Community ID
Alternate Names
Subtilia; sub tilia
Medieval Location
The community was located in Colmar in the Alsace, less than 50 km west of Adelhausen.
Corporate Status
S. John the Baptist
Date Founded
1232 or earlier? (Kramer puts the foundation at 1252)
Date Terminated
1789-1800 (circa)
Religious Order
Rule of S. Augustine
Foundation Information

According to a codex, the community was founded by two noble widows of Colmar who came together with their children to live communally. Gathering a group of women around them, they lived first at Unterlinden, then moved to Uf Mülin in 1232. They returned to Unterlinden in 1252. The community was under the spiritual care of Dominican friars after 1234, and was cononically incorporated in 1245.

Notable Members/Residents/Guests

The author of the Sister-book, Katharina, may be the same Katharina listed as prioress, who died either in 1330 or 1345. The only certain evidence of her existence, besides the Sister-book, is her correspondence with the Dominican preacher, Venturino de Bergamo.

Social Characteristics

It was founded by noble widows.

Literary Works

Unterlinden has a Sister-book, composed circa 1320, by Sister Katharina von Unterlinden.

Architecture & Archaeology

The convent church of Unterlinden had a choir of seven bays, dedicated in 1269 by Albert Magnus. This new church eclipsed a nave that only had six bays. A gallery was later added.

State Of Medieval Structure

The remaining parts of the original builigns, the church and the upstairs choir, and part of the original cloister, are now part of theColmar municipal museum.

Manuscript Sources

The Bibliotheque de la Ville de Colmar contains several manuscripts from this community, including: the Colmar manuscript #508; a Testament. vetus (15th c.), #8(304); an Evv. passionis (15th c.), 17(389); an Evv. Lc et Joh. (15th c.), written by Dorothea von Kippenheim, #18(275); Otto von Passau's Die XXIV Alten (15th c.), #196(261); a work by Seuse (15th c.), #197(266); Saints lives (15th c.), #198(265); Saints' lives (15th c.), #199 (717 I); Mechthild of Hackeborn's Liber specialis gratie (15th c.), #200(334); and five mystical tracts from the 15th c., #s 201(272), 202(284), 203(269),206(273), and 208(271), the last written by Elisabeth Kempf. It also preserves a coppy of Von der Minne Christi, 1454, owned by Barbara Schydin, #210(268), Augustine's Sermons, 1425, written by Dorothea von Kippenheim, #212(717 II), a mystical tract, 1463, written by Thomas Gertzen, #214(332), a Garden of Paradise, written by Agnes Minsingerin and owned by Agnes Wirttnerin, (16th c.), #215(267 bis); a Liber precum (16th c.), owned by Elisabeth von Ursa, #216(270); a Missale (15th c.), #225(260); and three 16th c. Graduals, #s 230(136), 231(312), and 232(317). This library also possesses an Evangeliar. (15th c.), #236(262); and Antiphonal and Gradual (14th c.), #254(303), three psalter-hymnar. (13-14th c.), #s 271(301), 272(404), and 273(405); three psalters (14-15th c.), #s 274(402), 275(276), and 277(401); two Diurnals (14-15th c.), #s 290(386) and 291(399); a Ceremonial in Latin and German (15th c.), #301(411); and 14 Off. defunct. (all 15th c.), #s 311(378), 312(379), 313(384), 314(385), 315(387), 316(390), 317(393), 318(396), 319(397), 320(398), 321(415), 322(417), 323(418), and 32(419). In addition, it preserves 2 Processionals (15th c.), #325(388) and 326(383); a Rsponsoriale (15-16th c.), #326(383); an Horarium (15th c.), #348(277); a manuscript of the lives of the ancients (15th c.), #351(347); the legend of S. Dominic, (15th c.), #354(264); a martyrology (13-14th c.), #362(302); a life of Jesus Christ (15th c.), #363(267); a copy of the lives' of saints (15th c.), written by Elselin de Bisel, #364(343); Catharina de Gebsweiler's Vitae primarum sororum, 1485, #926(508), a liber miraculum BMV (in Latin and German, 15th c.), #927(495); an obituary (15th c.), #929(576); and a Fragment epp. (15th c.), #930(576 I).
The Augustiner-Museum in Freiburg possesses a life of S. Katharina from the convent, # Inv.-Nr. 11735 and the [P] cod. lat. 5642 (copy of the sister-book) is held in the Bibliotheque nationale de paris.
[Guelf.] 164.1 Extravagantes, 2r-141r, is held in the Herzog August Bibliothek of Wolfenbüttel.
The Bibliotheque nationale et universitaire in Straßburg posesses a life of Seuse (16th c.), # 1992(L. germ. 75) and a Misc. ascet., (15th c.), #2445(All. 446).
The Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe also preserves several manuscripts from the convent in their St. peter perg. (collection?), including a Diurnale (c. 1500), #63; a Rituale (14th c.), #70; a life of S. Katharina, #82; two Collectar. (13 and 16th c. respectively), #s 84 and 97; a psalter (13th c.), #111; two Off. mort. (14th c.), #s114-115; a Processionale (14th c.), #119; and a Misc. theol, (15th c.), # St. Peter pap. 20.

Published Primary Sources

[1]"Les vitae sororum d'Unterlinden." Edition critique du manuscrit 508 de la Biblioteque de Colmar." Ed. Jeanne Ancelet-Hustache. Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Litteraire du Moyen Age 5:317-517.

Miscellaneous Information

The community survived until the French Revolution. It was re-founded in Colmar on 1899, but moved to Orbey-Tannach, France, in 1926.

Manuscripts Produced

The Unterlinden Sister-book. Some of the surviving manuscripts indicate female copyists, most notably Dorothea von Kippenheim, Elisabeth Kempf, Agnes Minsingerin, and Margareta Wurzerin. (see manuscript sources)

June Mecham
Date Started
Date Finished