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Solesmes A Thousand Years Are but as One Day in Thy Sight A Thousand Years Are but as One Day in Thy Sight.

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Presentation on theme: "Solesmes A Thousand Years Are but as One Day in Thy Sight A Thousand Years Are but as One Day in Thy Sight."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Solesmes A Thousand Years Are but as One Day in Thy Sight A Thousand Years Are but as One Day in Thy Sight

3 Or to hope against all hope

4 To the monks and moniales of the C ongregation of Solesmes, witnesses of that divine force which is Hope, And to all seekers of hope who find in their monasteries a place of Presence, of peace, of hope, a place for the heart.

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6 Solesmes ! A name that sings, clear like the ringing of bells, sober and serene like Gregorian Chant. Solesmes, monastery ! For a thousand years, almost without interruption, monks dwell here without fanfare ; Solesmes, a monastery ! For a thousand years, almost without interruption, monks dwell here without fanfare ; they pray while chanting, they read the Word that comes from God, they work in prayer.

7 What a marvellous history is that of the monks of Solesmes and of the Congregation of Solesmes ! Is there anyone in France who has never heard ofSolesmes Is there anyone in France who has never heard of Solesmes? Anyone in Canada who does not know of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac ? Who has never heard of the monks of Keur Moussa, in Senegal, of their chant accompanied by the kora ? To name only a few abbeys among the more than thirty monasteries of the Congregation of Solesmes.

8 Solesmes, it is this marvellous history of which we are going to give an account. it is this marvellous history of which we are going to give an account.

9 Hi hi voyez ce que jai fait à droite !| Part One Part One From its Origins From its Origins to the French Revolution to the French Revolution

10 But that is matter for another presentation. Today let us take as our point of departure the heritage of St. Benedict: his Rule and the life of the monks of his monastery of Monte Cassino, in Italy. But that is matter for another presentation. Today let us take as our point of departure the heritage of St. Benedict: his Rule and the life of the monks of his monastery of Monte Cassino, in Italy. One needs to go back to the history and life of prayer of monks, from St Anthony and the desert fathers, to our father St. Benedict of Nursia. ( )

11 Between the VI th and IX th Centuries: from Italy to France from Italy to France The Rule of St. Benedict penetrates into France; gradually, it is adopted by monasteries. Monks of the Abbey of Fleury-sur-Loire send for the relics of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino: France becomes its new home.

12 Some monks leave Monte Cassino Some monks leave Monte Cassino to found the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture to found the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture in Mans, France.

13 The Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture A sketch of the portico of the Church of la Couture, dating from 1695 (with the parish church on the left). The Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture was founded between 587 and 605 by Saint Bertrand, Bishop of Mans.

14 Vue du chœur de léglise de la Couture Couture ? Cultura ! The name COUTURE calls for an explanation : this word comes from the Latin word CULTURA, in reference to the cultivated fields which surrounded the monastery (as, for example, at Saint-Germain des Prés). The name COUTURE calls for an explanation : this word comes from the Latin word CULTURA, in reference to the cultivated fields which surrounded the monastery (as, for example, at Saint-Germain des Prés). But eventually, the word CULTURA took on a spiritual meaning and became CULTURA DEI : the cult or worship rendered to God.

15 The monks of the Abbey of La Couture, like all Benedictine monks, chant the praises of God: "Gloria in excelsis Deo!" …already in Gregorian chant.

16 About 200 years later… X th - XI th Centuries The Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture lays stagnant as a result of the ravaging Normans, those formidable pillagers… There will be a renewal. The Abbot of Saint-Julien de Tours, GAUZBERT, sends monks to re-establish the monastery of "La Couture".

17 During the Middle Ages, God, eternal life, was foremost in the minds of men. Now let us step into the year 1010 : we are in the fullness of the Middle Ages. In tales of old, knights traversed forests in search of the mysterious Grail. In real life, they will soon embark on pilgrimage towards the Tomb of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.

18 Now it happened that on October 12, 1010, Geoffrey, Lord of Sablé, gave the little church of Solesmes, with its territory situated on the bank of the valley of the Sarthe, to the monks of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture in Mans. The monks who founded the Priory of Saint-Pierre of Solesmes came from La Couture", of which Solesmes became a dependency.

