Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae
Logo of the Trappists.
Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé, the founder of the Trappists
|Founder||Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé|
|Founded at||La Trappe Abbey|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
|Headquarters||Viale Africa, 33|
The Trappists, officially known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Latin : Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae, abbreviated as OCSO) and originally named the Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe, are a Catholic religious order of cloistered monastics that branched off from the Cistercians. They follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and have communities of both monks and nuns that are known as Trappists and Trappistines, respectively. They are named after La Trappe Abbey, the monastery from which the movement and religious order originated. The movement first began with the reforms that Abbot Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé introduced in 1664, later leading to the creation of Trappist congregations, and eventually the formal constitution as a separate religious order in 1892.
The order takes its name from La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe, located in the French province of Normandy, where the reform movement began. Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé, originally the commendatory abbot of La Trappe, led the reform. As commendatory abbot, de Rancé was a secular individual who obtained income from the monastery but was not a professed monk and otherwise had no monastic obligations. The second son of Denis Bouthillier, a Councillor of State, he possessed considerable wealth and was earmarked for an ecclesiastical career as coadjutor bishop to the Archbishop of Tours. However, after undergoing a conversion of life between 1660 and 1662, de Rancé renounced his possessions, formally joined the abbey, and became its regular abbot in 1663.
In 1664, in reaction to the relaxation of practices in many Cistercian monasteries, de Rancé introduced an austere reform.de Rancé's reform was first and foremost centered on penitence; it prescribed hard manual labour, silence, a meagre diet, isolation from the world, and renunciation of most studies. The hard labour was in part a penitential exercise, in part a way of keeping the monastery self-supportive so that communication with the world might be kept at a minimum. This movement spread to many other Cistercian monasteries, which took up de Rancé's reforms. In time, these monasteries also spread and created new foundations of their own. These monasteries called themselves "Trappist" in reference to La Trappe, the source and origin of their reforms.
In 1792, during the French Revolution, La Trappe Abbey, like all other monasteries at the time, was confiscated by the French government and the Trappists expelled. Augustin de Lestrange, a monk of La Trappe at that time, led a number of monks to establish a new monastery in the ruined and unroofed former Carthusian charterhouse of Val-Sainte in the Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland, where the monks subsequently carried out an even more austere reform practising the ancient observances of Saint Benedict and the first usages of Cîteaux. In 1794, Pope Pius VI raised Val-Sainte to the status of an abbey and motherhouse of the Trappists, and Dom Augustin was elected the first abbot of the abbey and the leader of the Trappist congregation. However, in 1798, when the French invaded Switzerland, the monks were again exiled and had to roam different countries seeking to establish a new home, until Dom Augustin and his monks of Val-Sainte were finally able to re-establish a community in La Trappe.
In 1834, the Holy See formed all French monasteries into the Congregation of the Cistercian Monks of Notre-Dame de la Trappe, with the abbot of La Trappe being the vicar general of the congregation. However, there were differences in observances between the dependencies of Val-Sainte and those of Notre-Dame de l'Eternité, an abbey itself founded by Val-Sainte in 1795. This led to two different Trappist congregations being formed by decree of the Holy See in 1847. These were named the 'Ancient Reform of Our Lady of La Trappe' and the 'New Reform of Our Lady of La Trappe', the former following the Constitutions of de Rancé, with the latter following the Rule of Saint Benedict combined with the ancient constitution of Cîteaux, except in a few areas prescribed by the Holy See in the same decree.
In 1892, seeking unity amongst the different Trappist observances, the Trappist congregations left the Cistercian Order entirely and merged to form a new order with the approval of Pope Leo XIII named the 'Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe', formalising their identity and spirituality as a separate monastic community.
In 1909, the Trappists of Mariannhill were separated from the rest of the Trappist Order by decree of the Holy See to form the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries.
One of the most notable Trappist theologians was Thomas Merton, a prominent author in the mystic tradition and a noted poet and social and literary critic. He entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1941 where his writings and letters to world leaders became some of the most widely read spiritual and social works of the 20th century. Merton's widely-read works include his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain , as well as New Seeds of Contemplation and No Man is an Island.
The first Trappist saint was Saint Rafael Arnáiz Barón, who was a conventual oblate of the Abbey of San Isidro de Dueñas in Dueñas, Palencia. His defining characteristic was his intense devotion to a religious life and personal piety despite the setbacks of his affliction with diabetes mellitus. He died in 1938 aged 27 from complications of diabetes, and was beatified in 1992 by Pope John Paul II and canonised in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Trappists, like the Benedictines and Cistercians from whom they originate, follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. "Strict Observance" refers to the Trappists' goal of following the Rule closely. They take the three vows described in the Rule (c. 58): stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience.
