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Foundation of D. Muard

The Revd. Father Jean-Baptiste Muard was born on April 24, 1809 in Vireaux, in the Diocese of Sens, France. Wishing to found a religious community, he discovered the Rule of St. Benedict when on a trip to Subiaco (Italy). Conquered by the balance of life she proposes between work and prayer, he returned to France in 1848 with his first two companions and did his novitiate at the Trapa de Aiguebelle. In 1850, he installed his nascent community in the forests of the Morvan (Yonne), in a place called “La Pierre-qui-Vire” (photo above). When he died on June 19, l854, around twenty monks made up the community, which was expanding rapidly and today is the Abbey of Sainte Marie de la Pierre-qui-Vire.

In 1864 Louis Banquet, a 24-year-old young seminarian and a subdeacon since December 1863, entered the novitiate at the Abbey of Pierre-qui-Vire, later receiving the religious name of Romain. Ten years later, Bishop Romain Banquet began to spiritually direct a seventeen-year-old girl, Marie Cronier, who was finishing her studies at the Abbey of Jouarre and who is benefiting from particular graces. Thus begins a spiritual friendship that will last until the end of their lives. Both will lead the work of Father Muard, giving him new horizons of growth. On January 29, 1883, Marie Cronier received the revelation of the plan of a work to which the Lord called them:

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“…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

It is this revelation of Our Lord that will give rise, after many difficulties, to the Monasteries of Saint-Benoît d'En Calcat and Sainte-Scholastique de Dourgne. Both erected in an abbey in 1896, their superiors Dom Romain Banquet and Mother Marie Cronier will receive the abbey blessing in September of that same year. In 1937 a group of monks from En Calcat founded the Priory of Notre-Dame de Madiran which, built as an abbey in 1946, moved in 1952 to Tournay, near Lourdes.

It is the young Dom Gérard Calvet, a monk from the abbey of Tournay, who continues the history of Saint-Benoît d'En Calcat, with its strong and hardworking character, bringing together from an early age not only numerous monks sent by Providence, but also great benefactors who believe in his conviction of being able to establish religious houses that would follow the letter and spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict as it bequeathed us. This is the seed of creation of the Monastery of Notre Dame du Barroux and the Monastery of the Holy Cross.

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