Klostermedizin

In addition to caring for the poor and caring for the souls, caring for the sick was also part of the work of monasteries regardless of order and gender. This can be determined relatively early on. The Rule of Benedict already includes health care. Albeit primarily for the convention members.

Care for the sick must come first and above all: they should be served as if they were really Christ; He said: “I was sick and you visited me” and “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”

The Rule of St. Benedict – Paragraph The Sick Brothers

Because of this, the monasteries developed into a contact point when it comes to illnesses.

In the idealized monastery plan of St. Gallen, an area is intended for nursing. Since doctors and pharmacists were still together at this time, there was a medical center next to the hospital, which also included the pharmacy.

There may also be evidence that entire city names come from this. Seligenstadt is an example. Here is a Benedictine monastery that was built in connection with Charlemagne, or rather his advisor Einhard. Located on the Main on a trade route between Augsburg, Nuremberg and Frankfurt. Founded around 825, a Benedictine monastery with a complete hospital wing was built there. This town was initially called “obermulinheim” (Obermühlheim). At some point the original form Saligunstadt appeared. Place of salvation, place of blessing. This is where the name Seligenstadt developed today. The monastery complex is from the Baroque era (almost completely preserved). The internal structure of the building has been changed as a result of secularization. However, the building structures can still be recognized by trained eyes today.

However, there was a catch to the whole thing. Surgery was largely forbidden in the monasteries (there were exceptions). Therefore, the monasteries (regardless of gender) were mainly active in administering medicine and nursing the sick.

The most famous representative of monastic medicine is Hildegard von Bingen. Anyone who comes into contact with medicine in the Middle Ages knows the name. But she is not the one who sets the tone in the history of medicine. There are writings from the Lorsch and Salerno monasteries that are authoritative.

Other names such as Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhardt and Albertus Magnus are also present in medicine. In simple terms, they address the fact that illnesses are intended by God to punish people. But the whole thing has to be presented in a differentiated manner. I’m still working on this point though.

However, the gentlemen were also good at labeling women as inferior, which is why I sometimes read on with disgust. At this point I would like to make it clear that the difference between men and women is there. However, both genders are equal.

Conclusion: Extracts of monastic medicine still exist today and are still used today. In phytopharmaceuticals, this is all justified. However, it only relieves symptoms and does not completely cure the disease. The body has to do that itself.