Abbess Emma
Original Country
Catalonia (Catalunya)
Sorting Title
Abbess Emma

Abbess Emma, first abbess of S. Joan de les Abadesses.

approx. 2' x 4'
Original Location

S. Joan de les Abadesses (Spain)

Historical Context

The community of S. Joan de les Abadesses was founded by Count Wifred "the Hairy," and his wife Guinedilda, first Count and Countess of Barcelona, for their daughter Emma, who became the community's first abbess, and whom this piece represents. Abbess Emma's dowry went to the community as soon as she had attained her majority. This substantial territory was bordered by the valley Santajuaneca, Estamariu, the valley of Ripoll, Mogrony, Conflent, Cabanes and Alt Emporda. Later, Emma's initiatives and influence helped to extend the community's territory as far as Congost, the Valles, and the valley of Cardener. The community was very active in the effort to resettle Old Catalonia. All of the abbesses, with Abbess Emma, dedicated themselves to establishing new churches in their territories, and bringing in new settlers to populate them. The inscription reads: "Emma de Barcelona, primera abadessa de Sant Joan / Governà durant quaranta-quatre anys (898-942), amb virtut i seny preclars, / aquest monestir, que havia fundat el seu pare, el Comte Giufre el Pelos. / Edifica temples, repobla terres, construi Catalunya. / Les seves despulles s—n soterrades / en un indret desconegut d'aquesta esglesia." (Emma of Barcelona, first abbess of Sant Joan. Governed this monastery, which her father Count Guifred the Hairy founded, for forty-four years (898-942) with virtue and excellent judgement. She erected temples, repopulated the land, and built Catalonia. Her remains are interred in an unknown part of this church.)

Descriptive Notes

This low relief plaque is a recent piece, probably twentieth-century, created in memory of Abbess Emma. It is pictured here in a horizontal format, as it appears on an interior wall of the church.

Current Repository

Church of S. Joan de les Abadesses,S. Joan de les Abadesses

Photo Credit
Marie Kelleher
Image of Abbess Emma.