Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lutheran Monastery Virtual Tour - A Return to Germany

Last year, I embarked on what I called a "Lutheran Monastery Virtual Tour", where I wrote about several monasteries and convents in the Lutheran tradition.  Judging by what Google statistics tell me, those posts are the most consistently popular posts on this blog, and each week, people arrive here by typing phrases such as "Lutheran nuns" and "Lutheran monks" in their search engine.  You can click on the "Lutheran Monastery Virtual Tour" tag at the bottom of this post to see all the previous stops on the tour.

During the Tour, I made several stops in Germany, where it appears there are more functioning Lutheran monasteries and convents than any other country.  A few months ago, the "Lutheran Forum" periodical published an essay by David Zersen, entitled "Lutheran Convents in Germany".  Of course, the article piqued my interest, and it offers fascinating insights into the history and current status of Lutheran religious sisters in Germany. (The following image is from the Lutheran Forum website - - you can see more pictures by going to the link):

Lutheran Convents 3

Zersen's article contains the following summary of the state of German Lutheran convents, which summarizes why I think it is important for Lutheran monasteries and convents to continue their unique witness within our tradition:

"Today's Lutheran convents, challenged by changing social structures and new spiritualities, continue to explore the dimensions of the faith in both interaction and silence.  Margot Käßmann, former presiding bishop of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, notes how many people search for faith and meaning in esoteric religions, all the while forgetting that meditation and mysticism are not foreign to Lutheranism.  And Dorothea Wendebourg insists that by claiming their baptism and knowing that salvation is complete through faith in Christ, women will in freedom continue to choose forms of discipleship including communal life.  The Lutheran churches in German want to nurture this choice that has been so meaningful to women for almost five centuries.  Convents still have much to offer. Uda von der Nahmer, abbess at Stift Fischbeck, remarks, 'Tradition involves passing on the fire, not worshiping the ashes.'"

(You can read the rest of Zersen's article here:

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