Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Formerly a Benedictine, now a Cistercian Abbey ; situated on Lake Constance, west of Bregenz, in the district of Vorarlberg, Austria. The original monastery was founded by St. Columbanus who, driven from Luxeuil, settled about 611 at this spot and built a monastery after the model of Luxeuil. A convent for women soon arose near the monastery for men. Little has been preserved of the early history of either foundation up to 1079. In this year the monastery was reformed by the monk Gottfried, sent by Abbot William of Hirsau, and the Benedictine rule was introduced. It is probable that when the reform was effected the convent for women was suppressed. In 1097-98 the abbey was rebuilt by Count Ulrich of Bregenz, its secular administrator and protector. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the abbey acquired much landed property ; up to the middle of the sixteenth century it had the right of patronage for sixty-five parishes. In the era of the Reformation the abbey was a strong support of the old Faith in Vorarlberg. In particular Ulrich Mötz, afterwards abbot, exerted much influence in Bregenzerwald (a mountainous district of northern Vorarlberg) by preaching with great energy against the spread of religious innovations while he was provost of Lingenau (1515-33). During the Thirty Years War the abbey suffered from the devastation wrought by the Swedes, from the quartering upon it of soldiers, and from forced contributions; it was also robbed of nearly all its revenues. Nevertheless, it often offered a free refuge to religious expelled from Germany and Switzerland. At a later date it was once more in a very flourishing condition ; in 1738 the church was completely rebuilt, and in 1774-81 the monastic buildings were also entirely reconstructed. The existence of Mehrerau was threatened, as was that of other religious foundations, by the attacks upon monasteries in the reign of the Emperor Joseph II. However, Abbot Benedict was able to obtain the withdrawal of the decree of suppression, although it had already been signed. The Peace of Presburg (1805) gave Vorarlberg, and with it the abbey, to Bavaria, which in April, 1806, took an inventory of the abbey. In reply to the last attempt to save the abbey, namely the offer to turn it into a training-school for male teachers, the State declared in August, 1806, that on 1 September the monastic organization would be dissolved and the monks would have to leave the abbey. The valuable library was scattered, part of it was burnt. The forest and agricultural lands belonging to the monastery were taken by the State; in February, 1807, the church was closed, and the other buildings were sold at auction. In 1808-09 the church was taken down and the material used to build the harbour of Landau. When the district came again under the rule of Austria, the monastic buildings were used for various purposes. In 1853 they were bought from the last owner, along with some pieces of land connected with them, by the abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Wettingen in Switzerland. This monastery had been forcibly suppressed by the Canton of Aargau in 1841, and for thirteen years the abbot had been seeking a new home; on 18 October, 1854, the Cistercian Abbey of Wettingen-Mehrerau was formally opened. In the same year a monastery school was started. In 1859 a new Romanesque church was built; its greatest ornament is the monument to Cardinal Hergenröther (died 1890), who is buried there. About the middle of the last century, during the fifties and sixties, the buildings were gradually enlarged. In 1910 besides the abbot (from 1902 Eugene Notz) the abbey had 32 priests ; including those that had been connected with the abbey but were at that date engaged in work outside, 64 priests ; in addition there were 5 clerics, 30 lay brothers , and 4 novices. The monastery has a house of studies, and a college, in which some 200 pupils are taught by the monks of the abbey. The periodical "Cistercienserchronik", edited by Father Gregor Müller, has been issued since 1889.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter