Thursday, 17 September 2015

Abbey of Solesmes, France.



Date: 28 July 2005 (according to Exif data).
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Bautsch.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Solemnes Abbey.
Available on YouTube at


Solesmes Abbey, or Saint Peter's Abbey, Solesmes (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes) is a Benedictine Monastery in Solesmes, Sarthe, France, famous as the source of the restoration of Benedictine Monastic life in the Country, under Dom Prosper Guéranger, after the French Revolution. The current Abbot is the Right Reverend Dom Philippe Dupont, O.S.B.

It was originally founded in 1010 as a Priory of the Benedictine Le Mans Abbey. Its history was largely uneventful. It suffered considerably during The Hundred Years' War but was afterwards restored.



Solesmes Abbey
Gregorian Chant.
Available on YouTube at


Towards the end of the 15th-Century, the rebuilding of the Church was commenced, Prior Philibert de la Croix changing it from Basilica Form to that of a Latin Cross. His successor, Jean Bougler (1505-1556), completed the restoration of the Church, added the Tower, and rebuilt the Cloisters, Sacristy, and Library. Under his direction two famous groups of statuary, known as the "Saints of Solesmes", were set up in the Church. In the 16th-Century, these masterpieces were in danger of being destroyed by the Huguenots and other Iconoclasts, but the Monks saved them by erecting barricades. From the 17th-Century, it underwent a slow decline under a series of commendatory Priors.



English: Solesmes Abbey, France.
Français: Vue de l'abbaye depuis le pont franchissant la Sarthe.
Date: 14 April 2007 (according to Exif data).
Source: No machine readable source provided.
Own work assumed (based on copyright claims).
Author: No machine readable author provided.
Leag assumed (based on copyright claims).
(Wikimedia Commons)


Following The French Revolution, the newly-formed National Constituent Assembly prohibited all Religious Vows on 13 February 1790. At Solesmes, one of the seven Monks (the Sub-Prior) broke his Vows to become a constitutional Priest and Soldier of The Republic. The others were imprisoned after refusing to take an oath. One of them, Dom Pierre Papion, then managed to hide in order to celebrate Masses secretly across the Region. After signing the Concordat, he became Chaplain of the Hospice de Sablé.

Solesmes, whose occupants had been forced out in March 1791, was then commandeered as the country residence of a certain Henri Lenoir Chantelou, and its archives were burned in a "civic" bonfire on 14 July 1794. The Church was re-opened at the time of the Concordat and the Lenoir de Chantelou family were given statues by Napoleon, so that those at Le Mans Abbey were not removed.

In 1825, government property administrators sold the Monastic buildings and 145 acres with its farms. In 1832, it was decided to demolish the buildings, starting with the East Wing, which has now disappeared.



English: Solesmes Abbey, France,
Français: Vue de l'abbaye depuis le chemin situé au pied des remparts.
Date: 14 April 2007 (according to Exif data).
Source: No machine readable source provided.
Own work assumed (based on copyright claims).
Author: No machine readable author provided.
Leag assumed (based on copyright claims).
(Wikimedia Commons)


In 1831, the remaining buildings, which had escaped demolition in The French Revolution, but were threatened with destruction for want of a buyer, came to the attention of the locally-born Priest, Prosper Guéranger, who, inspired by the vision of a restored Monastic Life in France, acquired them for the home of a new Benedictine Community, which moved in on 11 July 1833. Against all expectation, the new Community flourished and, in 1837, not only received Papal approval, but was elevated to the Rank of an Abbey and made the Head of the newly-created French Benedictine Congregation, now The Solesmes Congregation within The Benedictine Confederation.

In 1866, a Convent, Saint Cecilia's Abbey, Solesmes, was also Founded at Solesmes, by Mother Cécile Bruyère (the first Abbess), with the support of Dom Guéranger, which was the first House of the Nuns of The Solesmes Congregation.



English: Coat-of-Arms of Dom Guéranger, first Abbot of Solesmes Abbey.
Français: Armoiries de Dom Guéranger, abbé de Solesmes.
Source: Own work, some elements by SajoR
in "Armorial des prélats Français du XIXème siècle" p. 309.
Author: Mathieu CHAINE.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Since its restoration, Solesmes has been Dissolved by the French Government no less than four times. In 1880, 1882, and 1883, the Monks were ejected by force, but, receiving hospitality in the neighbourhood, succeeded each time in re-entering their Abbey. Between 1901 and 1922, the Monks were forced into exile in England. They settled on the Isle of Wight and built the present Quarr Abbey. The Community survived those trials, and those of two World Wars, and is still at Solesmes.

As part of its mission of Monastic revival, the Abbey has been the Mother House of numerous other Monastic Foundations, most notably in recent years the Monastery at Palendriai, in Lithuania.

The Abbey is noted for its crucial contribution to the advancement of The Roman Catholic Liturgy and the revival of Gregorian Chant. A documentary film on life at Solesmes was made in 2009 and focuses on the Tradition of the Chant at the Monastery.



Image of Prosper Guéranger (1805–1875).
Printmaker was Claude-Ferdinand Gaillard (1834–1887).
Created 1874, published 1878 or earlier.
Date: 7 May 2007 (original upload date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.
Author: The original uploader was Ikanreed at English Wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Liturgical Year.
Written by Dom 

Available (in U.K.) from

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THE SAINT ANDREW DAILY MISSAL



THE SAINT ANDREW DAILY MISSAL

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