Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A princely priest arrives in London

December 19, 1908

Father Raymund, the recently ordained priest, arrived in England this week.   Father Raymund was until "a little over a year ago" Prince Karl of Löwenstein-Rosenberg-Wertheim, who was, according to the New York Times, one of the "founders and leaders" of the Catholic Center Party in the German Reichstag.

A devout Roman Catholic Karl "renounced his estates, position and dignitaries," to become a novice in the Dominican Order. Last week, the 74-year-old Prince was ordained as a priest by Cardinal Fischer, Archbishop of Cologne.

The new priest is now at St. Dominic's Priory at Haverstock Hill in London.  He is on his way to the Isle of Wight, to visit his sister and his daughter, who are nuns at the Benedictine Abbey at Ryde.

Prince Karl has three daughters who have entered the religious life, and his older sister, Adelheid, is the widow of former King Miguel of Portugal, who reigned from 1828 to 1834.)

He has been active for more than 50 years with "the struggle for the rights of Roman Catholics in Germany. 

His ordination was a "striking spectacle."  Many of his relatives were in the congregation, and he was assisted at the high mass by his eldest son.

Prince Karl laid on the altar his "robes of state with the collar of the Golden Fleece, the Grand Cross of Malta, and that of the Order of Christ."   These "glittering badges of knighthood and worldly rank" were exchanged for a "white tunic and black mantle of a Dominican."

Prince Karl is the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Constantin of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. who was a "diplomat and a man of fashion."  He disapproved of his heir's "entreaties to be allowed to enter the Church."  Instead, Prince Karl married Princess Adelheid of Isenburg-Büdingen in 1859.  She died in March 1861 two weeks after giving birth to a daughter, Maria Anna.

After her death, Prince Karl's "thoughts turned again to the Church," but his "stern parent" would not permit it, and found him a second wife, Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, who had also been "obliged to give up the Church for the sake of a wordly marriage."

The couple were married in May 1863.  Their first child, Franziska, was born in March 1864. 

The princess was described as a woman "of excessive piety."

Prince Karl and Princess Sophie "retired from the world" and lived as hermits in their "numerous castles."   They had six children.  One daughter is a "poor Sister of Charity" in St, Francisca of Aschen.  Another is a Benedictine at Ryde, and a third daughter is a nun at a "lonely convent" in Bohemia.  One son is the prior of a convent in Hungary.

The four children took their vows more than 20 years ago, and this will be the first time since they took holy orders that Prince Karl has seen his children.

Princess Sophie died in 1899, and since then Karl has never smiled.  He would emerge from his "religious seclusion" to take part in Center Party events, but he continued to look toward the church.

The Dominican Order will "greatly profit" from the new priest.  He has already given $200,000 for a new chapel.  He is worth more than $40 million in securities and land. 

[Editor's note:  there are a lot of things wrong with this story, and one can only assume that the New York Times's writer based the story on what was being reported in the German press. Karl's father, Hereditary Prince Constantine died in 1838 when his only son was four years old. 

Karl and his older sister, Adelheid became orphans when their father died as their mother, Princess Marie Agnes of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, had died in September 1835.

Karl succeeded as the Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg in November 1849 following the death of his father, Karl. 

Thus, it would have been impossible for Karl's father to arrange a marriage for his son, let alone two marriages.

Karl's older sister, Adelheid, married Miguel, the Duke of Braganza in 1851.  He died in 1866.  She later became a Benedictine nun.

Karl and his second wife, Sophie, had eight children:  Franziska (1864-1930), Adelheid (1865-1941), who married Count Adalbert of Schönborn, Agnes (1866-1954), Joseph (1868-1870), Marie Therese (1870-1935), the wife of Miguel, Duke of Braganza, who was her first cousin;  Aloys (1871-1952), who married Countess Josephine Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau; Anna (1873-1936), who married Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg; and Johannes (1880-1956), who married Countess Alexandra von Bernstorff.

Three of Karl's daughters never married: Maria Anna (from his first marriage), and Franziska and Agnes.  It is plausible that one or all three became nuns.  Joseph was only two years old when he died which meant he never became a priest.  Aloys, the grandfather of the present prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, Aloys-Konstantin, married, as did the youngest son, Johannes.

When Karl was ordained as a priest, he also renounced his titles in favor of his eldest son, Aloys, who succeeded him as Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has an entry about Prince Karl.  The article provides information about his religious work, and mentions that two daughters, Princess Franziska de Paula "joined the Sisters of St. Francis at Aachen and Agnes entering the Benedictine convent in the Isle of Wight."  It is possible that Maria Anna also spent time in a convent, the lonely one in Bohemia, but the Catholic Encyclopedia does not reference this.

Father Raymund died in 1921.]

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John said...

Was his marriage to Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein Ebenbürtigkeit?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

of course it was. She was the daughter of the of the Prince of Liechtenstein. The main line descends from their eldest son.