Saint Benedict's precept to minimise conversation means that Trappists generally speak only when necessary; thus idle talk is strongly discouraged. However, contrary to popular belief, they do not take a vow of silence.According to Saint Benedict, speech disturbs a disciple's quietude and receptivity, and may tempt one to exercise one's own will instead of the will of God. Speech that leads to unkind amusement or laughter is considered evil and is forbidden. A Trappist sign language, one of several monastic sign languages, was developed to render speaking unnecessary. Meals are usually taken in contemplative silence as Trappists listen to a reading.
Unlike the Benedictines and Cistercians,Trappists fully abstain from meat as regards "four-footed animals". They generally live as vegetarians, with their diet mostly consisting of vegetables, beans, and grain products, but they may sometimes eat fish.
Though each monastery is autonomous and may have different rules, generally the stages to enter the Trappist life can be described as follows:
The 48th chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict states "for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands".Following this rule, most Trappist monasteries produce goods that are sold to provide income for the monastery.
The goods produced range from cheeses, bread and other foodstuffs to clothing and coffins, though they are most famousfor Trappist beers, which are unique within the beer world, and are lauded for their high quality and flavour. Monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands, such as La Trappe, Orval Abbey and Westvleteren Abbey, brew beer both for the monks themselves and for sale to the general public. Trappist beers contain residual sugars and living yeast, and, unlike conventional beers, will improve with age. Westvleteren 12 is often considered to be the single best beer in the world.
The Trappist monks of the Tre Fontane Abbey raise the lambs whose wool is used to make the pallia of new metropolitan archbishops. The pope blesses the pallia on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul; the metropolitan archbishops receive those pallia in a separate ceremony within their home dioceses from the hands of the Apostolic Nuncio, who personally represents the pope in their respective countries.
The monks of New Melleray Abbey in rural Peosta, Iowa produce caskets for both themselves and sale to the public.
St. Joseph's Abbey in the town of Spencer, Massachusetts produces the first Trappist beer of the United States. It is named the Spencer Brewery in the Trappist tradition for the town in which it operates.
Cistercian College, Roscrea, a boys' boarding secondary/high school in Ireland, is the only Trappist school left in the world, and one of only two remaining monastic secondary schools in Ireland.
Cistercian monasteries have continued to spread, with many founded outside Europe in the 20th century. In particular, the number of Trappist monasteries throughout the world has more than doubled over the past 60 years: from 82 in 1940 to 127 in 1970, and 169 at the beginning of the 21st century.In 1940, there were six Trappist monasteries in Asia and the Pacific, only one Trappist monastery in Africa, and none in Latin America. Now there are 13 in Central and South America, 17 in Africa, and 23 in Asia and the Pacific. In general, these communities are growing faster than those in other parts of the world.
Over the same period, the total number of monks and nuns in the Order decreased by about 15%. As of 1 January 2018 [update] , there were 1,796 Trappist monks and 1,592 Trappistine nuns across the world.There are on average 25 members per community – less than half those in former times.
The Abbot General and his Council reside in Rome and are generally in charge of the Order's affairs.The present Abbot General is Dom Eamon Fitzgerald of Mount Melleray Abbey in Waterford, Ireland. Every three years, the abbots and abbesses of each branch meet at the Mixed General Meeting, chaired by the Abbot General, to make decisions concerning the welfare of the Order.
As of 2018 [update] , there were 168 Trappist monasteries and convents.
The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of the members' religious habits.
The Cistercians officially the Order of Cistercians, are a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that branched off from the Benedictines and follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also known as Bernardines, after the highly influential Bernard of Clairvaux ; or as White Monks, in reference to the colour of the "cuccula" or white choir robe worn by the Cistercians over their habits, as opposed to the black cuccula worn by Benedictine monks.
Trappist beer is brewed by Trappist monks. Fourteen monasteries—six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one each in Austria, Italy, England, France, Spain and the United States—currently produce Trappist beer as recognized by the International Trappist Association. In addition, the Authentic Trappist Product label is assigned to the beer products of twelve breweries.
Mariawald Abbey was a monastery of the Trappists, located above the village of Heimbach, in the district of Düren in the Eifel, in the forests around Kermeter, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In September 2018, the last remaining monks left Mariawald Abbey and the monastery is currently up for sale.
