Niesing Monastery

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Niesing Monastery, officially also called Mariental Monastery , was a women's monastery founded in 1444 in Münster . This followed the Augustine rule . The facility existed until secularization in 1810. This monastery should not be confused with the later settlement of a women's order called Marienthal on the site of today's LWL Clinic Münster .

Longitudinal section of the monastery church to the south (by Albert Ludorff )


It was a community of sisters from common life (the female counterpart to the brothers from common life ). The first three sisters came from the Schüttorf monastery . In the area of ​​the former Niesingh court in the parish of St. Ludgeri , the Sisters of Common Life founded the monastery in 1444. It was consecrated to Maria, after whom it was named Marienthal. The original place did not allow any further expansion. An inheritance enabled the sisters to purchase more affordable land. Between 1451 and 1458 the actual monastery buildings and the monastery church were built near St. Servatii .

Material equipment

The material equipment included land and houses inside and outside of Münster. As late as 1809, the monastery had an income of over 4066 Reichstalers, which was offset by fixed expenditure on taxes, duties and the like of just under 600 Reichstalers. The surplus was used to maintain the buildings and the lives of the sisters.


The sisters followed the Rule of Augustine. The final monastery constitution was regulated by the statutes of 1463/67. A brother was there for masses and other spiritual services, but also for spiritual supervision. The Agnetenberg monastery in Dülmen was founded in Niesing . The sister house in Münster grew rapidly. At the end of the 15th century there were 99 sisters in the convent. A short time later, the facility's first heyday ended. The monastery was badly affected by the plague in 1506/07.

Reformation and the Anabaptist Empire

The sisters also made handicraft products. In particular, they wove fabrics. Since this was done without control by the city guilds, the sisters were viewed by the craftsmen of the city of Münster as competition. Rumors spoke of a hundred looms in the monastery. In fact, there were only eleven. In connection with the penetration of Reformation ideas, religious and social motives were combined.

On May 22, 1525, angry citizens threatened to storm the monastery. The crowd demanded that the monastery hand over the rent letters and shut down the industrial facilities. In order to prevent the monastery from being looted, the city authorities followed suit, but also had the ringleaders arrested.

This event represents the actual beginning of the religious controversy that culminated in the Anabaptist Empire in Münster . In February 1534, the Anabaptists requested that the sisters be baptized and give up the monastery. A short time later, the works of art in the Niesing Monastery, as well as other monasteries and churches, fell victim to an iconoclasm and looting. Since the sisters refused to be baptized, they had to leave Münster.

Crisis and recovery

After the end of the Anabaptist Empire, they returned to the city and began rebuilding. This was finished in 1540.

After 1600 clear signs of deterioration began to show before order could be restored. In the period that followed, the monastery experienced a new period of prosperity. Around 1710 the convent again comprised 43 sisters.

In 1635, the building was rebuilt as a three-wing complex in the Baroque style , partially incorporating the old structure . In 1729 a new hospital wing was built. In 1786 another wing and another house were built by the architect Anton Wilhelm Thelen. The new wing served as a girls' school.


As early as 1794, parts of the monastery were confiscated by the military. The end began in 1803 with the ban on accepting novices. In 1811 it was finally abolished. From 1820 the buildings were used as apartments for members of the Prussian military. In 1822 the tower of the former monastery church was demolished. In 1905 the buildings were rededicated. In 1928 a wing was converted into a novice house. The plant was in the air raids on Münster in World War II in 1945 almost completely destroyed by explosive and incendiary bombs. The remaining ruins were removed except for an outbuilding on Servatiikirchplatz.

Monastery archive

Parts of the monastery archive escaped the iconoclasm of 1534. It is now in the possession of the Münster State Archives . In addition to documents, this also includes a memory book, which also contains entries on events in the monastery. While the sisters did not have a significant number of books due to their simple lifestyle, the library of the fathers was lost during the Anabaptist period.

A songbook written in Low German around 1588 is remarkable. The author was the nun Catherina Tirs.

Individual evidence

  1. Albrecht Classen: My soul, start to sing: Religious women's songs from the 15th to 16th centuries. Century: critical studies and text edition . Peeters Publishers, 2002. pp. 154 f. Partial digitization


  • The dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Cologne. The diocese of Münster. Volume I: Wilhelm Kohl : The sister houses according to the Augustinian rule. de Gruyter, Berlin 1968, pp. 160 ff. ( Germania sacra NF 3), partial digitization .
  • Heiko KL Schulze : Monasteries and monasteries in Westphalia. History, building history and description. A documentation . In: Géza Jászai (Ed.): Monastic Westphalia. Monasteries and monasteries 800–1800. Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster 1982, ISBN 3-88789-054-X , p. 391 (exhibition catalog, Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, September 26, 1982 - November 21, 1982).

Coordinates: 51 ° 57 ′ 36.8 "  N , 7 ° 37 ′ 56.5"  E