The Trappists, officially the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Latin: Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae, abbreviated as OCSO), are a Catholic religious order of cloistered monastics that branched off from the Cistercians. They follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and have communities of both monks and nuns that are referred to as Trappists and Trappistines, respectively. They are named after La Trappe Abbey, the monastery from which the movement and religious order originated.
|Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance|
Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae
Logo of the Trappists.
Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé, the founder of the Trappists
|Founder||Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé|
|Founded at||La Trappe Abbey|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
|Headquarters||Viale Africa, 33|
The order takes its name from La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe, located in the French province of Normandy, where the reform movement began. Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé, originally the commendatory abbot of La Trappe, led the reform. As commendatory abbot, de Rancé was a layman who obtained income from the monastery but was not a professed monk and otherwise had no religious obligations. He possessed considerable wealth and was earmarked for an ecclesiastical career as coadjutor bishop to the Archbishop of Tours. However, after undergoing a conversion of life between 1660 and 1662, de Rancé renounced his possessions, formally joined the abbey, and became its regular abbot in 1663.
In 1664, in reaction to the relaxation of practices in many Cistercian monasteries, de Rancé introduced an austere reform. de Rancé's reform was first and foremost centered on penitence; it prescribed hard manual labour, silence, a meagre diet, isolation from the world, and renunciation of most studies. The hard labour was in part a penitential exercise, in part a way of keeping the monastery self-supportive so that communication with the world might be kept at a minimum. This movement spread to many other Cistercian monasteries, which took up de Rancé's reforms. In time, these monasteries also spread and created new foundations of their own. These monasteries called themselves "Trappist" in reference to La Trappe, the source and origin of their reforms.
In 1892, several congregations of Trappists left the Cistercian order and reformed a new order with the approval of Pope Leo XIII, formalising their identity and spirituality as a separate monastic order.
One of the most notable Trappist theologians was Thomas Merton, a prominent author in the mystic tradition and a noted poet and social and literary critic. He entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1941 where his writings and letters to world leaders became some of the most widely read spiritual and social works of the 20th century. Merton's widely-read works include his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, as well as New Seeds of Contemplation and No Man is an Island.
The first Trappist saint was Saint Rafael Arnáiz Barón, who was a conventual oblate of the Abbey of San Isidro de Dueñas in Dueñas, Palencia. His defining characteristic was his intense devotion to a religious life and personal piety despite the setbacks of his affliction with diabetes mellitus. He died in 1938 aged 27 from complications of diabetes, and was beatified in 1992 by Pope John Paul II and canonised in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Trappists, like the Benedictines and Cistercians from whom they originate, follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. "Strict Observance" refers to the Trappists' goal of following the Rule closely. They take the three vows described in the Rule (c. 58): stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience.
Saint Benedict's precept to minimise conversation means that Trappists generally speak only when necessary; thus idle talk is strongly discouraged. However, contrary to popular belief, they do not take a vow of silence. According to Saint Benedict, speech disturbs a disciple's quietude and receptivity, and may tempt one to exercise one's own will instead of the will of God. Speech that leads to unkind amusement or laughter is considered evil and is forbidden. A Trappist sign language, one of several monastic sign languages, was developed to render speaking unnecessary. Meals are usually taken in contemplative silence as Trappists listen to a reading. Unlike the Benedictines and Cistercians, Trappists fully abstain from meat as regards "four-footed animals". They generally live as vegetarians, with their diet mostly consisting of vegetables, beans, and grain products, but they may sometimes eat fish.
Though each monastery is autonomous and may have different rules, generally the stages to enter the Trappist life can be described as follows:
The 48th chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict states "for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands". Following this rule, most Trappist monasteries produce goods that are sold to provide income for the monastery.
The goods produced range from cheeses, bread and other foodstuffs to clothing and coffins, though they are most famous for Trappist beers, which are unique within the beer world, and are lauded for their high quality and flavour. Monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands, such as La Trappe, Orval Abbey and Westvleteren Abbey, brew beer both for the monks themselves and for sale to the general public. Trappist beers contain residual sugars and living yeast, and, unlike conventional beers, will improve with age. Westvleteren 12 is often considered to be the single best beer in the world.
The Trappist monks of the Tre Fontane Abbey raise the lambs whose wool is used to make the pallia of new metropolitan archbishops. The pope blesses the pallia on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul; the metropolitan archbishops receive those pallia in a separate ceremony within their home dioceses from the hands of the Apostolic Nuncio, who personally represents the pope in their respective countries.
