St. Josefs-church of the Congregatio Jesu (Engl. sisters)

 

The history of the institute house of the English sisters in Altötting is also a good piece of the history of Altötting. Today, the English sisters are the oldest residents of the monastery in Altötting.
When the first five sisters came to Altötting on May 3rd, 1721, there were only Jesuits and Franciscans here that were called for pastoral care for pilgrims. The English sisters watched the Jesuits leave in 1774 and the Franciscans in 1802. They experienced the arrival and the leave of the Order of Malta and in the 19th Century the Redemptorists, they saw the first Capuchins come in 1802, and the arrival of the Mallersdorf sisters in Altötting. The English sisters, called the sisters of the congregation of Jesus since January 30th, 2004, were already a venerable institution in Altötting at the time.

Many generations underwent upbringing and education in this school throughout centuries, in kindergarten, elementary school, in the teacher training college, the secondary modern school and high school. The necessity of an adequate church was evident. The sisters were not able to create a central building, even if its outer shape were to announce the rococo era, as many buildings of the time did. They had to remain with the simple, square, small empty gap between buildings that was available. The building could only expand in height.

On august 4th, 1734 the foundation stone of the church was lain due to the prelate Gelasius of Gars. The building was completed in 1737. The sisters had appointed the governmental director of construction Augustin Wiedemann. By his side as Pollier was the bricklayer Leberer, a sonorous name in the building history of Altötting. Unfortunately it is not known who painted the frescos and the excellent altar paintings of this church. Assumptions lean towards Anton Waräthe, an artist from Maria Trens close to Sterzing in Southern Tyrol. It is proven that especially in the thirties of the 18th Century, he painted many artworks for the Jesuits and also for the English sisters in Burghausen.
Saint Joseph is the patron of the house, whom the English sisters have repeatedly called on in times of need since their beginning in Altötting. Above the main altar, we can see the Latin inscription „Ite ad Joseph“ – in English: „go to Joseph“ in a stucco mirror. The main painting in the vault shows the patrocinium of this church, the wedding of Mary with Saint Joseph, which marks the calendar as a church celebration on January 23rd.  
The pictures of the vault focus on the Holy family. While the church construction is humble in its design in the lower area, unexpected splendour increasingly unfolds towards the top in the stucco decorations. They are leaf ornaments, but mainly so-called „Bandlwerk-stucco“, which finally celebrates triumph in the barrel vault of the church. The name of the plasterer is not known for this church, but several tracks indicate the name Hepp, sometimes also spelled Hipp. He is the proven creator of the auditorium stucco of Burghausen. It seems he left his masterpiece in this church. The two life-size figures from rococo times, Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit order and the Jesuit Saint Franz Xaver, patron of the mission are works of an artist from Trostberg, the sculptor Johann Georg Kapfer. The two angels to the sides of the tabernacle are worth a visit. They are probably pieces of the rococo sculptor Josef Deutschmann from Passau.

The attendant figures on the two side altars, Saint Elisabeth and Saint Barbara, on the left St. Joachim and St. Anna, represent best rococo art. Many aspects indicate the master Johann Georg Lindt from Burghausen. A further piece of art is most probably from him: the marvellous figure of Mary Immaculata to the right of the high altar, it refers to Ignatz Günther, the teacher of Georg Lindt. The right side altar is dedicated to Saint John Nepomuk, patron of the seal of confession. The left side altar has the Bishop Eligius as a patron.
The fine rococo way of the cross probably belongs to the original furnishing of the church.
Numerous renovations throughout the centuries have changed the face of this church.. But all of those changes have not changed the fact that this little church has remained one of the most cherished and beautiful sacral buildings of our home town, a treasure chest that is worth looking into again and again, to marvel, enjoy, and pray.
 

Capacity:
50 seats