Silja Walter

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Silja (Cécile) Walter, Sister M. Hedwig OSB
Born (1919-04-23)23 April 1919
Rickenbach, Switzerland
Died 31 January 2011(2011-01-31) (aged 91)
Fahr Abbey, Switzerland
Occupation Novelist, poet, nun
Genre Adult literature
Notable awards Silja Walter#Awards
Years active 1944–1999

Silja Walter (23 April 1919 – 31 January 2011) was a Swiss author and Benedictine nun in the Fahr Abbey in Switzerland. Born as Cécile Walter in Rickenbach, Solothurn, in Switzerland, at the age of 30 she became a nun: her religious name was Maria Hedwig (OSB). Her brother, Otto F. Walter, was also a popular Swiss author.

Biography[edit]

Cécile «Silja» Walter's father Otto was the founder of the Walter Verlag publishing house, writer and member of the Swiss National Council, her mother, Maria Anna Cäcilia Walter-Glutz,[1] lyrics for domestic use. Silja was the second oldest of eight daughters, her only brother was the writer Otto F. Walter (1928–1994). Silja Walter studied five years at a teachers' training college and began her studies of literature at the University of Fribourg. Due to a life-threatening lung disease she had to break. In 1944, her first poetry collection "Poems" was published, as relatively popular author, in 1948 she joined the Benedictine convent of Fahr Abbey.

Work and reputation[edit]

Silja Walter's work of about 60 publications includes poetry and prose, as well as festivals, oratorios and theological texts reflecting her life as nun. Silja Walter has received many awards, among them literary and cultural prices of the city of Zürich, of the Swiss Schiller Foundation in 1956 and 1992 and the art prize of the canton of Solothurn. Her book «Eine Insel finden» ("To find an island", 1984) was a best selling work, based on a radio show that confronted Silja Walter with her brother Otto F. Walter. The Walter siblings had a completely different literary activity: Her brother was a dedicated social critics, Silja Walter wrote lyrics "far away from the world" in a monastery. «Der Wolkenbaum» ("The tree in the clouds", 1992) was even more successful, reflecting Silja Walter's family history. In 2009, her biography was published, «Das dreifarbene Meer» ("The three-colored sea"), written probably on her computer: at the age of 80 she started to use computers, in 2010, she was allowed by the Prioress of the Fahr Abbey to use an Internet access.[2][3]

Awards[edit]

  • 1956: Literaturpreis und Kulturpreis Stadt Zürich
  • 1992: Literaturpreis und Kulturpreis Stadt Zürich
  • 2011: Gesamtwerkspreis Schweizerische Schillerstiftung
  • 2011: Kunstpreis Kanton Solothurn

Bibliography (highlights)[edit]

  • Die ersten Gedichte, 1944
  • Gedichte, 1950
  • Wettinger Sternsingerspiel, 1955
  • Die hereinbrechende Auferstehung, 1960
  • Der Tanz des Gehorsams oder die Strohmatte, 1970
  • Die Schleuse oder Abteien aus Glas. Ein Roman, 1972
  • Jan, der Verrückte. Ein Spiel, 1978
  • Ruf und Regel. Erfahrungen des Glaubens im benediktinischen Kloster, 1980
  • Eine Insel finden. Gespräch mit Otto F. Walter, 1983
  • Die Feuertaube. Neue Gedichte. Für meinen Bruder, 1985
  • Voll singenden Feuers. Eine Auswahl aus ihren Werken, 1990
  • Der Wolkenbaum. Meine Kindheit im alten Haus, 1992
  • Die Beichte im Zeichen des Fisches. Ein geistliches Tagebuch, 1999
  • Die Fähre legt sich hin am Strand. Ein Lesebuch, 1999
  • Ich habe meine Insel gefunden. Geheimnis im Alltag, 2006
  • Er pflückte sie vom Lebensbaum. Ein benediktinisches Tagebuch, 2008
  • Das dreifarbene Meer. Meine Heilsgeschichte – eine Biographie, 2009

Literature[edit]

  • Eve Pormeister: Grenzgängerinnen. Gertrud Leutenegger und die schreibende Nonne Silja Walter aus der Schweiz. SAXA Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-939060-26-0.
  • Simon Peng-Keller (publisher): Aufbruchsfreude und Geistesgegenwart. Gestalten einer erneuerten christlichen Spiritualität. Theologischer Verlag (Edition NZN/TVZ), Zürich 2007, ISBN 978-3-290-20039-8.
  • Ulrike Wolitz: Der neue Mensch. Theologische Grundlinien im Werk Silja Walters. Universitätsverlag (Praktische Theologie im Dialog 17), Fribourg 1998, ISBN 3-7278-1182-X.
  • Otto F. Walter: Eine Insel finden. Gespräch zwischen Otto F. Walter und Silja Walter. Moderiert und mit Vorwort von Philippe Dätwyler. Arche, Zürich 1983, ISBN 3-716-050040.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Corinna Jäger-Trees (2013-08-20). "Walter, Otto" (in German). HDS. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  2. ^ Tages-Anzeiger (January 31, 2011): Silja Walter ist tot (German)
  3. ^ kath.ch (January 31, 2011): Prior Irene Gassmann, Fahr Abbey: "Zum Tod von Schwester Hedwig (Silja) Walter OSB" (German)

External links[edit]