The letter which was delivered to the Oetenbach convent on September 30, 1527, changed Anna Adlischwyler’s life for ever. The author was Heinrich Bullinger, a priest and friend of Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli.
“You and you alone fill my thoughts,” Bullinger admitted to the young nun. He wanted to live with her and share everything – “the sweet and the sour”. “You are young, and God did not give you your body for you to remain a nun for ever and do nothing to bear fruit,” he wrote. After singing the praises of marriage, Bullinger got to the point: “Read this letter three or four times, think about it and ask God to reveal his intention to you.”
Just a few years earlier such a love letter would have been unthinkable. But since the Reformation things were different, in Zurich too. Priests were getting married and nuns, who had devoted their lives to God, were turning their backs on life behind a convent wall. Even Martin Luther married a lady of the cloth who was 16 years his junior.