S. Katharinenkloster
Community ID
 
1396
 
Alternate Names
 
S. Catharine's Convent in Nürnberg; S. Katharina
 
Town
 
Nürnberg (Nuremberg)
 
Dedication
 
S. Catharine
 
Date Founded
 
1295
 
Religious Order
 
Dominican
 
Rule
 
Rule of S. Augustine
 
Foundation Information
 

The convent was founded in 1295 as a Dominican community. When Engelthal grew too large, a daughter house was founded in 1267, Frauenaurach. The first prioress was Mechthild Krumpsit, a nun of Engelthal. In 1295, sixteen nuns from Frauenaurach moved to Nuremberg to begin the new foundation of S. Catherine's (S. Katharina) (Hindsley, 190). In December 1428 ten sisters from Schönensteinbach, Alsace, arrived at S. Catherine's to introduce the reformed Dominican life (Ehrenschwendtner, 123).

 
Notable Members/Residents/Guests
 

The most important scriptrix was Kunigunde Niklasin (d. 1457), who copied thirty-one mansuscripts, including the entire Bible (Ehrenschwendtner, 125). As librarian, she also began to catalogue the convent's books. Another important copyist was sister Margareta Karthäuserin, who was among the ten sisters from Schönensteinbach sent to incorporate the convent into the Dominican reform movement. She specialized in copying books for the Divine Office (Ehrenschwendtner, 125). Only one illuminator of the convet is known: Barbara Gewichtmacherin (d. 1491). She illuminated a breviary, a missal, copied and noted by the sisters Margareta Imhoff and Margareta Karthaeuserin, and added two pictures to an antiphonal and gradual in eight volumes (Ehrenschwendtner, 128).

 
Dependency Of
 

Frauenaurach and by extension, Engelthal

 
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

The community had close ties to the convent of S. Katharinental. The prioress of St. Gall thanked the Nürnberg sisters in her Sister-Book for lending the convent books and teaching the reformed Dominican way of life (Ehrenschwendtner, 124). The convent also helped to reform the convents of Altenhohenau, Engelthal, and Frauenaurach (Ehrenschwendtner, 124-5). The community had literary connections with the convents of Engelthal and Inzigkoven (Hindsley, 190).

 
Social Characteristics
 

The sisters were members of the Nürnberg upper classes (Ehrenschwendtner, 123).

 
Literary Works
 

The nuns in the community produced many manuscripts which are still extant. See "Manuscripts Produced or Commissioned"

 
Manuscript Sources
 

Nürnberg, Staatsbibliothek, MSS Cod. Cent. III, 40; III, 41; III, 86, fol. 20r; III, 87; IV, 37; IV, 43f; VII, 88; VII 11b, fol. 29r; VII 100, fol. 2r; VIII, 18, fols. 51v, 78v, 84v. Nürnberg Stadtbibliothek, MSS Cod. Cent. V, App. 34p-w; V. App. 34t, fol. 22r; MS Cod. Cent. V, App. 34q, fol. 3r-4r; MS Cod. Cent. V, App. 34w, fol. 2r.

