Extinct French monastic order, named after the motherhouse, Val-des-Choux (Vallis Caulium), founded in 1193 in a remote wilderness by Ven. Viard (Guy), a Carthusian lay brother of Lugny. Land for the foundation was granted by the Duke of Burgundy. The order's life and discipline were based on the Rule of St. Benedict as interpreted by Cîteaux, but the monks wore the habit of the Carthusians. They lived a rigid community life, and observed strict silence and perpetual abstinence. Their source of livelihood was agricultural labor, but the Caulites never accepted or cultivated land beyond the immediate neighborhood of the monastery. The prosperous organization spread quickly and incorporated about 30 houses in France, Scotland, Spain, and Portugal during the 13th century. The head of the order was the grand prior of Val-des-Choux; priors governed the subordinate houses and convened each year for a general chapter. The first constitution was approved by Innocent III in 1205, but it was moderated in 1226 by order of Honorius III. In the 16th century wars and the commendatory system weakened the order to such an extent that by the 18th century only a few depopulated houses remained. After vain efforts at reform, the Grand Prior, Chevenet, with the approval of Dorothée Jalloutz, the abbot of sept-fons, merged with the flourishing community of reformed Cistercians of that monastery. In 1761 the union was sanctioned by Clement XIII. The Cistercians rebuilt and repopulated Val-des-Choux, renamed it Val-Saint-Lieux, but in 1791 it was suppressed, as were all monastic establishments, by the Revolution. During the 19th century the monastic buildings housed various industrial projects while the church was left in ruins.
Bibliography: beaunier, Abbayes et prieurés de l'ancienne France, ed. j. m. l. besse, 12 v. (Paris 1905–41). p. vermeer, "Cîteaux: Val-des-Choux," Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum 15 (1954) 35–44. h. wolter, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 6:95.
[l. j. lekai]