Soligny-la-Trappe is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France.
The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani is a monastery near Bardstown, Kentucky, in Nelson County, a part of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, better known as the Trappists. Founded on 21 December 1848 and raised to an abbey in 1851, Gethsemani is considered to be the motherhouse of all Trappist and Trappistine monasteries in the United States of America. Gethsemani is the oldest monastery in the United States that is still operating.
The Cluniac Reforms were a series of changes within medieval monasticism of the Western Church focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art, and caring for the poor. The movement began within the Benedictine order at Cluny Abbey, founded in 910 by William I, Duke of Aquitaine (875–918). The reforms were largely carried out by Saint Odo and spread throughout France, into England, and through much of Italy and Spain.
Sept-Fons Abbey, Notre-Dame de Sept-Fons or Notre-Dame de Saint-Lieu Sept-Fons is a Trappist monastery at Diou in Bourbonnais in the diocese of Moulins in France. Around ninety monks currently live in the monastery, many of whom are novices sent from monasteries around the world.
The Abbey of Our Lady of the Mississippi is located near Dubuque, Iowa. The nuns there are members of the branch of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly referred to as Trappistines. They are a part of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Tre Fontane Abbey, or the Abbey of Saints Vincent and Anastasius, is a Roman Catholic abbey in Rome, held by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, better known as Trappists. It is known for raising the lambs whose wool is used to weave the pallia of new metropolitan archbishops. The Pope blesses the lambs on the Feast of Saint Agnes on January 21. The wool is prepared, and he gives the pallia to the new archbishops on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the Holy Apostles.
Cistercian nuns are female members of the Cistercian Order, a religious order belonging to the Roman Catholic branch of the Catholic Church.
Westmalle Abbey otherwise the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle is a monastery of the Cistercians of Strict Observance in Westmalle in the Belgian province of Antwerp.
La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe is a monastery in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France. It is known for being the house of origin of the Trappists, formally known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, to whom it gave its name.
Melleray Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded about the year 1134. It was situated in Brittany, Diocese of Nantes, in La Meilleraye-de-Bretagne in the vicinity of Châteaubriant.
Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey is a monastic community of some fifty Trappistine nuns in Wrentham, Massachusetts. The more complete, formal name of the Order is the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, whose founding at Cîteaux, France dates back to 1098. This community follows the reforms of the Cistercian Order as established by the 17th-century Abbot Armand de Rancé at the Abbey of La Grande Trappe.
Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé was an abbot of La Trappe Abbey and the founder of the Trappists.
The Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity was a Trappist Cistercian monastery in Huntsville, Utah. They were Roman Catholic contemplative monks of an enclosed religious order known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO).
Fransiskus "Frans" Harjawiyata O.C.S.O. was an Indonesian Roman Catholic monastic abbot and member of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, who are more commonly known as the Trappists. Harjawiyata, who was the first Indonesian-born Trappist abbot in the country's history, headed the St. Mary's of Rawaseneng Monastery in Temanggung Regency, Central Java province, from 1978 to 2006. Harjawiyata is credited with helping to develop Christianity in Indonesia by translating Catholic scriptures and chants into Indonesian. He translated the Breviary from Latin into Indonesian, authored several books on spirituality, and composed several Indonesian-language Gregorian chants. His chants are still performed in Catholic churches throughout Indonesia today.
Rawaseneng Monastery is a monastery complex of the Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), popularly known as the Trappists, located in Temanggung Regency, Central Java, Indonesia. The monastery was officially established on 1 April 1953 as a daughter house of Koningshoeven Abbey in Tilburg, Netherlands. Apart from being a residence for the monks, there are also a church, prayer garden, retreat houses, coffee plantations, dairy farms along with the processing industries within the monastery complex. Ronald Bell, a pilgrim from the United States, shares his impression about this place, "You will get all the stages, praying, meditating, contemplating sacred readings, and working. All of those constitute an inseparable part of the experience." Not far from the monastery complex, it lies the Church of Santa Maria dan Yoseph as the center of the Rawaseneng Parish, just ahead of the Kindergarten and Elementary School of Fatima Rawaseneng which are managed by the Dominican nuns.
Claude Vaussin was abbot of Cîteaux from 1643/1645 until 1670, and as such, Abbot General of the Cistercian Order.
... the Order of the Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe (today called the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance [O.C.S.O.], popularly known as the Trappists and Trappistines) was founded in 1892.
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