 
Secondary Sources
 

A Library Collected by and for the Use of Nuns: St. Catherine's Convent, NurembergThe Mystics of Engelthal: Writings from a Medieval MonasteryKirche und Kloster zu St. Katharina in NürnbergConvent Chronicles: Women Writing about Women and Reform in the Late Middle AgesTischlesung und Bildungskultur im Nürnberger Katharinenkloster: Ein Betrag zu ihrer RekonstruktionEin Bildzeugnis der Reformtätigkeit des Nürnberger Katharinenklosters für RegensburgMaterialen zum geistigen Leben des späten fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts im Sankt Katherinenklöster zu Nürnberg mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Prediger Johannes DiemarsDie Bibliothek des Katharinenklosters in Nürnberg und die städtische GesellschaftMeister Eckhart und seine Jünger. Ungedruckte Texte zur Geschichte der deutschen Mystik
KERN, T. von. "Die Reformation des Katharinenklosters zu Nürnberg im Jahre 1428." Jahresbericht des historischen Vereins in Mittelfranken 31 (1863), 1-20.
FRIES, W. "Kirche und Kloster zu St. Katharina in Nürnberg." Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg 25 (1924), 1-143.
METSCHSKOLL, I. "Der Bibliotheksbestand des St. Katharinenklosters vor der Klosterreform von 1428." (MA Thesis, University of Munich, 1987).
FISCHER, K. Die Buchmalerei in den beiden Dominikanerkloestern Nürnbergs. Nuremberg, 1928.
Literatur und Ordensreform im 15. Jahrhundert: deutsche Abendmahlsschriften im Nürnberger Katharinenkloster
The Use of Prints in German Convents of the Fifteenth Century: The Example of Nuremberg

 
Manuscripts Produced
 

The convent is famous for its library, not only due to the amount of books the nuns' possessed but also because the growth of their library can be traced historically. Many of the sources are still extant. Books owned by the convent prior to the reform in 1428 are more difficult to establish, but the lists record 46 books which were 'here before the reform.' (Ehrenschwendtner, 123). None of the earlier books appear to have been written by the nuns themselves. Two fifteenth-century book lists survive, listing the private books of the sisters and the convent's books and their convents. Two further lists record the table readings for 1429-31 and 1455-61 (Ehrenschwendtner, 123). By the end of the fifteenth century the convent possessed between 500-600 books (Ehrenschwendtner, 124). Many of the sisters had their own small private libraries within the convent. Some entered with their books; others compiled them after entrance (Ehrenschwendtner, 124). Sister Katharina Tucherin, the widow of a patrician, was equipped with twenty-four books when she entered the community (Ehrenschwendtner, 124). The convent lent its books to be copied. The convent also had a collection of convent chronicles in the library, describiing the lives of past sisters winth an emphasis on their religious and mystical experiences, and mostly written by fellow-sisters in the first half of the fourteenth century (Ehrenschwendtner, 129). The only extant manuscript from this collection is the convent chronicle of Töss. In the fifteenth century the nuns worked as copyists. The names of thirty-two copyists have survived. The most important scriptrix was Kunigunde Niklasin (d. 1457), who copied thirty-one mansuscripts, including the entire Bible (Ehrenschwendtner, 125). As librarian, she also began to catalogue the convent's books. Another important copyist was sister Margareta Karthaeuserin, who was among the ten sisters from Schönensteinbach sent to incorporate the convent into the Dominican reform movement. She specialized in copying books for the Divine Office (Ehrenschwendtner, 125). Novices and young sisters were specially trained as copyists as well as educated in singing, reading, and praying. However, the documents do not mention that they were taught Latin (Ehrenschwendtner, 126). Scriptrices were exempt from normal manual labour and had rooms of their own (Ehrenschwendtner, 125). Most of the books owned by the convent and nuns and read by them were in German. Some of the books are illuminated, but the illuminations were apparently not produced by the nuns themselves. Some of the books still include scraps of paper indicating the instructions for illumination to the painters (Ehrenschwendtner, 128). Out of all the books owned by the convent, however, only a few are illuminated.

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Contributors Notes
 

The list of books owned by the convent and used for table readings indicates the spiritual life of the nuns at S. Catherine's. Their devotion focused on the Divine Service and reading were designed to contribute to a better understanding of this duty (Ehrenschwendtner, 124). Most texts were read in German. The texts focused on translating and explaining the nuns' devotion to the Divine Service; prayers, sermons, meditations and tracts are prominent. Many texts forcus on the life and humanity of Jesus, as typical for female spirituality (Ehrenschwendtner, 126). Few works of academic theology appear in the convent's book lists.

 
Date Started
 
1295
 
Length
 
3094