Unterlinden, Convent of

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Former monastery of Dominican nuns, Colmar, France, formerly Diocese of Basel, today Diocese of Strasbourg. It was founded by Agnes of Mittelnheim and Agnes of Herkenheim at the suggestion of Walter, the Dominican prior of Strasbourg, and was moved in 1232 (perhaps the very year of its foundation) to Ufmühlen outside the city, but was finally returned to its original location in 1252. At first it probably followed the example of St. Mark's convent in Strasbourg and observed the constitutions of San Sisto in Rome. In 1245 Innocent IV incorporated Unterlinden into the Dominican Order (see dominican sisters). The spiritual direction was successively in the hands of the Dominicans of Basel (123468), Freiburg (126878), and finally Colmar. albert the great consecrated the convent church in 1269. Until the mid-14th century Unterlinden was an important center of mysticism; it maintained close contact with Meister eckhart, who stayed in Colmar in 1322, tauler, henry suso, venturino of bergamo (d.1346), and later, Otto of Passau. Catherine of Geberschweier (d. 1330), who had entered the convent c. 1260, described the virtues, visions, and ecstasies of 44 nuns of the convent's first two generations in her Vitae sororum. This chronicle of the mystical life in Unterlinden, in elegant Latin, became the model for man similar compositions written in the vernacular in southern Germany. Among the important figures in her Lives were the prioress Hedwig of Gundolsheim (d. 1281) and Adelaide of Rheinfelden, prioress c. 1285. In 1419, Unterlinden was reformed by Schönensteinbach (Alsace); in 1792 it was dissolved. The abbey church and Gothic cloister became the municipal library and museum in 1849.

Bibliography: j. ancelet-hustache, "Les Vitae Sororum d'Unterlinden, edition critique," Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen-âge 5 (1930) 317509. h. grundmann, Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter (Berlin 1935) 232252. e. krebs, w. stammler and k. langosch, eds., Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, 5 v. (Berlin-Leipzig 193355) 2:773776. l. pfleger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger, 10 v. (Freiburg 193038) 10:423424. m. barth, Handbuch der elsässischen Kirchen im Mittelalter, 3 v. (Archives de l'Église d'Alsace NS 1113; Strasbourg 196063).

[a. a. schacher]