St. Joseph's Abbey in the town of Spencer, Massachusetts produces the first Trappist beer of the United States. It is named the Spencer Brewery in the Trappist tradition for the town in which it operates.
Cistercian College, Roscrea, a boys' boarding secondary/high school in Ireland, is the only Trappist school left in the world, and one of only two remaining monastic secondary schools in Ireland.
Cistercian monasteries have continued to spread, with many founded outside Europe in the 20th century. In particular, the number of Trappist monasteries throughout the world has more than doubled over the past 60 years: from 82 in 1940 to 127 in 1970, and 169 at the beginning of the 21st century. In 1940, there were six Trappist monasteries in Asia and the Pacific, only one Trappist monastery in Africa, and none in Latin America. Now there are 13 in Central and South America, 17 in Africa, and 23 in Asia and the Pacific. In general, these communities are growing faster than those in other parts of the world.
Over the same period, the total number of monks and nuns in the Order decreased by about 15%. There are on average 25 members per community – less than half those in former times. As of 1 January 2018, there were 1,796 Trappist monks and 1,592 Trappistine nuns across the world.
The Abbot General and his Council reside in Rome and are generally in charge of the Order's affairs. The present Abbot General is Dom Eamon Fitzgerald of Mount Melleray Abbey in Waterford, Ireland. Every three years, the abbots and abbesses of each branch meet at the Mixed General Meeting, chaired by the Abbot General, to make decisions concerning the welfare of the Order.
As of 2018, there were 168 Trappist monasteries and convents.
Caldey Abbey is an abbey of the Trappists situated on Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, south of Tenby.
Caldey Island has been known as one of the centres of Cistercian activity since Celtic times and thrived during medieval Europe. However, the current abbey was built in 1910 by Anglican Benedictine monks. At the time of building, the abbey was called "the greatest phenomenon in the Anglican community at the present time". The abbey passed to the Trappist order in 1929. As of 2018, there are about 10 members. They are known for their lavender perfume, shortbread and chocolate production, and opened an online shop in 2001.
The Abbey came under scrutiny in 2017 when some historic instances of child abuse emerged.Charles de Foucauld
Charles Eugène de Foucauld, Viscount of Foucauld, born on September 15, 1858 in Strasbourg (France), died on December 1, 1916 in Tamanrasset (Algeria), was a cavalry officer in the French army, then an explorer and geographer, and finally a catholic priest, hermit who lived amongst the Tuareg in the Sahara in Algeria. He was assassinated in 1916 and is considered by the Catholic Church to be a martyr. His inspiration and writings led to the founding of the Little Brothers of Jesus among other religious congregations. He was beatified on 13 November 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Orphaned at the age of six, Charles de Foucauld was brought up by his maternal grandfather, colonel Beaudet de Morlet. He joined the Saint-Cyr Military Academy. Upon leaving the Academy he opted to join the cavalry. He thus went to the Saumur Cavalry School where he was known for his childish sense of humour, whilst living a life of debauchery thanks to an inheritance he received after his grandfather's death. He was assigned to a regiment. At the age of twenty-three, he decided to resign in order to explore Morocco by impersonating a Jew. The quality of his works earned him a gold medal from the Société de géographie, as well as great fame following publication of his book "Reconnaissance au Maroc" (1888).
Once back in France, he rekindled his catholic faith and joined the cistercian trappist order on January 16, 1890. Still with the Trappists, he then went to Syria. His quest of an even more radical ideal of poverty, altruism, and penitence, lead him to leave the Trappists in order to become a hermit in 1887. He was then living in Palestine, writing his meditations that became the cornerstone of his spirituality.
Ordained in Viviers in 1901, he decided to settle in the Algerian Sahara at Béni Abbès. His ambition was to form a new congregation, but nobody joined him. He lived with the Berbers, adopting a new apostolic approach, preaching not through sermons, but through his example. In order to be more familiar with the Tuareg, he studied their culture for over twelve years, using a pseudonym to publish the first Tuareg-French dictionary. Charles de Foucauld's works are a reference point for the understanding of Tuareg culture.
On December 1st 1916, Charles de Foucauld was assassinated at his hermitage. He was quickly considered to be a martyr and was the object of veneration following the success of the biography written by René Bazin (1921). New religious congregations, spiritual families, and a renewal of hermeticism are inspired by Charles de Foucauld's life and writings.
