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MECHTEL


105


MECHTILDE


firmness of the archbishops at Prccipiano (1G90-1711) and of Cardinal d'AIsace (1715-59) repelled Jansen- ism, which endured however in Josephinism and Febronianism. Joseph II suppressed many convents (1783), and created the General Heniinary of Lou vain (1786), the doctrines of which were condemned by Cardinal de Frankenberg (1759-tSOl). Persecution broke out afresh in the wake of the French Revolu- tion; Catholic worship was abolished, churches were pillaged, a multitiale of ecclesiastics exiled, among them Cardinal de I'nmkenberg. The anti-Concordat schism of the Sti'vcni-its arose under Napoleon Bona- parte. Later, King \\ illiam revived the General Semi- nary under the name of Philosojihical College, but met with as much opposition as Joseph II. The Belgian Revolution of 1S30 freed the Church from these fetters. For the later history of Mechlin see Belgium. The fol- lowing archljishops of Mechlin were made cardinals: Antoine Perrenot de Granvella, first archbishop (1560- 83) and a remarkable statesman (q. v.); Thomas Phihppc d'.Vlsace (1716-59); Henri de Frankenberg (1759-1801); Engelbert Sterckx (1832-67); Victor Auguste Dechamps, theologian and pulpit orator (q. V.) (1S67-S3); Pierre Lambert Goossens (1884- 1906) ; Desire Joseph Mercier (1906—), the chief originator of the neo-scholastic movement in Belgium. Religious monuments: numerous edifices especially of Gothic style (Roman: St. Germain at Tirlemont, St. Gertrude at Nivelles). At Mechlin is the metropolitan church of St. Romljaut (thirteenth and fourteenth centuries), with a tower 318 feet high. There is also Notre Dame, and St. Pierre (Jesuit style). Prin- cipal other edihces: churches of Lierre, Hoogstraeten, Tirlemont, Hal. Diest; and the ruins of the Abbey of Villers, the most striking monastic ruins in Belgium. The ornamentation has suffered greatly from the dis- orders of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, par- ticularly the organ gallery at Lierre, the t:ibrrnarlo at Leau, the tombs at Hoogstraeten and tin' ,^t:iinc.l glasses in Lierre and Hoogstraeten. (if ilir iKniitini;.^ still preserved, many belong to the Antwerp School. At Mechlin there are works of Rubens in the chiu'ches of Notre Dame and St. Jean. See Antwerp, Brus- sels, LouvAiN. Pilgrimages: St. Sang at Hoog- straeten, St. Sauveur at Haekendover (Tirlemont), Notre Dame at Montaigu, at Hal, at Hanswyck (Mech- lin). Population (1909): 2,450,680 inhabitants; 745 parishes; 51 deaneries; one theological seminary; 3 petits seminaires; 24 episcopal colleges; 108 convents for men, and 726 for women.

The ' ' Vie Dioeesaine " is a monthly periodical founded in 1907. The "Theologia Mechliniensis" fundamental and sacramental theology, with treatises on virtues, indulgences, and reserved cases fills ten volumes; notable also are the "Scripture Commen- tary" of Ceulemans (nine volumes) on the Psalms and New Testament, and the work of Van der Stappen (five volumes) on the Liturgv.

Gallia Clirisiiann. V (Pini.\ 17:in \'v-7 n,-.M-i,. Hiatoria mcraetprolnna .irrlui pi><i„i„i!r U ■' 1 , 1 1 ,ye. 17255 ;

Claessens. Hi--!nn' ,/. : ,/,,' .1/ |[ ( Louvaiil,

1881); Goi.F.NN.-. ,U..;,«, .,;,,,,, ,. ,, , ,,,,,,. , , I ,h rlilin, 1908); FOPPENS, Hi.tliina cpisrutnilus Anlvrrp„„.^,.s ^Brllss<■l.■^. 1717).

