Losy franciszkanów w Prusach Zachodnich w okresie kasaty ich klasztorów
Fate of Franciscans from West Prussia during the dissolution of their monasteries
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After 1772 the Prussian state set about the planned and definite dissolution of the Catholic monasteries in West Prussia. Particularly in this area, formerly belonging to the Commonwealth (Royal Prussia), the monasteries were perceived by the authorities in Berlin as the mainstay of Polish culture and tradition. Up to the middle of the 19th century out of 35 male and female functioning monasteries only a few remained. Out of 16 Franciscan posts survived only two. Their history as well as stages and methods of secularization, especially in the context of the law being formed at that time, are well recognized in historiography. However, there are no studies devoted to the fate of the Franciscans from the dissolved monasteries, their difficult religious, financial and social situation. The author fills this gap by analysing the psychological context accompanying the dissolutions as well as a feeling of loneliness, hopelessness and bitterness which dominated among friars. As a basis of the research he uses (and quotes extensively) rare, personal and emotional letters written by friars. A great amount of information about the life of friars in the dissolved monasteries was provided by the abundance of correspondence with Prussian authorities and offices of different levels as well as with the church authorities. The awareness of being left, even by the local bishops, the sight of monasteries falling into decay, illnesses and poverty, permanent invigilation by Prussian authorities – this was the reality accompanying the friars in the dissolved monastic houses in West Prussia.
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