S. Lorenz
Community ID
Alternate Names
S. Laurenz auf dem alten Fleischmarkt (Schimmer 412)
Date Founded
1327 (Schimmer 412)
Date Terminated
1783 (Schimmer 415)
Religious Order
Dominicans, then Augustinian canonesses
Foundation Information

S. Lorenz was founded by the brothers Dukes Friedrich and Otto in 1327 as a convent for Dominican women (Czeike, 694); this order, however, did not enjoy much success at this location. During the same time, a group of Augustinian canonesses were looking for a new home, as their previous residence was in a dilapidated state. As a solution to both problems, the canonesses took over the S. Lorenz house in 1348 (412-413).

Population Counts

In 1783, at the time of the cloister’s closing, there were 32 choir nuns and 15 lay sisters, many of whom had come from other closed monasteries.

Incorporated Communities

In 1529, S. Lorenz absorbed the sisters of S. Magdalene vor Schottentor under the official approval of Archduke Ferdinand I. Founded in 1239 by Duke Friedrich II., the convent of S. Magdalene was threatened in the 16th century by the approach of Turkish hostile forces. In addition to their population, these fellow Augustinian canonesses brought their goods and income (Schimmer 413).


Frederick the Fair (Friederich der Schöne) and his brother Otto founded the convent in 1327 (Schimmer 412).

Duke Albrecht II. officially granted the Augustinian canonesses their new home in 1380 (413).

Known as “the benefactor,” Albrecht’s son Rudolph IV. increased the sisters’ privileges and protections (413).

Social Characteristics

Many of the S. Lorenz nuns hailed from noble or well-known families (414).


Among the goods in the convent’s possession were a mill and several vineyards (414).


In regard to the incorporation of the S. Magdalene sisters in the 16th century, an ordinance was enacted to ensure a smooth transition for both affected parties. The newcomers were to obey the current leader of the S. Lorenz convent; upon her passing, both old and new sisters were to vote for a successor (413).

Art & Artifacts

About twenty years before the women’s house was disbanded, the church altars were renovated. The artwork on the high altar depicted the patron S. Lorenz himself. Secondary altars were dedicated to S. Mary Magdalene, the Assumption of the Virgin Mother, S. Augustine, the three wise men, S. John the Evangelist, and the fourteen apostles (414-415).

A S. Lorenz chapel allegedly housed the body of Restituta, a virgin martyr saint. Her relics were transferred to the church from August 29 to September 9 for an annual period of veneration (415).

The sisters prized their Marienbild, or picture of the Virgin Mary. Carved into a piece of wood, the depiction also featured the Christ Child. An annual respect was paid to the portrait from July 2 to July 10, during which time the picture was ornately adorned and processed from the choir altar to the high altar, where it was placed under a rich canopy for veneration (415).

Architecture & Archaeology

In 1630, an expansion of the convent building began. A project that had been needed since the 16th century population increase by the Magdalene women, its completion was overseen by Oberin Augustine in 1660.

Although the convent was disbanded in 1783, the church and convent buildings were not razed until later. In 1816, the so-called “Laurenz building” (Laurenzergebäude) was constructed in their place (415).

Miscellaneous Information

In addition to their monastic devotions, the sisters occupied themselves with the creation of ornate crafts and the instruction of young noblewomen in manners and “womanly work” (414).

Christine Smith and Cynthia J. Cyrus