19 Whereas we are still in this life, and still possessing a body, we have the means of offering good works, it is necessary that we deprive ourselves of a part of our goods for God, so that we may receive it anew with joy from his hands in the future life. This is why, in Gods name, I, Geoffrey of Sablé, for the redemption of my soul and those of all my relatives, give to God, to the monastery of Saint- Pierre de la Couture and to the monks who serve God there, the church of Solesmes, near the Sablé Castle, situated on the bank of the valley of the Sarthe, with all its dependencies, cultivated fields and wastelands, prairies, vineyards and mills. On this day of the dedication of this church of Saint-Pierre of Solesmes, I Geoffrey of Sablé, present this chart… Geoffrey

20 The Chart of Foundation of the Monastery

21 This ideal the little community was beginning to live… …in the new priory founded at Solesmes*, on the left bank of the Sarthe. There already was a mark of predilection of our Lord There already was a mark of predilection of our Lord in the beauty of which it pleased him to adorn this part of the earth. in the beauty of which it pleased him to adorn this part of the earth. All is pleasant, fertile, harmonious in the valley of Solesmes, All is pleasant, fertile, harmonious in the valley of Solesmes, and nothing could compare with it in all the land and nothing could compare with it in all the land which the Sarthe washed with its tranquil waters. which the Sarthe washed with its tranquil waters. (* Solesmes, a Gallo-Roman name of Latin origin; there was a parish there since the VI th or VII th centuries whose inhabitants were Christian.) (* Solesmes, a Gallo-Roman name of Latin origin; there was a parish there since the VI th or VII th centuries whose inhabitants were Christian.)

22 Five or six times during the course of this millennium, the monastery should have perished; the community should have died out. What a lesson in life ! In Christ Jesus, one does not really die; one is raised to life ! For what do monks live ? live ? What do they do? Since that 12 th day of October, 1010, a thousand years have rolled by, a thousand years are but as one day before God.

23 What do they live for? A profusion of joy on earth ! In the eyes of Father Abbot Gauzbert (spiritual "grandfather" of the monasteries of Mans and Solesmes), the community of monks is nothing more nor less than the reproduction of the first Christian community of Jerusalem, a living cell of that primitive Church, which has remained vibrant through the course of the centuries. The fervour of monastic life ought thus to flow into a profusion of joy over the earth, dissipating the cloud of sorrow which often comes to cast a shadow over the life of the Church and the faithful. The sublime vocation of monks implies that they be truly MONKS, that they follow as closely as possible the Rule of St. Benedict and fight for the King of kings, Christ. Monastic ideal of Father Abbot Gauzbert

24 Saint Peter of Solesmes Why Saint Peter? In choosing the prince of the Apostles as their patron, the monks placed themselves at the heart of Christianity. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," Peter had said to Jesus. "And you are Peter, and on this rock I shall build my Church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…" ( Matt ). "And you are Peter, and on this rock I shall build my Church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…" ( Matt ). To ask for the protection of Saint Peter is to also ask for the protection of the Pope.

25 From the X th to the XIII th centuries, the Abbey of La Couture" e ee experienced rapid growth. At its apogee in the XIIIth century, it sponsored 80 parish churches and 50 dependent priories, one of which was S SS Saint-Pierre de Solesmes.

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27 XII th century The Relic of the Holy Thorn To these monks hidden in adoration and work, the Lord came to bring a present worthy of himself : a relic brought from the Holy Land by one of the lords of Sablé returning from the Crusades. Nothing less than a THORN from the CROWN OF THORNS OF JESUS ! The monks were filled with joy and love. Jesus crowned with thorns, Jesus raised in glory, manifests to them his love and presence !

28 XIII th -XIV th Centuries At the time of Saint Louis, the monastery continues to develop. The monks are always chanting… "Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, Salve !" "Hail holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope !"

29 1425: Destruction of the Monastery of Solesmes From the XIVth to the XVth century, the Hundred Years War brought devastation. This was the century of Saint Joan of Arc, who was burnt at the stake at Rouen. This was a trying time for the monks of Solesmes (and elsewhere); their monastery was destroyed by the English in They always sing : "In te speravi, Domine, in manibus tuis tempora mea." "I have placed my hope in you, O Lord, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Ps 31/30).

30 Of the twelve monks who were there, only five remain. But new vocations come. The monks rebuild the monastery church. They sing : "Alleluia! Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus!" "Alleluia! Christ our pasch, has been sacrificed, alleluia!"

31 After the Hundred Years War and the Black Death, which were the cause of great mourning in families, a marked devotion developed towards the Passion and Burial of Christ, the Compassion of Our Lady, as well as her "Dormition" and Assumption into heaven. These "Tombs" are places of resurrection. In rebuilding their church, the monks had sculpted there two ensembles of statues that were so beautiful that they soon became the most celebrated part of the monastery. (They are called: the "Saints" of Solesmes)

32 The Burial of Our Lord In 1496, In 1496, Dom William Cheminard, prior, oversees the completion of the Tomb of Christ, a masterpiece remarkable for its depiction of the tenderness of the Virgin Mary, Saint John and Saint Mary Magdalene.

33 The Burial of Our Lord

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35 Mary Magdalene Her serene countenance and fervent prayer express faith in the coming resurrection of Jesus.

36 The Tomb of Our Lord was conceived as a reliquary for the Sacred Thorn.

37 The Tomb of Our Lady "La belle chapelle" "La belle chapelle" After the tomb of our Lord, that of His Mother. Situated in the transept on the left, facing the Tomb of Christ, a new group of statues is completed in 1533, under the priorship of a great monk, Dom Jean Bougler.

