Our monastic roots link us not only to the early days of St. Benedict who was born in the 5th century, but also to the more recent past, to the Christendom of France, in the year 1850, during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX. Living in a time of restoration in the aftermath of revolution which reduced the great European abbeys to rubble, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Muard, a diocesan missionary, was inspired by a signal grace of Providence to restore the monastic apostolate of the Church to its purest and original form, as lived by the disciples of the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Desert Fathers in particular. Being led by the hand of God, he walked as a pilgrim from France to Italy, eventually arriving at the hallowed shrine of St. Benedict in Subiaco, east of Rome. He would later meet with the Holy Father still in exile at Gaëta, whounder the duress of revolution still raging and tearing apart Italy in the name of unity, had made himself abbot of St. Benedict’s original monastery. This heroic intervention of Pope Pius IX to save the Benedictine Order from extinction in his overall struggle to restore the Church in the time of unprecedented crisis would become the foundational principle of our present monastery.

 

From Rome, Fr. Muard would bring the Rule of St. Benedict back to France at the same time as other great works of restoration were already underway. The Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance was thus born and under the continued guidance of Pius IX foundations were established throughout Europe, rising from the ashes of once glorious Christendom. The restoration of the Church, in the mind of Pio Nono, would come through the Queen of Heaven, who herself would confirm his teaching through the miraculous apparitions at Lourdes, and also in the restoration of the contemplative monastic Orders. The faithful echo of this determined action would be heard again in our own day in the words of Archbishop Lefebvre, Without Monasteries, without religious consecrated to prayer, the Church will never be revived from the present crisis.

 

The conflict of civil revolution, the destruction wrought by World Wars, and the universal disorder of Modernism have become as the great fire that germinates the seed of the giant solitary Redwoods, and today in the critical context of restoration,the contemplative Orders are yet once again being re-founded. The sons and daughters of the saintly Fr. Muard have preserved his fervent desire for a return to the purity of the Rule of St. Benedict with its emphasis on the contemplative monastic life. In thiswork is found the integrity of a life, the sana doctrina, (Titus II, 1) the sane doctrine of the Church as found in the lives of hergreatest saints.   This newest branch of the great Benedictine tree is once again flourishing and the cause for the beatification of Fr. Muard is in Rome.

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