His beatification process started only eleven years after his death, in 1927. It was interrupted during the Algerian War, resumed later, and Charles de Foucauld was declared Venerable on April 24th 2001 by Pope John Paul II, then Blessed on November 13th 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.Christian dietary laws
In mainstream Nicene Christianity, there is no restriction on kinds of animals that can be eaten. This practice stems from Peter's vision of a sheet with animals, described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 10, in which Saint Peter "sees a sheet containing animals of every description lowered from the sky." Nonetheless, the New Testament does give a few guidelines about the consumption of meat, practiced by the Christian Church today; one of these is not consuming food knowingly offered to pagan idols, a conviction that the early Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen preached. In addition, Christians traditionally bless any food before eating it with a mealtime prayer (grace), as a sign of thanking God for the meal they have.
Slaughtering animals for food is often done without the trinitarian formula, although the Armenian Apostolic Church, among other Orthodox Christians, have rituals that "display obvious links with shechitah, Jewish kosher slaughter." The Bible, states Norman Geisler, stipulates one to "abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meat of strangled animals".In the New Testament, Paul of Tarsus notes that some devout Christians may wish to abstain from consuming meat if it causes "my brother to stumble" in his faith with God (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:13). As such, some Christian monks, such as the Trappists, have adopted a policy of Christian vegetarianism. In addition, Christians of the Seventh-day Adventist tradition generally "avoid eating meat and highly spiced food". Christians in the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Orthodox denominations traditionally observe a meat-free day, especially during the liturgical season of Lent.Cistercians
The Cistercians (), officially the Order of Cistercians (Latin: (Sacer) Ordo Cisterciensis, abbreviated as OCist or SOCist), are a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that branched off from the Benedictines and follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also known as Bernardines, after the highly influential St. Bernard of Clairvaux (though that term is also used of the Franciscan Order in Poland and Lithuania); or as White Monks, in reference to the colour of the "cuccula" or white choir robe worn by the Cistercians over their habits, as opposed to the black cuccula worn by Benedictine monks.
The term Cistercian (French Cistercien), derives from Cistercium, the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. The best known of them were Robert of Molesme, Alberic of Cîteaux and the English monk Stephen Harding, who were the first three abbots. Bernard of Clairvaux entered the monastery in the early 1110s with 30 companions and helped the rapid proliferation of the order. By the end of the 12th century, the order had spread throughout France and into England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially agricultural work in the fields, a special characteristic of Cistercian life. The Cistercians also made major contributions to culture and technology in medieval Europe: Cistercian architecture is considered one of the most beautiful styles of medieval architecture; and the Cistercians were the main force of technological diffusion in fields such as agriculture, hydraulic engineering, and metallurgy.
The original emphasis of Cistercian life was on manual labour and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales. Over the centuries, however, education and academic pursuits came to dominate the life of many monasteries. A reform movement seeking a simpler lifestyle began in 17th-century France at La Trappe Abbey, and became known as the Trappists. The Trappists were eventually consolidated in 1892 into a new order called the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Latin: Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae), abbreviated as OCSO. The Cistercians who did not observe these reforms and remained within the Order of Cistercians and are sometimes called the Cistercians of the Common Observance when distinguishing them from the Trappists.Clement Smyth
Timothy Clement Smyth (February 24, 1810 – September 22, 1865) was an Irish born 19th century bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States. He served as the second bishop of the Diocese of Dubuque following the death of Mathias Loras.Engelszell Abbey
Engelszell Abbey (German: Stift Engelszell) is a Trappist monastery, the only one in Austria. It is located near Engelhartszell an der Donau in the Innviertel in Upper Austria.Franciscus Janssens
Franciscus Janssens OCist (born Albert Henri Lucien; 20 February 1881 – 23 April 1950) was the 76th General Abbot of the Common Observance between 1927 and 1936.Justo Gallego Martínez
Justo Gallego Martínez (also known as Don Justo) (born 20 September 1925 in Mejorada del Campo) is a former monk who has been constructing a cathedral-like building on his own in the town of Mejorada del Campo in the Community of Madrid, Spain, since 1961. Don Justo has named the building Nuestra Señora del Pilar. It has neither any planning permissions, nor the benediction of any church authority.La Trappe Abbey
