Liesborn, Abbey of

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Benedictine monastery in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, founded in 1131 by monks from Werden. They were invited by Bishop Egbert to replace a community of nuns that, having been founded there c. 815, was suppressed by the bishop because of relaxed discipline. By the 13th century the abbey was rich and powerful, but religious life declined and it became a kind of rest home for the nobility. Discipline was restored when it joined the Bursfeld Union in 1465 under Abbot Heinrich of Cleves (146490). Under Abbot Johann Smalebecker (14901522) it became famous as a center of art and learning, and because of its influence in the reform of other communities it was known as the Bursfeld of the West. The Gothic abbatial church was completed in 1506. In the 16th century decline set in under several unworthy abbots, and the wars of the 17th century caused more disorder. There was a period of improvement after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, but 18th-century wars caused a new decline. It was deeply in debt when it was suppressed in 1803.

Bibliography: l. schmitz-kallenberg, Monasticon Westfaliae (Münster 1909). j. linneborn, "Das Kloster Liesborn zur Zeit seiner Aufhebung," Studien und Mitteilungen 23 (1902) 309339. b. senger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 6:1048.

[c. falk]

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Liesborn, Abbey of

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