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Montreuil-les-Dames, Abbey of


Former French Cistercian abbey for nuns, diocese of Laon. Montreuil-les-Dames had been the site of a Benedictine monastery since the 7th century, but was given to a community of cistercian nuns by the bishop, Bartholomew of Laon, in 1136. It was so successful that soon 300 nuns populated the convent, supported by rich donations of land. Upon the insistence of clairvaux, the nuns reduced their number to 100 after having experienced economic difficulties. The defenseless abbey was repeatedly devastated by the wars of the 14th to the 17th centuries, and the nuns forced to seek refuge within the walls of Laon. In the late Middle Ages Montreuil-les-Dames was famous as the shrine of the "Veil of St. Veronica," donated to the convent in 1249. It was actually only an early copy of the one preserved in Rome. The abbey was suppressed by the French Revolution (1791).

Bibliography: u. chevalier, Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen-âge. Topobibliographie, 2 v. (Paris 18941903), 2:2010. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:197374.

[l. j. leaki]

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