Schönau
Community ID
 
2404
 
Alternate Names
 
Sconowe (1189)
 
Town
 
Gemünden
 
Diocese
 
Würzburg
 
Medieval Location
 
Mope (Mopen)
 
Corporate Status
 
Abbey
 
Dedication
 
S. Mary and S. Nicholaus; S. Kilian
 
Date Founded
 
1189 (circa)
 
Date Terminated
 
1564 (circa)
 
Religious Order
 
Cistercian
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

In 1189 Friedrich of Thüngen acquired the village of Mope (Moppe) from count Gerhard II of Rieneck and transferred it to Bishop Gottfried I for the purpose of founding a female Cistercian cloister. Friedrich placed his foundation under the protection of S. Kilian and ensured that the property of the foundation was free from any secular advocate. The new foundation was confirmed in 1189 by Bishop Gottfried of Würzburg. Pope Clement III confirmed the foundation in the following year and also confirmed the convent's freedom from tithes (Krausen, 87). In 1192 the convent received the imperial protection of King Heinrich VI. The community was a double house.

 
Notable Heads
 

Known abbesses are: Christina, 1304; Gisela (daughter of Heinrich Leyse of Rieneck), 1323; Adelheid of Rieneck, 1361; Katharina, 1401 and Anna, prioress; Kunigunde of Wiesenthauw, 1485; Caecilie, 1503. Veronica Geyer was the last abbess of the community.

 
Dependent Communities
 

In 1452 Bishop Albert II united the neighboring parishes of Vogelmünster and Wolfsmünster with the convent (Link, 584).

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

Friedrich of Thüngen and his descendents, who were later buried in the nave of the convent church. The counts of Rieneck also served as patrons of the community; many women from this family became nuns at Schönau (7 appear as abbesses). In 1401 the count of Rieneck granted the community all his farms in Heßdorf under the condition that a yearly mass and prayers be said for himself, his wife, Anna of Thüngen, and Margareta Tuchsin, Margaretha of Grumbach and Dorothea of Hutten as well as all of his children (Link, 584).

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

The counts of Rieneck acted as the advocates for Fulda and presumably performed the same role for Schönau.

 
Social Characteristics
 

The inhabitants came from the nobility.

 
Relative Wealth
 

The founder and his family gave the convent a more solid economic basis through numerous grants of rights. The abbesses of Schönau had jurisdictional rights within Schönau, Reichenbach and Seifriedsburg as well as held rights of patronage in Wiesenfel (until 1304) and Wolfmünster (until 1348). During the sixteenth century the convent suffered economic difficulties. In 1509 the abbot of Ebrach established an administrator over the convent's properties and in 1514 he tried to reestablish claustration. In 1525 the nuns fled from the Peasant Uprising into Würzburg (Krausen, 88).

 
Other Economic Activities
 

The purchase sum for S. Kilian's church was 140 Marks, according to Link (Link, 584).

 
Art & Artifacts
 

A small commemorative devotional picture (Andachtsbild) survives from the fifteenth century from this community.

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

The convent was built in an early Gothic style and had many similarities to Maidbronn.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

The convent's archives are located in the Hauptstaatsarchiv in München (Munich) and in the Staatsarchiv in Würzburg.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

The convent went into decline in the thirteenth century. Countess Adelheid of Rieneck asked the General Chapter of Citeaux to help save the convent. In 1248/50 the deserted convent provided support for nuns from Himmelstadt until they were settled by Bishop Hermann of Lobdeburg in the Schottenau near Würzburg (Krausen, 88). The convent continued to be supported through gifts until the sixteenth century. Again in the sixteenth century the convent experienced economic difficulties and was plundered during the Peasant Uprising in 1525. The abbess Cecilia of Königsfeld tried to renew the convent, requesting nuns from Meiningen. When they were unable to obtain nuns from there, four choir and two lay-sisters were sent from Kroppenstedt in September 1538. however, the convent protested to the bishop and the father abbot that they were Benedictines (and not from their order) (Krausen, 88). The bishop declared against the "foreigners" and with the failure of her reform effort Abbess Cecilia resigned. In 1564 the convent (having become deserted) was conveyed into the hands of the bishop and dissolved. In 1699 the bishop transfered the community to the minorites of Würzburg.

 
Conversi/ae and servants
 

Conversi were provided by the abbot of Ebrach, who also provided the father-confessor and served as spiritual superior for the convent.

 
Admin. Notes
 

need to verify double house

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Contributors Notes
 

One of the convent's patron saints may have been Kilian - an Irish missionary active in the diocese of Würzburg in the seventh century. He became the patron saint of the diocese, and his feast is celebrated on July 8.

 
Date Started
 
1189
 
Date Finished
 
1564
 
Length
 
3531