Saint-Calais, Abbey of
SAINT-CALAIS, ABBEY OF
Former benedictine abbey in the Diocese of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. It was first mentioned by gregory of tours (576), who called it Anninsola or Anille. It was founded supposedly by Carileffus (or Calais) and his companions Daumerus and Gall (c. 515–542) and renamed Saint-Calais some time after 752 in honor of Carileffus, whose body reputedly rested there. Its first known abbots were Sigiramnus and St. Siviard (d. 683) who obtained territorial rights from King Thierry III. The controversy with Bp. Robert of Le Mans over the abbey's autonomy was resolved in the abbey's favor by the Council of Verberie (863) with the acquiescence of Pope Nicholas I. Although abandoned and destroyed during the late 9th-century norman invasions, the abbey was rebuilt during the 10th and 11th centuries. Though allied with the English during the Hundred Years' War, the abbey was burned (c. 1424–29) by the Duke of Bedford. Its greatest medieval abbot was Jean Tibergeau (d. 1415). In 1562 the Calvinists pillaged it. Following vain efforts at reform, particularly under Samuel de Courianne (d.1614), the maurists took possession in 1659. A portion of the relics of St. Carileffus, transferred to Blois in the 9th century, were returned in 1663; the remainder was restored by Bp. H. B. grÉgoire, Constitutional Bishop of Blois. When the monastery was suppressed during the French Revolution, the church (dating from 1360) became a parish church and the cloister a municipal building.
Bibliography: É. lesne, "Nicolas I et les libertés des monastères des Gaules," Moyen-âge 24 (1911) 277–306. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:2625. p. schmitz, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912–) 11:333–334. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienneet de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 1907–53) 15.1:482–498. l. renard, Saint-Calais: Des Origines à la Révolution française (Saint-Calais 1945).
[g. e. gingras]