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Trebnitz, Abbey of


Cistercian abbey of nuns, near Breslau in Silesia, founded 1202 by Duke Henry I (the Bearded d. 1238) and his wife, St. hedwig (d. 1243). The first nuns, selected by Bp. Ekbert of Bamberg, brother of Hedwig, were ruled by Petrussa, the first abbess. She was succeeded by (Bl.) Gertrude, one of Hedwig's seven children. Trebnitz was placed under papal protection by Innocent III on Dec. 22, 1202, and in a few years it accepted the Cistercian rule and guidance of the nearby abbey of leubus. It was richly endowed by Henry, and became the home of Hedwig after the duke's death in 1238. Up to the 15th century the abbesses were princesses of the Polish Piast House, but the character of the abbey was mostly German. From the 16th to the 18th century the Polish influence was dominant. Except for periods of famine and fire, the abbey flourished until the 30 Years' War (161848), when the nuns fled to Poland. They fled again when the Turks began the invasion of Silesia in 1663. The last abbess was Dominica von Giller, who died Aug. 17, 1810. Three months later, Trebnitz was suppressed, and after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the estates came to Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberect von Blücher (17421819). For a while the buildings were used as a cloth factory, and in 1870 parts were transformed into a hospital by the Silesian Knights of Malta and entrusted to the care of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo. In 1889 they established their motherhouse there. The tombs of the founders are in the abbey church, which since the 18th century has been a distinctive Baroque edifice and is now the parish church.

Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:3203. k. schmidt, Geschichte des Klosterstiftes Trebnitz (Oppeln 1853). f. x. seppelt, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger, 10 v. (Freiburg 193038) 10:266267.

[e. d. mcshane]

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