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Left: Monastry of the cell brothers in Maastricht. Drawing Ph. van Gulpen 1840. | RHCL GAM 31 Left below: Charter of Pope Clemens XIV (1705 -1774) with the permission to found a monastry of the cell brothers. The dedication to care for the sick suffering from the plague, is explicitly mentioned in the document. | RHCL Archief Klooster cellebroeders Maastricht, inv.nr.14 Right: The former chapel of the cell brothers, in use as storage of “pawns” for the bank of loan from the Burgerlijk Armbestuur, ca.1909. | RHCL GAM F13830 75 was annexed by France. The French authorities were hostile toward the church and the monasteries, and dissolved the monasteries by a decree of 1 September 1796. The properties of the monasteries and the church were sold and the proceeds fell to the state. For a brief period, the cell brothers managed to prevent closure, but for them too the curtain fell on 3 December 1796. In the meantime they had succeeded in selling fi fty hectares of land on the left bank of the Meuse and ten houses in Maastricht. No buyer could be found for the buildings of the monastery. After the departure of the cell brothers, the monastery was fi rst used as a prison and afterwards it housed beggars and the infi rm. Under French rule, all establishments of the cell There were regular confl icts between the cell brothers and the brothers were dissolved, except those in Luik and Aachen. After town council. The main causes were criticism of the way plague the French period, the monastery buildings in Maastricht were sufferers were cared for by the cell brothers. It was rumoured managed by a new town institution for social services, the that they did not look after them properly as a result of which Burgerlijk Armbestuur. In 1822 a pawn shop was housed in the they died. Indeed a funeral brought in more money than caring buildings. In 1940 the buildings and the garden were sold to for sufferers. In 1664 such a confl ict got out of hand: the cell the Brothers of Maastricht. Because the buildings were severely brothers were forbidden to leave their house and the grey dilapidated three of the four wings were demolished in the sisters of Hasselt were ordered to take over their duties. In same year. In 1950 it was the turn of the remaining south wing 1669 a similar incident occurred: the cell brothers no longer to be torn down, but the chapel and the cloister were saved. buried the dead, they charged families of the deceased high Between 1963 and 1966 the chapel of the cell brothers was costs and there was talk of excessive drinking. Again the grey restored; the last that remained from the fourteenth century sisters were called upon. In 1674 they settled permanently in was saved for the future. Today, the cell brothers, under their Maastricht, in the Heksenhoek. present name of alexians, still run institutions for the care of In the eighteenth century the monasteries fell into the mentally ill as well as sanatoria in Germany, Belgium, decline: At the cell brothers the guests were neglected, hygiene Ireland, England, the Philippines, India and the United States. was poor, there was talk of alcohol abuse and the mentally ill and the other residents lived no longer in separate quarters. In 1 The origin of the name cell brothers is not certainly known: because the brothers lived in cells (cellae) or because of their piety (cellistis)? The name 1794, French revolutionary armies captured Maastricht and one lollards refers to the local word for praying (lollen). Cell brothers are also year later the town like the rest of the Southern Netherlands called alexians because of their patron Saint Alexius of Edessa († circa 430).


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