The former Cistercian monastery is located in a bend of the Limmat near Wettingen. The idyll of the founding period is now impaired by the Zurich-Bern motorway.
Henry II of Rapperswil is named as the founder. The Rapperswil family probably descends from the Guelphs. On the female side they are said to go back to the Lords of Uster. The genealogy of the people of Rapperswil and the related families of the Habsburg-Laufenburg and Homberg dynasties has not yet been clarified beyond doubt. Baron Heinrich II (Knight Heinrich) of Rapperswil bought estates in Wettingen after 1220 as well as the patronage rights over the village church.
The Maris Stella (Meerstern) monastery was founded in 1227 and the first Cistercian monks came from the Salem monastery.
Legend has it that Heinrich was miraculously rescued from distress at sea on his return from a crusade. In gratitude he donated his possessions in Wettingen to the Salem Monastery and in this way became the founder of Wettingen Monastery.
The painting next to the entrance depicts the miraculous rescue. Heinrich von Rapperswil in great distress at sea asks Our Lady Mary for help. The sea star appears in the sky, which must be followed. Mary points to it. And Berhard von Clairvaux is also looking forward to a new Cistercian monastery in heaven.
After an eventful history caused by the great fire and the turmoil of the Reformation, the monastery was dissolved together with the mother monastery of Salem. Today the monastery houses the cantonal school. On its Homepage you can read about its history (German only). The Cistercian monks bought the Benedictine monastery Mehrerau near Bregenz, which had also been abandoned, and moved there.
They took their motto with them and so far it has come true
Non mergor – I'm not going down
Entrance to the church Maria Meerstern. The Cistercian church has no steeple, only a ridge turret in the crossing. The eight bells are in the roof truss.
"Cloister with the richest glass disc cycle in Switzerland" stands on a plaque at the entrance to the cloister.
Examples of glass panels, on the left St. Jodok
The Apostle James (St. Jacques)
In a niche in the cloister there is a wooden painting from the 15th century, the Wettinger Jesus child. It survived the great fire with interesting burn holes.
View into the nave of the church
click on the picture to enlarge!
The lay church with a pulpit on the left side and an intimated one on the right and ...
... with an interesting high grave. The figure with the flag indicates that the founder Henry II of Rapperswil lies here. The inscription says something else!
Albert, Romanorum Rex Dux Austriae, Anno 1308 s Calend Maij per Joannem ex Fratre repotem 12 Annos natum Ducem Austriae malo quorundam Nobilum instinctu, Ultra traiectum Windisch cuhr nunc Monasterium Königsfelden interfectus, et in hoc sepulchro sepultus. Post annum vero (et tres menses) Spiram ad Patrem suum Rudolphum translatus est. Sub Heinrico VII. Imperatore.
Albrecht, King of the Roman-German Empire, Duke of Austria, was murdered in bad faith on the 1st day of May 1308 by his nephew Johannes, born as Duke of Austria and son of his brother, after the (river) crossing near Windisch - which is why the monastery Königsfelden now stands there - and buried in this grave. After one year (and three months) he was transferred to his father Rudolph in Speyer. Under Emperor Heinrich VI.
In the 17th century the church was to be upgraded as a pilgrimage church and relics were bought in Rome. The painting depicts the solemn entry of the relics of two catacomb saints.
In the inner courtyard of the cloister there is a contemplative peace.
Photos: G. and V. Eichinger May 2010