Wilhering, Abbey of
WILHERING, ABBEY OF
Cistercian house (Latin Hilaria, Gothic Wilja hari, Village of the Lord Wille) near Linz, Upper Austria. It was founded in 1146 by the brothers Ulric and Cholo of the Wilhering family with monks from Reun in Styria (founded 1129), but Reun later yielded its rights to its own motherhouse, ebrach in Franconia. Wilhering founded three daughterhouses: Hohenfurt (1259), Engelszell (1293–1786, 1925–), and Säusenstein (1334–1789); but it suffered greatly in the Turkish wars and almost collapsed in the Reformation. Able abbots revived the abbey, which survived a burning to the ground in 1733, Joseph II's decree of suppression and josephinism's harm to monastic life, and the ravages of the Napoleonic wars. Abbot Theobald Grasböck (1892–1915) began another revival that was impeded by World Wars I and II and suppression under National Socialism. Material and spiritual reconstruction has taken place since 1945. Traces of the 12th-century church and cloister remain, and medieval inscriptions and frescoes were discovered in 1939. The abbey has a splendid 18th-century baroque church, elaborate guest rooms in the prelates' wing, a painting gallery with the best of Austrian baroque, a beautiful garden, a library with valuable MSS and incunabula, and good archives. It cares for a liberal arts school, nine parishes, and a mission station in Bolivia.
Bibliography: l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:3454–55. Catalogus generalis S. O. Cist. (Rome 1954). j. oswald, ed., Alte Klöster in Passau und Umgebung (2d ed. Passau 1954). h. hahn, Die frühe Kirchenbaukunst der Zisterzienser (Berlin 1957). s. birngruber, in Österreichische Ordensstifte (Notring-Jahrbuch; Vienna 1961) 90ff. "Wilhering," Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65); suppl., Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: Dokumente und kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al., pt. 1 (1966) v.10.