They are single, widowed, divorced, yet they were brought together by their faith and willingness to help. Today, one abbess and 13 nuns live and work in the Evangelical Lutheran convent at Wienhausen Abbey in Lower Saxony. Prior to the Reformation, the site was also a nunnery.
Women of all ages bond over their faith and work in Wienhausen, regardless of the reasons that bring them there. Their life philosophy is simple, and their devotion deep. Their duties include worship and services as well as tours of the abbey and museum, where they proudly showcase rare exhibits dating back almost 800 years.
They work in the archive, library and garden. They take care of maintaining the abbey's valuable art treasures, including the luxurious collection of 14th and 15th century Gothic tapestries which are put on display every year after Pentecost. The nuns also help the church parish to serve the people. They plan and organise seminars and events. They teach the rare Klosterstich embroidery method in needlework classes. The women in Wienhausen have always done everything for themselves, even prior to the Reformation, when nuns lived here and followed the teachings of the Cistercian Order. They also put up stiff resistance when Duke Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg decreed that the abbey must convert to a Lutheran convent. The duke meant it in earnest, but the women did what they wanted: they were said to have held Catholic services in secret for a number of years.
Opening hours: the abbey can only be visited as part of a tour.
Nearest train station: Hanover
For tours, multilingual audio guides, exhibitions, themed weeks, needlework classes as well as general information and dates, visit: