Saturday, March 27, 2010

Called to the Ecclesiastical Life

Nicolas de Büren son of Jean de Büren and Elisabeth Gräfli Hofmeister was in 1391 a member of the grand council of Bern, had a nice home in Bern and was financially well off. He had made various donations to the local Dominican order and seemed to be a pious man. For reasons that are unclear, Nicolas felt called to take his religious devotion to the next level and became part of the church. At the end of 14th century, Nicolas would become a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of St. Jean (founded in 1103 and secularized in 1528) in Erlach (Cerlier) a small town on the lake of Biel. He would later be elevated to the level of Priest at St. Jean as indicated in documents from 1405, 1407 and 1428.

St. Jean and Erlach on the lake of Biel

His two daughters Anna and Agnès were also called to a religious life and would themselves enter the convent of Gnadenthal (Val-de-Grace) in Aarau (founded in 1270 and secularized in 1802). Agnès would become its abbess and in recognition for her saintly life would be beatified in 1405.

A good friend who pens the blog Three Hundred Words raised an interesting question, "Which Pope beatified her?" During the Western Schism in the Catholic Church (1378-1417), there was a Pope in Rome and an Antipope in Avignon. Agnès could have therefore been beatified by either Pope Innocent VII of Rome, or Antipope Benedict XIII of Avignon. If she were beatified by the Antipope her blessedness is probably not recognized by the church.

Church of Gnadenthal

Abbey of Gnadenthal

Interior of the church of Gnadenthal

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