A. Kempeneek.

Mechtel, Johann, chronicler; b. 15G2 at Pfalzel near Trier (Germany); d. after 1631, perhaps as late as 1653 at Trier. He is often named Pfalzel after his native town where he first studieil and then went to the university at Trier, conducted by the Jesuits, where the historian Christopher Brote acquired a lasting in- fluence over him. After his ordination (about 1587), he was appointed pastor at Eltz, near Limburg; in 1592 he became canon at Limburg and as such admin- istered for two years the troublesome parish of Cam- berg. In 1604 he was appointed dean, but soon got mto difficulties with his canons and finally, by request of the elector of Trier in order to restore peace, he re-


signed, and accepted the canonry at St. Paulinus in Trier. In Limburg as well as in Trier he studied his- tory assiduously and carefully, and conscientiously col- lected documents and records, as well as inscriptions on monuments. Many of his sources are now lost therefore his works almost possess the value of origi- nals for us. Of his writings may be mentioned : " Lim- burg Chronicle", the "Pagus Lohenahe", and the " Introductio in Pagum Lohenahe. " His chief work, the "Limburg Chronicle", was begun in 1610 and finished in 1612, but it was not edited until 1757 by Hontheim in his "Prodromus historise Trevirensis", II, 1046-1166. This edition, marked by many mis- takes and omissions, was published in its entirety by Knetsch, in the " Publications of the Historical CJom- mission for Nassau", VI (Wiesbaden, 1909). It is a revision and continuation of the old Limburg chroni- cle, begun by the town clerk, Tilemann, but utilizes also many other sources both printed and unprinted. His chronicle is of great value because Mechtel utilizes various accounts which contain important informa- tion as to social conditions, the price of corn and wine, the cultivation of the vine, climatic conditions and wages. In treating German and early medieval his- tory he does not rise above the level of the historians of the fifteenth and si\ticiith centuries. Both his other works are as yet un|iul>Ii-lic.l; Knetsch reviews their contents in his e<liti(m nf the chronicle X-XVI. C.\RL Knetsch, Die LimlniTger Chronik des Johannes Mech- tel (Wiesbaden, 1909), I-XXV.

Patricius Schlager.

Mechtilde (Matilda von Hackeborn-Wippra), Saint, I'Mncdictine; b. in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of il( llta, near Eisleben, Saxony; d. in the mon- aster}' of Helfta, 19 Nov., 1298. She belonged to one of the noblest and most powerful Thuringian families, while her sister was the saintly and illustrious Abbess (intrude \(>\t Ihiekeborn. Some writers have consid- ciid lluit Merhtilile von Hackeborn and Mechtilde \()ii Wippni were two distinct persons, but, as the Barons of Hackeborn were also Lords of Wippra, it was customary for members of that family to take their name indifferently from either, or both of these estates. So fragile was she at birth, that the attend- ants, fearing she might die unbaptized, hurried her o£f to the priest who was just then preparing to say Mass. He was a man of great sanctity, and after baptizing the child , uttered these prophetic words : ' ' Wlaat do you fear? This child most certainly will not die, but she will become a saintly religious in whom God will work many wonders, and she will end her days in a good old age." Wlien she was seven years old, having been taken by her mother on a visit to her elder sister Ger- trude, then a nun in the monastery of Rodardsdorf, she became so enamoured of the cloister that her pious parents yielded to her entreaties and, acknowledging the workings of grace, allowed her to enter the alum- nate. Here, being highly gifted in mind as well as in body, she made remarkable progress in virtue and learning.

Ten years later (1258) she followed her sister, who, now abbess, had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta given her by her brothers Louis and Albert. As a nun, Mechtilde was soon distinguished for her hu- mility, her fervour, and that extreme amiability which had characterized her from childhood and which, like piety, seemed hereditary in her race. While still very young, she became a valuable helpmate to Abbess Ger- trude, who entrusted to her direction the alumnate and the choir. Mechtilde was fully equipped for her task when, in 1261, God committed to her prudent care a child of five who was destined to shed lustre upon the monastery of Helfta. Tliis was that Gertrude who in later generations became known as St. Ger- trude the Cireat. Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mech- tilde also pos.sessed a speciaLtalent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over wliich she presided as