There’s a message somewhere in this man's worried expression and his deeply furrowed brow. In fact, Placidus the Third, born in 1745, was the last Abbot of Schuttern.
He succeeded his predecessor, Carolus Vogler, in 1786 – and handed the monastery over to its new owner, the Margrave of Baden, in 1806. In between lay the turbulent years following the French Revolution.
"O God, grant us a return of our cherished peace, better times and, above all, greater spirit and ambition in service to our sacred faith! The end of this year promises nothing good if events continue as they are. As matters rest, our fear is for the overthrow of all monarchies, and that we shall all have to flee, lose all our possessions and perhaps even our lives. "
The abbot’s comments as 1794 drew to a close.
And he was proved right: Schuttern was repeatedly harassed, besieged and occupied by French troops. Placidus travelled to Vienna, hoping to negotiate for assistance from the Habsburg rulers. But he failed to find the desired support.
In 1803, what’s known as the Main Resolution of the Imperial Delegation provided for secularisation and mediatisation. Schuttern's days were numbered. The Margrave of Baden was awarded the Benedictine monastery as compensation for territories ceded to Napoleon on the west bank of the Rhine, and he launched the process of secularisation.
On the 31st of August 1806, the thousand-year history of the Schuttern monks came to an end. Placidus Bacheberle was 62 years old and retired to the city of Freiburg with a pension of 5,000 guilders. Many of the 28 remaining monks were transferred to parishes. The monastery's valuables were sold and its buildings left to rot.
All depictions: © Historischer Verein Schuttern 603 e.V. / Gemeinde Friesenheim