Abraham a Sancta Clara

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Abraham a Sancta Clara
Statue of Abraham a Sancta Clara, outside the Imperial Palace, Vienna

Abraham a Sancta Clara (July 2, 1644 – December 1, 1709), Austrian divine, was born at Kreenheinstetten, near Messkirch. His lay name was Johann Ulrich Megerle (Not to be confused with his uncle Abraham Megerle (de), composer (1607–1680)).

He has been described as "a very eccentric but popular Augustinian monk".[1]

In 1662 he joined the Catholic religious order of Discalced Augustinians, and assumed the religious name by which he is known. In this order he rose step by step until he became prior provincialis and definitor of his province.

Having early gained a great reputation for pulpit eloquence, he was appointed imperial court preacher at Vienna in 1669.[1]

The people flocked to hear him, attracted by the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humour, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular. In general he spoke as a man of the people, the predominating quality of his style being an overflowing and often coarse wit. There are, however, many passages in his sermons in which he rises to loftier thought and uses more dignified language. He died at Vienna on 1 December 1709.

In his published writings he displayed many of the same qualities as in the pulpit. Perhaps the most favorable specimen of his style is his didactic novel entitled Judas der Erzschelm (4 vols., Salzburg, 1686–1695).

His works have been several times reproduced in whole or in part, though with many spurious interpolations. The best edition is that published in 21 vols. at Passau and Lindau (1835–1854). See Th. G von Karajan, Abraham a Sancta Clara (Vienna, 1867); Blanckenburg, Studien über die Sprache Abrahams a S. C. (Halle, 1897); Sexto, Abraham a S. C. (Sigmaringen, 1896); Schnell, Pater A. a S. C. (Munich, 1895); H Mareta, Über Judas d. Erzschelm (Vienna, 1875).

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