S. Hieronymus
Community ID
Alternate Names
St Jerome, Büsserinnen (Penitents)
Date Founded
Religious Order
Foundation Information

In 1384, Duke Albrecht III and his wife Blanca established a women’s house for penitent sinners (Schimmer 394).

The great fire of 1525 set the slow decline of the women’s community in motion. The catastrophe left the convent building uninhabitable; the sisters sought shelter in various local houses and began to dwindle in numbers. In addition to the Hieronymus mistress, Juliana Kleeberger, there were only eight penitents left in 1543 (398). A commission report from 1540 declares that after the death of the last nun, the convent would be turned into a school for young women. By 1589, however, the church and associated buildings were ceded to the Franciscans of St. Theobald auf der Laimgrube (399).

Notable Heads

The last head of the Hieronymus house was Juliana Kleeberger. According to the grave stone in the church sacristy, the mother superior passed away on the feast of S. Sebastian in 1553 (399).


The Büsserinnen found support among the Viennese citizens and councilmen, who donated such goods as houses and gardens (396).

Mayor Conrad der Hölzler was a particularly generous benefactor. In 1455, he enlarged the cloister building, converted the S. Hieronymus chapel into a church with seven altars, and built the sisters their own Pfarrhoefel (396).

Kaspar Strasser, Stadtrichters von Korneuburg, donated food, wine, and 2 German prayerbooks in a 1460 will (MBK-O, Nachtr. p. 27)

Various 15th century regents bestowed certain freedoms upon the penitents, such as rights to firewood and salt mines (Schimmer 396). Ladislaus Posthumus, for instance, gave them rights to three loads of firewood on 28 Jan 1456.

The women of S. Hieronymus were taken under the special protection of several popes, including Boniface IX., Martin V., Nicholas V. and John XXII (397).

Architecture & Archaeology

Like its contemporary convents, S. Hieronymus was subject to the fires that plagued Vienna. A 1525 fire destroyed nearly half of the city’s buildings, including the convent and its church. The Franciscans that inherited the grounds united the former Hieronymus church with their own in an early 17th century renovation project (399).

Miscellaneous Information

The sisters of S. Hieronymus had their own confessors, Mass celebrants, and priests that lived in a neighboring Pfarrhof (397).

Every Thursday, the sisters held an open procession that was well attended by devout locals (397).

While S. Hieronymus escaped harm in a great fire in 1486 that destroyed many neighboring houses, the community was not so lucky in 1525. During July of the latter year, a famed fire that wrought havoc on nearly half of Vienna caused damage to both the church and the cloister (398).

Christine Smith and Cynthia J. Cyrus