The Kelpius Society is shedding light on a newly discovered manuscript attributed to Johannes Kelpius, a mystical visionary who created an early monastic community, sometimes called The Society of the Woman in the Wilderness, along the Wissahickon Stream near Philadelphia. A few years ago I spend a few hours traipsing around the Wissahickon basin and visited the root cellar which is said to have been a hermitage used by Kelpius. I've also found mention of members of the society in Moravian sources of the period. I've been fascinated with this mystical order ever since. Yet this legendary society, which was within the same orbit as the Moravian community at Bethlehem and the Brethren society at Ephrata, is shrouded in mystery due to a dearth of sources but is testament to the religious diversity and pietist experiments in colonial Pennsylvania. According to expert Kirby Don Richards,
For the first time in a century, a new work by Johannes Kelpius has been discovered. Mr. Richard Ackner, a direct descendent of Kelpius’s brother Georg, made this exciting discovery at the Manuscript Department of the Library of the City of Sighiṣoara, Romania, listed in the catalogue as Manuscript 505.
You can read more about this rare find here.