La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe is a monastery in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France. It is known for being the house of origin of the Trappists, formally known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, to whom it gave its name.Mariawald Abbey
Mariawald Abbey (German: Abtei Mariawald) was a monastery of the Trappists (formally known as the Cistercians of the Strict Observance), located above the village of Heimbach, in the district of Düren in the Eifel, in the forests around Kermeter, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In September 2018, last monks left Mariawald Abbey and the monastery should be sold.Martinus Dom
Dom Martinus Dom, O.C.R., (24 December 1791 – 9 December 1873) was a Belgian Trappist monk. He served as the first abbot of the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle, where he founded the Westmalle Brewery.Murder of the monks of Tibhirine
On the night of 26–27 March 1996, seven monks of the Trappist order from the Atlas Abbey of Tibhirine near Médéa, Algeria were kidnapped during the Algerian Civil War. They were held for two months, and found dead in late May 1996. The circumstances of their kidnapping and death remain controversial; the Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armé, GIA) claimed responsibility for both, but in 2009, retired General François Buchwalter reported that the monks were killed by the Algerian army.Nicholas Kao Se Tseien
Nicholas Kao Se Tseien O.C.S.O. (traditional Chinese: 高師謙; simplified Chinese: 高师谦; pinyin: Gāo Shīqiān; 15 January 1897 – 11 December 2007), was a Chinese Roman Catholic priest living in Hong Kong who had been the oldest living Catholic priest and was the oldest ever person to have had a cataract operation according to the Guinness Book of World Records.Soligny-la-Trappe
Soligny-la-Trappe is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France.
Soligny-la-Trappe is the location of La Trappe Abbey, where the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, or Trappists, was founded in 1664 by a converted courtier named Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé.Sremič
Sremič (pronounced [ˈsɾeːmitʃ]) is a dispersed settlement in the hills north of the town of Krško in eastern Slovenia. The area was traditionally part of Styria and is now included with the rest of the municipality in the Lower Sava Statistical Region.There is a small chapel in the settlement. It is dedicated to John the Baptist and was built in 1862 by the local Trappists on their land.Staouéli
Staouéli is a municipality in Algiers province, Algeria. It is located in Zéralda district, on a Presque-isle on the Mediterranean Sea, hosting the resort town of Sidi Fredj. There was a Grand Prix circuit located in Staouéli. Grands Prix were held there from 1928–1930, but the circuit is no longer operational.In 1843 the Trappists obtained a grant of 2500 acres of land on the site of the Battle of Staouéli (fought on June 19, 1830 during the French conquest of Algeria). Here they have built a monastery where some 100 monks lived and worked. On the wall of the monastery is the inscription: S'il est triste de vivre à la Trappe, qu'il est doux d'y mourir (While it is sad to live here, it is sweet to die here).Tarrawarra, Victoria
Tarrawarra is a town in Victoria, Australia, 45 km north-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the Shire of Yarra Ranges.
It was originally known as View Hill estate, and was purchased in 1893 by David Syme, owner and publisher of The Age newspaper, who expanded it and gave it its present name, which is of Aboriginal origin. The name refers to "slow waters", describing the local arc in the Yarra River. The Post Office opened on 4 June 1900 and closed in 1957.Tarrawarra railway station opened with the opening of the Healesville line on 1 March 1889 and closed with the line on 9 December 1980. The station is now under the control of the Yarra Valley Railway who are working towards reopening the line from Healesville through Tarrawarra to Yarra Glen.
In 1954 Cistercian Monks from Ireland purchased one section of the property comprising 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), including the large house built by David Syme for his daughter and established Tarrawarra Abbey of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists). Since that time the community has built additional buildings including a large library in 2006. The monks support themselves by operating a beef farm and by Tarrawarra Eucharistic Breads.
Another section of the original estate today is TarraWarra Estate winery which opened in 1983 and which produces chardonnay and pinot noir.Thomas Keating
For the art forger of the same name, see Tom Keating.
For the American football player of the same name, see Tom Keating (American football)
Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O. (March 7, 1923 – October 25, 2018) was an American Roman Catholic monk and priest of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (also known as Trappists). Keating was known as one of the principal developers of Centering Prayer, a contemporary method of contemplative prayer that emerged from St. Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts.William Meninger
William Meninger, O.C.S.O. is an American Trappist monk who is a noted spiritual teacher and a principal developer of Centering Prayer, a method of prayer which has become widespread throughout the world.