Community ID
Alternate Names
Vallis sanctorum (1248)
Medieval Location
Modern Location
Schwanfeld; in the governmental district of Unterfranken; in the administrative district of Schweinfurt.
Corporate Status
Blessed Virgin Mary
Date Founded
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Foundation Information

This Cistercian convent was founded by Jutta of Fuchsstadt, a sister of the knight Helebold (Hellenbold) of Fuchsstadt. According to Link, the property was originally held by Count Poppo of Henneberg, who gave it as a fief to the kinght Hellenbold. In 1233 the count released Hellenbold from his feudal ties and granted him the property as his own to found a house of 'grey sisters' (Link, 598). Jutta of Rustatt, sister of the knight, originally lived in Eßleben with a free community of pious women, who wished to organize themselves according to a definite rule. Bishop Hermann of Würzburg gave them permission to found a new convent according to the Cistercian institutions in Bonenbach in January 1234 (Krausen, 48). She supposedly bestowed the name of Heiligenthal upon the convent and served as its first abbess. The bishop secured for himself the obedience of the convent's abbesses and the right to their benediction as well as spiritual and temporal jursidiction over the community. The convent was granted freedom from advocacy. No document records the formal incorporation of the community into the Cistercian order.

First Members

Jutta became the convent's first abbess. She was revered as a saint by the common folk in the area; the sick travelled to her grave to drink from a chalice formed out of her arm and gold and were cured (Link, 598).

Notable Heads

Jutta, the first abbess; Barbara Lamprecht, the last abbess. She died in 1564 and reputedly spent 63 years within the convent (Link, 598).

Priveleges & Papal Exemptions

Pope Alexander IV granted the nuns apostolic protection in 1255 as well as granted them various freedoms from tithes and declared that episcopal judgements must be free of charge and that the community could not come under any different jurisdiction (Krausen, 48).

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

Heiligenthal was placed under the spiritual supervision of the abbots of Bildhausen, which also provided chaplains, provosts and laybrothers for the community. The first abbess, Jutta, appears in 1236 as the first witness in the foundation document of Seligenthal and was probably as involved in the foundation of this community as she was in the convent at Sturs, later Marburghausen.


In 1527 the deacon of Neumünster visited the convent. In 1529 the spiritual director from Bildhausen made a visit.


The counts of Henneberg and the lords of Saueracker acted as patrons of the community.


The convent acquired property through gifts from the counts of Henneberg and the lords of Saueracker as well as through purchases and exchanges. The convent faced encroachments from the city of Würzburg in 1297 after the taxes demanded from the convent by the city were rejected with reference to papal privileges.


At the time of dissolution the convent's income was 390 Ducats yearly.

Architecture & Archaeology

According to Krausen, the former convent church, consisting of a long nave and two stories in an early Gothic style, bears "the typical features of a Cistercian women's church" (Krausen, 49). According to Link, circa 1873, a significant portion of the cloister remained (Link, 599).

State Of Medieval Structure

According to Link, circa 1873, a significant portion of the cloister remained (Link, 599).


The convent supposedly held a chalice made of Abbess Jutta's arm and gold which cured the sick when the drank from it (Link, 598). After the convent's dissolution, the relic came into the possession of Julius' hospital.

Manuscript Sources

The archives for the community are located in the Hauptstaatsarchiv in München as well as in the Stadtarchiv of Würzburg.

Secondary Sources

HUEMER, B. Verzeichnis der deutschen Cisterzienserinnenkloester (St. MBO 37, 1916).
Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg.
Die Klöster des Zisterzienserordens in Bayern

Miscellaneous Information

In 1429/30 the abbots of Ebrach and Bronnbach received orders from the general chapter to reform Heiligenthal and command its income (Krausen, 49). Between 1463 and 1500 a provost and prior are named for Heiligenthal, but no abbess or convent. It is possible that the general chapter intended to transform the convent into a male community. In September 1501 Bishop Lorenz of Bibra summoned the abbess from Marburghausen to Heiligenthal and spoke of 40 years of abuses in the convent (Krausen, 49). Several nuns accompanied the abbess. Bishop Julius Echter transformed the possessions of the convent into the basis for his foundation of the "Julius-hospital" with papal approval.

Admin. Notes

more research necessary Hist. Staetten, 261. Link to Marburghausen??

June Mecham
Date Started
Date Finished