Foundation of D. Muard
The Rev. Father Jean-Baptiste Muard was born on April 24, 1809, in Vireaux, in the Diocese of Sens, France. While on a trip to Subiaco (Italy), he discovered the Rule of St. Benedict. Inspired by the Rule and the idea of living a balanced life of prayer and work, he returned to France in 1848 with his first two companions and did his novitiate at the Trappe of Aiguebelle. Fulfilling a long desire to establish a religious community, he started his community in the forests of the Morvan (Yonne), in a place called “La Pierre-qui-Vire” (photo above), in 1850. When he died on June 19, l854, a thriving community of 20 monks was expanding quickly and today is the Abbey of Sainte Marie de la Pierre-qui-Vire.
In 1864 Louis Banquet, a 24-year-old seminarian and subdeacon, entered the novitiate at the Abbey of La Pierre-qui-Vire, later receiving the religious name of Romain. Ten years later, now a bishop, Bishop Romain Banquet would be the spiritual director of a seventeen-year-old girl, Marie Cronier, who was finishing her studies at the Abbey of Jouarre. Providentially this was the beginning of a spiritual friendship that would last until the end of their lives. The two continued and expanded the work started by Father Muard, and on January 29, 1883, Marie Cronier received a revelation from the Lord calling her to begin a new work:
“…a spiritual ark that will be His own abode, where souls will live from Him, where He will be the Beloved. It will be his chosen place, if the souls called have the happiness of understanding him.”
Rev. Fr. Jean Baptiste Muard
In 1896, guided by the hand of Divine Providence and after having overcome many difficulties, was the foundation of the Monasteries of Saint-Benoît d'En Calcat and Sainte-Scholastique de Dourgne. In September of the same year, superiors Dom Romain Banquet and Mother Marie Cronier received the blessing making them Abbot and Abbess The hard work bore fruit when in 1937, a group of monks from En Calcat founded the Priory of Notre Dame de Madiran; the abbey was built in 1946 and moved in 1952 to Tournay, near Lourdes.
Here in the Abbey of Tournay, a hardworking young monk named Dom Gérard Calvet, with Providence having provided numerous monks and, with the conviction and support of great benefactors, established the Monasteries of Notre Dame du Barroux and the Holy Cross. Continuing the work started in Saint-Benoît d'En Calcat, founding religious houses that would follow the Rule of St. Benedict.