The beginning of the convent in Doksany dates back to the year 1144 when it was founded by Princess Gertruda as a Sisters` Convent of the Monastery of Strahov in Prague.
Its history was similar to that of many other monasteries: flowering as well as decay, wealth as well as poverty, wars and floods and fires. The regular life was uninterrupted, until 1782 when the convent was abolished by order of Emperor Joseph II. At that time there were 49 sisters in the community. It served as an army hospital for a short time and in the end it was sold to a noble family of Aehrenthals who rebuilt it into a castle. The north wing was used as stab-les and a cowshed. These adaptations together with a gradual decay under the communist regime led to a complete devastation. The church and Parish house remained under the administration of Praemonstratensians of Strahov, with a short break during Communism. The first attempt to renew the contemplative life of the Praemonstratensian Sisters was made at the beginning of the 20th century. Several girls started their formation in the convent of Zwierzyniec in Cracow, Poland, but after their return it transpired that it was not possible to begin a cloistered regular life because of the reasons given by the Church and State administration. That was why the Congregation of the Premonstratensian Sisters of the Holy Mountain came into existence (1902) and began to devote their time to apostolic works. But the desire for a life more strictly contemplative did not disappear from the hearts of the sisters.
In 1989 the fall of the Communist regime brought freedom to the Church. And so the idea to renew contemplative life could become a reality step by step. The ancient convent in Doksany which, regardless of all devastation was still standing, was chosen as a residence for the first Sisters. In 1997 Strahov Monastery bought the north part of the former Convent from the State and plans for its reconstruction started. Father Abbot Michael Projezdny asked the Canonry of Cracow to send Sisters to renew their former Motherhouse (the convent in Cracow had been founded in 1164 from Doksany). Four Sisters (two from Poland and two from the Czech Republic) began their community life on 31.1.1998, provisionally in the parish house. The renovation of part of the convent started in 1998. In 2002 the work on one wing was finished and in January 2003 the community moved in. Till 2007 we were a dependent House of the Cracow convent and were living in a constitutional cloister.
THE CANONRY OF THE BIRTH OF OUR LADY In 2007 the sisters´ community in Doksany became legally independent. On 9.3. 2007 the Congregation for the Regulars and the Secular Institutes in Rome issued the decree of autonomy; the convent was confirmed by the Abbot General Thomas Handgrätinger as the independent Sisters' Canonry under the jurisdiction of the Order. P. Michael J. Pojezdny, Abbot of Strahov Canonry, was appointed the Father-Abbot of the new Canonry - in accord with the Sisters´ wish and the centuries-long tradition of the convent in Doksany. The first electoral Chapter took place on 14.6. 2007 - under the chairmanship of the Abbot-General Thomas Handgrätinger and Father-Abbot Michael. Sister Alberta Chrobak was elected Prioress for the term of 12 years according to the current Constitutions of the Canonesses Regular of the Premonstratensian Order. On top of all the blessing event was on 1.10. 2008 P. Adrian Pavel Zemek from Strahov was appointed the Provost of the Canonry. His duty is to provide pastoral care to the Sisters´ Canonry in cooperation with the Prioress, and he can also vote at the general chapter of the Order as the deputy of our Canonry.
The church of the Nativity of our Lady
This year we commemorate the outstanding personality of Czech history - St. Agnes of Bohemia who spent part of her childhood in Doksany - on 12.11. 2009 it will be 20 years since Pope John Paul II. canonized her. She - as the intercessor of the whole nation - stood at the beginning of the fall of Communism in 1989. We were the hostesses of her precious relic in the convent for a few days. 11 years have already passed since the present Canonry ,The Birth of Our Lady, was renewed. The common life of the Sisters consisted in the work on the reconstruction of the convent buildings, the gradual forming of the common life customs including the rules of constitutional cloister, the formation of new Sisters, the arrangement of the material provisions for the community as well as the continuous formation of the Sisters. The community looked back at past years and set out in the new period of its existence with new determination - enriched by past experience but also more fragile and vulnerable, with hope for the future, but with a realistic view of the past as well. So we continue in our way of life: we make liturgical vestments, grow medicinal herbs and make teas and liquors from them. We take care of the church, and take in guests who want to spend some time in prayer and silence here. For this purpose the new rooms in the north wing of the convent were reconstructed. There are a few women who are more closely connected with us as Tertiaries of our Canonry. They take part in our liturgical life and help us in various ways according to their limits. Our apostolate of prayer and sacrifice is aimed principally at the spiritual support of our brethren, both from Strahov Canonry and other Canonries. We are pleased that we can pray for the people who ask us to invoke the intercession of St. Norbert - and here we must mention the prayer for pregnant women and marriages wanting children . Our Founder has become the last resort of a great many married couples and mothers. A large group of our benefactors - with whom we keep regular contact - belongs to our spiritual family too. Our Canonry could not develop without their spiritual and material support. We realize that there are still demanding tasks lying before us and we want to work on them according to our strength, and above all with the help of God. We believe that our Lord who guided us in past years will take charge of His work in future as well, and bring to the final goal what He himself began here.
Working in the garden with - The cloister herb