Schöntal Monastery, Aerial view

Difficult school daysLife in the seminary

Daily prayers, long work hours, meager meals and little freedom: the spartan life in the Protestant theological seminary in Schöntal was not always simple. Many a student allowed themselves a little, secret timeout.

Historic lithograph of Schöntal Monastery

The day-to-day at the Schöntal seminary was arduous.

Days filled with rules

From 1810 to 1975, Schöntal housed a Protestant theological seminary for young men from Württemberg. There, they were prepared for careers as a Protestant ministers or Württemberg officials. The arduous daily routines at the seminary demanded much of the young men. The day began and ended with devotions. Black bread soup was served for breakfast, milk soup on the weekends. This was followed by intense study and endless homework. Those who cut class were punished with extra chores.

Exterior of Schöntal Monastery

The boys’ days were full of temptation.

The inn and the Jagst river as diversions

Students spent roughly four years in Schöntal. In the summer and winter breaks, the seminary students had to undertake a day's march in order to reach a larger town. They would walk for almost eight hours, in heat or snow, through the Harthäuser forest to Heilbronn. There were plenty of temptations for the boys throughout their daily routine: a sip of wine at the inn, or bathing or skating on the Jagst river. Anyone caught would get detention.

The infirmary

Anyone who got sick wound up in the infirmary, where students were required to record the reason for and duration of their stay in a diary. Some entries include illustrations. One drawing, for example, shows an athletic injury, recorded as follows: “January 31–February 24, 1898. I suffered a minor fibular fracture when I took an awkward fall from a horse and was relegated to my bed for three weeks as a result, until King's Day released me. Theodor Hermann.”

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