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Herczheimers monument from 1494 in the cloister, painting Carl Ritter, HS 129, OÖLA
Tomb slabs of the abbesses Stainacherin and Panicherin, Carl Ritter from the Gmunden city archive, manuscript 129, OÖLA
Tomb slabs of the abbess Kirchpergerin, Carl Ritter from the Gmunden city archive, manuscript 129, OÖLA

18. The nunnery during the Protestant Reformation

Geschichte Kloster Traunkirchen
Traunkirchen, Austria
  6122 Visits

Social and religious change

Emperor Maximilian, the last knight, died in 1519. The fief vassalage was in liquidation. Some knights and nobles, impoverished, became robber knights, pirates. The peasants were extremely oppressed and exploited. This led to riots, raids and looting. Political and economic power shifted to the sovereigns. The third class, the bourgeoisie, traders and artisans in the cities, strengthened. The money economy flourished. The old monasteries lost their reputation. They quickly secularized, levied tenths, argued with the world clergy about parishes and income, and served beer and wine. Moral and ethical brutalisation took overhand. Priests lived in forbidden marriages or in free love relationships.
Luther's ideas, supported by the sovereigns for reasons of power politics, also seized the Salzkammergut, which after a short time was almost 100 % attached to the new faith. Priests, nuns and the former Catholic faithfuls lived according to the Lutheran teaching. The number of nuns decreased, and so did the benefices. The fees to the church and sovereign brought financial difficulties to monasteries.

The last abbesses

1517 - 1522 Dorothea II Strasserin sold property in Hildprechting and Thalham to the Thalhamers. The holy water basins at the church come from her.
1522 - 1530 Margaretha IV Stainacherin, her tombstone can be seen on the wall at the entrance to the church in the cloister.
1530 - 1534 Barbara II Kirchpergerin commissioned the foundation picture for the 900-year-celebration in 1632. She had to sell church treasures and estates in order to be able to pay a quarter of the monastic property in cash for armaments expenses to Emperor Ferdinand I because of the Turkish wars in 1530.
1534 - 1543 Helena Dietricherin was only elected by 9 nuns. She feoffed monastery property in Stainach. There were no new entrants. The monastery also no longer took on parish duties.
1543 - 1551 Euphemia von Losenstein, continued with investiture. Disagreements among the nuns led to their further reduction. Nuns became Lutheran, took off their religious robes and got married.
1551 - 1565 Ann IV Rainerin only lived with 4 nuns in the convent.
Due to the generally worrying conditions, visitations took place in all monasteries. In 1561 there were no complaints. However, the priest and his chaplain lived Lutheran, they lived with wifes. The nuns received communion in both forms and taught Lutheran catechism in the girls' school.

The last nun

1566 - 1573 Magdalena II Dietrichingerin wasn’t elected, but appointed by the emperor as female prelate. She and the nun Veronika Stopl were the only ones left in the convent. During the visitation in 1566, the abbess was judged to be simple-minded, childish and incapable of business and government. Another visitation in 1573 led to the deposition of the lutheran abbess. However, probably the relationship with the married court judge may have been doomed to her. She could stay in the abbey and got a pension. But she had to fight for it. The benevolent administrator Leonhard Schussmann, with whom she was said to have an embarrassing relationship, had to leave in 1586. The new administrator Joseph Pramer from the Benedictine monastery in Thierhaupten in Bavaria, with the idea of ​​making a monk monastery, wanted to get rid of Magdalena and to put her in another women's monastery. Since she refused to become a nun and Catholic again, he canceled her pension and put her in prison for three years in a desolate place behind the church. The subsequent administrator Andreas Mor (1588 - 1592) also wanted to dispute her pension and put her back into a nun's dress. It didn't work. She survived Abbot Mor. It can be assumed that she could spend her retirement at the monastery under the reappointed administrator Pramer.
From the 1570s, there were no more nuns in Traunkirchen, only the ex-abbess Magdalena Dietrichinger persisted.

© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH