Margareta Ebner
Birth Date:
circa 1291
Death Date:
June 30, 1351

Margareta belonged to a patrician family in Donauworth.


Margareta entered the Dominican convent of Maria Medingen bei Dillingen in her youth.

Social Status:

She came from a patrician family from Donauworth.

Religious Roles:

Margareta was a Dominican nun and mystic.



Ecclesiastical Relationships:

Her confessor and spiritual father was the priest, Heinrich von Nördlingen. He first visited the convent of Maria Medingen on October 29, 1332. Thereafter, he was a tireless supporter of Margareta and a promoter of her mystical experiences. Since Heinrich was an adherent of the Avignon papacy (in contrast to Margareta and her convent, who remained true to the Roman papacy), Heinrich had to flee to Basel. However, Margareta and Heinrich exchanged numerous letters, which have survived.

Literary Works:

Margareta, with the help of her fellow sister Elsbeth Schepach, composed her mystical work, her "Offenbarungen," beginning in Advent 1344. Her work is preserved in its oldest surviving copy in the convent of Maria Medingen. Other copies are preserved in Berlin and the British Museum, cod. Add. 11430. The correspondence between Margareta Ebner and Heinrich von Nördlingen was edited and published by Ph. Strauch, Margareta Ebner und Heinrich von Nördlingen: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der deutsche Mystik (Amsterdam, 1966).

Brief Profile:

Margareta Ebner was a Dominican mystic who lived during the first half of the fourteenth century. She suffered from a long illness, which she overcame by 1312. Her life and visions were recorded in her "Offenbarungen" and in the letters she exchanged with Heinrich von Nördlingen, of which there are 57 known. Margareta Ebner's "Offenbarungen" was written in the swabian dialect and directed to Heinrich von Nördlingen. It comprises a type of spiritual autobiography. Her mystical experiences focused on a personal experience of the Passion of Christ and a maternal devotion to the infant Christ. Heinrich von Nördlingen even presented her with a small devotional image of the infant Christ (Christkindel) and a crib for the figure. Margareta Ebner was likely influenced by Mechthild von Magdebur's "Flowing Light of the Godhead," a copy of which was sent to her by Heinrich von Nördlingen in 1345. She also corresponded with Johannes Tauler and Abbot Ulrich III Niblung from Kaisheim. She died on June 20, 1351 and was buried in the chapter hall of Maria Medingen.

Misc Info:

Margareta Ebner has often served as an example of the "excessive female spirituality" of medieval female mystics. More recently, Rosemary Drage Hale has coined the term "mother mysticism" to describe her spirituality.

June Mecham