Andrew Stoss’ Efforts to Save his Province
Andrew Stoss’ tough intransigent attitude against the losses of the Reformation stood him in good stead in his work as provincial of wresting convents from the clutches of municipal authorities. His daybook, in which he carefully registered copies of letters, visitation reports, accounts, notes on events in the Order, etc., tells the story of his discouraging life and death struggle to save his convents. For ten years, in spite of indifferent health, Stoss travelled incessantly over insecure roads through his widespread province.
No need here to chronicle in detail his laborious years. His difficulties were partly financial; in this respect Vogelsburg, Nördlingen, Weissenburg, and Vienna seem to have been especially problematic houses, often requiring his presence to float loans or sell community property to salvage the foundation. The authorities in Nördlingen would not allow Stoss to import friars from elsewhere. Eventually, this convent and Weissenburg were lost to the Order. Vienna’s problems came from the mismanagement of the prior, John Stockelsteiner. All Stoss’ efforts to salvage this studium of the Order were ultimately in vain. In 1568, Maximilian II bestowed it on the deserving Jesuits.
A second difficulty was the tendency of secular authorities to seize the convents, especially in localities that tended to Lutheranism. In Heilbronn, the senate did not take over the convent, ruined during the Peasants’ War, but forbade all Catholic services. The imperial town of Esslingen was won for the Reform by Ambrose Blarer, the Mass was abolished, and the old services forbidden.