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39 The calm and serenity expressed on the face of the Virgin chases away any idea of suffering and insists on the supernatural character of her death. Her expression is the same as that of Jesus : one recognizes the smile. The two faces manifest the same absolute confidence.

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41 Facade of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture Saint-Pierre de la Couture The era of the Renaissance is also one of intellectual renewal in sanctity. From the middle of the XV th to mid- XVI th century, The era of the Renaissance is also one of intellectual renewal in sanctity. From the middle of the XV th to mid- XVI th century, two names (among others) stand out: Dom Michel Bureau, abbot of Saint-Pierre de la Couture in Mans, and Dom Jean Bougler, prior of Solesmes already mentioned. and Dom Jean Bougler, prior of Solesmes already mentioned. Both are doctors in theology, both seek the fullness of the contemplative life, so well illustrated by Mary Magdalene at the tomb of our Lord.

42 Monastic Life in the XVI th Century As stipulated in the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Divine Office is the main occupation of the monk, seven times during the day and once at night. At the minimum it takes up six hours. It ought to be celebrated with care and dignity. The rest of the day is consecrated to reading and personal prayer, work assigned to each one, with particular attention to study. As stipulated in the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Divine Office is the main occupation of the monk, seven times during the day and once at night. At the minimum it takes up six hours. It ought to be celebrated with care and dignity. The rest of the day is consecrated to reading and personal prayer, work assigned to each one, with particular attention to study. The ideal is that of the contemplative life. Dom Thierry Barbeau "Sub titulo Petri", p

43 1518: The State seizes the revenues of the monastery -- the abbey is held in commendam: the abbots were no longer elected by the monks, but appointed by the King of France. These were great aristocrats who no longer lived in the abbey: this was the case at "La Couture". 1518: The State seizes the revenues of the monastery -- the abbey is held in commendam: the abbots were no longer elected by the monks, but appointed by the King of France. These were great aristocrats who no longer lived in the abbey: this was the case at "La Couture". One hundred difficult years will follow. Will monastic life be able to exist freely anymore? : The Wars of Religion rage. Is this the end once again? : The Wars of Religion rage. Is this the end once again? 1567: The monastery of Solesmes is attacked by the Protestants. It is partially destroyed. 1567: The monastery of Solesmes is attacked by the Protestants. It is partially destroyed.

44 Revival Revival The Congregation of Saint Maurus takes a new turn. At the beginning of the XVII th century, Benedictine life is renewed by this new congregation which is placed under the patronage of Saint Maurus, faithful disciple of Saint Benedict, who, it is believed, brought the Rule of his master to Gaul. Full of fervour, the new congregation undergoes expansion; the priory of Solesmes is reborn in its midst. Saint Benedict Saint Maurus Saint Benedict Saint Maurus XVII th Century

45 According to Dom Claude Martin, Benedictine, son of Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, French founder of the Ursulines of Quebec: "The proper and particular end of the Rule and Order of Saint Benedict is nothing other than contemplation, since all the means are there for the practice of contemplative life, as for example, separation from the world, solitude, silence, psalmody, prayer, meditation, reading, manual work and the like." (Dom T. Barbeau, p.52) (Dom T. Barbeau, p.52) The Proper End of the Benedictines of the Congregation of Saint Maurus of the Congregation of Saint Maurus

46 XVII th -XVIII th Centuries The arrival of the Maurists breathed new life into the priory, and gave it back the spiritual grandeur that it had lost. During this period, the monastery buildings were entirely renovated, and we can still admire them in our days.

47 The Great Revolution of 1789 proved to be a violent offensive against the Church. Priests, religious were imprisoned, killed, or deported in great numbers.

48 of the XVIII th Century What will become of the priory under the torments of the Revolution? The few monks who are there are dispersed; three are imprisoned. End

49 Would all that would remain of the Congregation of Saint Maurus be the portrait of Dom Chevreux, the seal of the Congregation, and an antiphonary, objects which were preciously guarded by the lady who had given shelter to Dom Chevreux? M A RTYRS M A RTYRS There were Benedictine martyrs, among them, the superior general of the Congregation of Saint Maurus Dom Ambrose Augustine Chevreux. When he was considered suspect by the revolutionaries, Dom Chevreux hid himself for a time in the home of a pious woman. Discovered, he was sent to the prison called "Carmelites" in Paris. (The revolutionaries had made a prison out of the convent of the Carmelites.) On September 2, 1792 in the afternoon, the 191 priests who were locked up in this prison were massacred, among them Father Chevreux and two other Benedictine monks. Discovered, he was sent to the prison called "Carmelites" in Paris. (The revolutionaries had made a prison out of the convent of the Carmelites.) On September 2, 1792 in the afternoon, the 191 priests who were locked up in this prison were massacred, among them Father Chevreux and two other Benedictine monks.

50 To be continued …

51 Presented by : The Benedictine Moniales of the Abbaye Sainte-Marie des Deux-Montagnes Canada Chant: The Monks of Solesmes 1,000 Years of History at the Abbey of Solesmes


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