The Beuronese Congregation, or Beuron Congregation, is a union of mostly German or German-speaking religious houses of both monks and nuns within the Benedictine Confederation. The congregation stands under the protection of Saint Martin of Tours.
|Formation||c. AD 1863|
|Founder||Frs. Placidus and Maurus Wolter|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
The origin of the Beuron Congregation is Beuron Archabbey, founded in 1863, the first declarations of which in 1866 already had in view an expansion to a congregation. After a further foundation, that of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium, the first constitutions of the Beuronese Congregation were ratified in Rome in 1873. Further foundations outside Germany followed during the period of "cultural struggle" ("Kulturkampf"), when the community was driven out of Beuron. After their return it was possible to found more monasteries inside Germany: Maria Laach Abbey (1893); Gerleve Abbey (1904); Neresheim Abbey (1920); Weingarten Abbey (1922); Neuburg Abbey (1926); and others. The last foundations were Tholey Abbey, resettled in 1949, and Nütschau Priory, a new foundation established by Gerleve Abbey in 1951.
The congregation also continued to be active outside Germany, in among other places Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Brazil and Japan; in 1906 the abbey of the Dormition (or Assumption) (now Hagia Maria Sion Abbey) in Jerusalem was founded. The foundations outside Germany and Austria later separated from the Beuronese Congregation, often for political reasons.
The congregation's first nunnery was St. Gabriel's Abbey, Bertholdstein, established in Prague in 1889, which relocated in 1920 to Bertholdstein in Styria. This was followed in 1893 by Maredret Abbey in Belgium, then in 1904 by St. Hildegard's Abbey, Eibingen and in 1924 St. Erentraud's Abbey, Kellenried. More recent foundations are Engelthal Abbey (1965) and Marienrode Priory (1988). Other nunneries were taken into the congregation as already existing communities.
To begin with the congregation was under the management of the Abbot of Beuron, who acted as its Archabbot. The General Chapter, which took place at lengthy intervals and was attended by the congregation's officiating abbots, served the purpose of promoting general agreement among the communities and the regulation of outstanding questions. It was a strongly centralised system: all houses of the congregation were obliged to follow the customs, daily routine, service times and forms prescribed by Beuron.
In 1936 the Archabbot system was replaced by that of the Presiding Abbot; the General Chapter, which as a rule assembles every six years, elects one of the officiating abbots of the congregation as Presiding Abbot until the time of the next chapter meeting. This makes the congregation more federalistic, and individual monasteries and nunneries are better able to develop an individual profile.
In 1984, in accordance with the Codex Iuris Canonici or CIC of 1983, the revised statutes of the congregation and the declarations for monasteries and nunneries were approved. The statutes identify as tasks of the congregation the furtherance of the observation of the rule in the member houses, mutual help and joint solutions to tasks and problems, as well as exchanges between monasteries and nunneries. The General Chapter, consisting of the heads of each religious house, as well as elected representatives, is to meet very six years. Since 2003 the representatives of women's communities have had full voting rights.
The Beuronese Congregation has consisted since 2004 of ten monasteries and ten nunneries.
- St. Martin's Archabbey, Beuron
- Abbey of Our Dear Lady, Seckau, Styria
- Maria Laach Abbey
- St. Martin's Abbey, Weingarten
- St. Joseph's Abbey, Gerleve
- Abbey of Saints Ulrich and Afra, Neresheim
- Abbey of the "House of Grace of Maria at Grüssau", Wimpfen
- St. Bartholomew's Abbey, Neuburg
- St. Maurice's Abbey, Tholey
- St. Ansgar's Priory, Nütschau
- (in German) Website of the Beuron Congregation