In the Vienna Woods near Stift Heiligenkreuz is the Carmel of Mayerling. Mayerling was the sight of the hunting lodge in which Archduke Rudolf of Austria, only son of the Emperor Franz Josef, died in tragic circumstances on January 30th, 1889. The Emperor gave the lodge to the Carmelites, and had it re-modeled into a convent with a beautiful little neo-gothic church, with the high-altar at about the spot where the Archdukes bedroom had been.
Today the Carmel Mayerling has an exemplary observance, and several novices. Nor do they neglect the duty of praying for the poor Archduke. On January 30th, 125 years after the tragedy, there was a solemn requiem in the convent church celebrated by the Abbot of Heiligenkreuz. Here are some photos:
The guest-house of the Carmel in Mayerling is used to house a group of students of the Theological Faculty (Hochschule) in Heiligenkreuz. On January 22nd the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn came to Mayerling to visit both the nuns and the students. January 22nd is the Cardinal’s birthday, so it was a rather celebratory visit. He met with the nuns first (as a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church he was allowed into the enclosure), and then celebrating Mass, preaching a rather moving sermon on hardness of heart. Here are some pictures of the Mass:
After Mass he ate supper with the students: