Bénard, Laurent

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Benedictine reformer and founder of the Congregation of Saint Maur; b. Nevers, France, 1573; d. Paris, April 20, 1620. Laurent entered the Monastery of St. Stephen, Nevers, then a dependency of Cluny. He studied at Bourges and Paris, becoming a doctor of the Sorbonne. After his ordination he devoted himself to preaching. As prior of the College of Cluny at Paris, he reintroduced cloister and other necessary reforms. He was associated with the founder of the Congregation of St. Vanne, Dom Didier de la Cour, in reforming French monasteries. Laurent was visitor for the Abbey of Fontevrault and helped to reestablish observance at the Abbey of Montmartre. In May of 1618, a general chapter of reformed Benedictines commissioned him to form a congregation independent of Lorraine. Six months later, the newly founded Congregation of Saint Maur held its first chapter at the Monastery of Blancs-Manteaux. Laurent had applied to Rome for a bull of erection, but he died before it was promulgated. His writings deal mainly with religious topics, especially with the Benedictine rule and life.

Bibliography: j. franÇois, Bibliothèque générale des écrivains de l'Ordre de Saint Benoît, 4 v. (Bouillon 1777-78; reprint Louvain 1961) 1:106107. b. heurtebize, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912) 7:1028-30. r. p. tassin, Histoire littéraire de la congrégation de Saint-Maur (Brussels 1770).

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Bénard, Laurent

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