Ursulinenkirche, Vienna:
Super-central, but as good as unknown

The Ursulinen are a Catholic nuns order commonly associated with schools and education for girls. In Austria, there are several convents run by Ursulinen nuns, most of them equipped with boarding schools. The Ursulinenkirche in Vienna is one of many, many churches in the first district (Innere Stadt). It can be found in a more quiet corner of the first district, but there is no real reason to: Today, the Ursulinen convent of Vienna has left for the 23rd district and the church is almost always closed. A few words on its history.

The Ursulinen nuns were called to Vienna in 1660. The driving force behind their opening of a convent was Empress Eleonora-Magdalena of Mantua-Nevers-Gonzaga; the Empress was generally impressed with faith and founded several convents. The Ursulinen moved in at the corner between Johannesgasse - direct neighbours to the Annakirche and the Malteserkirche - and Seilerstätte. The nunnery was built between 1665 and 1675.

This Ursulinenkloster served as a sort of seed, from which several branches were opened in an almost Starbucks-like manner: Klagenfurt, Bratislava, Linz, Graz and Györ all originated from the Vienna convent of the Ursulinen nuns. Between 1812 and 1820, Clemens Maria Hofbauer was the "Spiritual" (an office at a nunnery) of the Ursulinen; he is now a saint.

New Foundations of the Ursulinen in Vienna

In 1859, another branch was opened, this time in the district of Währing. Both convents became members of the Roman Union of the Ursulinen nuns in 1921. In 1960, the two convents were merged and the arising new one moved to the 23rd district of Vienna (as mentioned above), to Mauer, to be precise. This is where they still are. The Ursulinenkirche is easy to miss: It looks almost like a normal building and has only a small bell tower.

It contains a bell from 1675 that is dedicated to St. Aloysius. It had been lost for many years, but re-appeared at some point and was installed at the original place again. The most recent change in the church was in 1966, when it got a new organ that was much bigger than the previous one.

Attractions nearby include - apart from the ones mentioned in the immediate neighbourhood - the Haus der Musik, the Franziskanerkirche, the Ronacher, the Alte Aula and Jesuitenkirche, the Dominikanerkirche and the Ringstraße with the Stadtpark. Schwarzenbergplatz with the Hochstrahlbrunnen, Palais Schwarzenberg and the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee are not far, either. One of Vienna′s most legendary brothels is just around the corner of the Ursulinenkirche, too.

back to "vienna travel guide"

Vienna by District

District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten) - 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) -  Ringstraße - Surroundings

Further Reading

Planet Vienna on the Ursulinienkirche

Wikipedia on the Ursulines