la Trappe, Abbey of
LA TRAPPE, ABBEY OF
Or Maison-Dieu Notre Dame de la Trappe (Lat., Domus Dei de Trappa ), Cistercian abbey founded in 1140 near Mortagne, France, in the Diocese of Séez, by Rotrou III, count of Perche. The first religious were monks from Breuil-Benoît of the Congregation of savigny, sent there by the founder. In 1147 the Congregation of Savigny joined the order of cÎteaux as a filiation of clairvaux. The abbey prospered during the administration of Bl. Adam. During the 14th century the abbey was burned by the English. Commendatory abbots in the 16th century brought a spirit of relaxation to the community. Later one of them, Armand le Bouthillier de rancÉ, renounced his worldly life, took the religious habit, and spent his novitiate in the Abbey of Perseigne in the Province of Maine. In 1664 he became a regular abbot at La Trappe. After meeting with much initial resistance, he was able to reestablish discipline. Thus the trappist reform began; it was adopted by several monasteries of the order. During the French Revolution, Augustin de Lestrange, master of novices, left with a group of monks to seek refuge outside France, first in Switzerland at the Carthusian convent of La Valsainte. Later he traveled through Europe, attracting many vocations. He returned to France in 1815 and was able to restore the Abbey of La Trappe. The present monastery, rebuilt in 1895, is still occupied by the reformed cistercians.
Bibliography: Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Notre-Dame de la Trappe (Alençon 1889). h. de charencey, Histoire de l'abbaye de la Grande-Trappe, 2 v. (Mortagne 1896–1911). l. f. du bois, Histoire civile, religieuse, et littéraire de l'abbaye de la Trappe (Paris 1824). h. tournoÜer, Bibliographie et iconographie de la Maison-Dieu, N.-D. de la Trappe (Mortagne 1894). Odyssée monastique: Dom A. de Lestrange et les Trappistes pendant la Révolution (Soligny-la-Trappe 1898). m. a. dimier, La Sombre Trappe: Les Légendes et la vérité (Paris 1946).
[m. a. dimier]