary, in the organ gallery, but the other believers in the nave.

20th century and present

In the following years the life of the community, which by 1920 had grown to 127 sisters in the Archdiocese of Cologne alone , took its usual course. Only in the times of National Socialism did the unrest of the time noticeably penetrate the convents of the congregation and the offspring continued to ebb until finally in 1938 there were no more admissions at all. When three new postulants entered in 1940 , the novitiate was relocated to Renkum in the Netherlands , where they already had a branch, including the St. Joseph Monastery in Zeddam . In the numerous bombing raids of the Second World War , the houses of the community were badly damaged or completely destroyed, as was the parent house in Aachen in 1941, which, however, could be restored in its old style.

After everyday life in the order had regained its feet after the war, the Superior General introduced the German-language breviary in 1950 and followed the invitation of the Alexian brother Christophorus Lynch to the USA in the following year . As early as 1952, the first founding on American soil, but also the first change in the costume of the order . During these years the Congregation of Episcopal Law experienced its most successful period.

As in most religious orders, from the mid-1960s onwards there were no newcomers to the 169 Christian Sisters, which were now spread over 17 branches, and the first branches had to be closed, such as the St-Josef-Stift in Randerath in 1969. Now that the Aachen parent company in Aureliusstrasse had become dilapidated and restoration was no longer an option and the area was needed by an insurance company based in the neighborhood for structural expansion, the parent company was relocated to the Stolberg district of Venwegen on September 16, 1973 where the inauguration of the new monastery church was celebrated on November 30, 1974 . Here they took over the legal ownership of the care facilities "Haus Maria im Venn" in Stolberg-Venwegen and "Heim des Guten Samaritan" in Stolberg-Stadtmitte as " Christenserinnen non-profit company mbH " (Christenserinnen gGmbH). In remembrance of their abandoned motherhouse and the monastery chapel there, which during the war years was mainly used as an emergency church by the neighboring Marienkirche , the order donated the neo-Gothic crucifixion altar from their chapel to the Marienkapelle in Burtscheid in 1977 .

Finally, in 2002 the religious order separated from two other branches and transferred the management of the St. Josef Hospital in Linnich to Caritas Trägergesellschaft West GmbH and the management of the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Geilenkirchen to the St. Elisabeth Hospital Geilenkirchen non-profit GmbH. Only the Christian Women Foundation, which was founded in 2008 as the sole shareholder of Christenserinnen gGmbH, is still based in Geilenkirchen and serves to promote health and social care institutions as well as care for the elderly and young people.

The deceased nuns of the Aachen branch found their final resting place in a burial ground in the Aachen Ostfriedhof .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Definition of Cellitinnen on
  2. ^ Christian Quix : The former Webbegarden monastery. In: Contributions to the history of the city of Aachen and its surroundings . JA Mayer Verlag, Aachen 1838. pp. 83–86 ( digitalized )
  3. St. Elisabeth Hospital Geilenkirchen
  4. St. Josef Hospital Linnich
  5. St. Josef-Stift-Randerath branch ( Memento from February 12, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Christian convent in Aureliusstrasse Aachen
  7. St. Josef Zeddam