Monday, December 12, 2011

l'abbaye du bec-hellouin


Yesterday I visited yet another monastery in Normandy! This one is one of the most famous and most important monasteries in Normandy and, let me tell you, there are plenty of them! Located in the town of Le Bec Hellouin, its official name is L'Abbaye Notre-Dame du Bec. It was founded in the early 11th century by St. Herluin as a Benedictine abbey.

The abbey as it is now is nothing like it was in the Middle Ages. It was essentially destroyed during the French Revolution, and then rebuilt as a possession of the French government. That explains why it looks more like a château than a religious monastery. It wasn't until after World War II that the property was given back to the Church, and it is now home to a community of Olivetan monks. The only structure that remains from the original monastery is the St. Nicholas Tower.

this was a car museum before World War II

St. Nicholas tower

The abbey is renowned for its ecumenical work in the Church, and has a very strong history with the Anglican religion. In fact, several abbots have also served as the Archbishop of Canterbury. One of the most famous abbots, St. Anselm, served as both Abbot of the Abbay and as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was also named a Doctor of the Church! The abbey is also famous for its intellectual heritage. Several saints, and even the future Pope Alexander II, were educated here.

the view of the hills

pax christi.

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