Dom Jean Leclercq: Does a pure “Benedictinism” exist?

Dom Jean Leclerq, OSB
A school of Benedictine spirituality:
the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration

From Catherine Mectilde de Bar, Non date tregua a Dio: Lettere alle monache 1641-1697 (Milan: Jaca Book, 1978), pp. 11-24. Translated from the Italian by a Benedictine monk of Silverstream Priory.

The works brought to completion in 1975 for the centenary of the death of Dom Guéranger made it possible to show the Benedictine authenticity and, at the same time, the cultural limits of the monastic restoration of which he was the craftsman at Solesmes, of those in other nations which derived from or were influenced by his, and of all those of the 19th century. Authenticity and limits: these two terms are suitable for all the foundations and restorations which have taken place in the course of an ancient tradition of fifteen centuries. There is a publication underway which invites us to verify this hypothesis regarding one of the institutes of Benedictine life which has lived the longest, without interruptions, even to our own day: it is the documentation on Catherine de Bar, foundress of the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration in the 17th century.1 Right from the first of these volumes, it appears clearly that the “authenticity” has a much greater place than the “limits.”

1. Diverse influences and Benedictine synthesis
It is not necessary here to trace the well-known biography of Catherine de Bar, but rather to discern the traditions in which her work sinks its roots. So it will be sufficient first to recall briefly the principal dates of her existence.2 Born in Lorraine in 1614, she entered in 1631 and made profession in 1633 in the monastery of the Annonciades at Bruyères, which a war devastated and forced to disperse. She passed then in 1638 to the Benedictines of Rambervillers, who were in the current of reform of the Vannists, and she made profession the following year. Obliged to emigrate again, from Lorraine she arrived in France; she stayed in the monastery of the Benedictines of Montmartre, established a small monastery close to that of the Benedictine monks of Saint-Maur-des Fossés, and came in contact with Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

In 1653 she founded her institute, whose houses very soon multiplied in France and especially in Normandy, as well as in Lorraine and in Poland; after her death, which occurred in 1698, it would extend itself into still other countries of Europe. Today it counts forty monasteries.

In the different regions in which she lived, and in the successive stages of her existence, she was marked by a number of influences. That which she received from Lorraine has been underlined by a specialist in the history of the province, M. Pierre Marot.3 A master of 17th century spirituality, Louis Cognet, has added his valuable contribution.4 Among the Annonciades, where Catherine lived at the beginning, the spirituality was inspired by the mystics of the North and by Benet Canfield: hence there was a great insistence on interiority and on the mystical life.5 But the monastery of Rambervillers, where she settled, was under the influence of the Congregation of Saint-Vanne, which represented a rigorous reform, fruitful in doctrinal writings of a very traditional character.6 Its founder, Dom Didier de la Cour, had had as a disciple Dom Antoine de Lescale, who had favored* Catherine’s entrance into the Benedictines.7 Later, in Lorraine, she was helped by the Premonstratensian Canon d’Etival*8, who would ever afterwards remain connected to her, send her spiritual letters, and compose works of Benedictine spirituality for her and her institute: no air-tight divisions existed between the different traditions, and the greatest spirits knew how to respect and encourage those to which they did not belong. Thus, the celebrated Mère de Blémur, a Benedictine, published a life of Saint Peter Fourier, the reformer of a congregation of Canons Regular of Saint Augustine. And when the nuns from Lorraine settled in Paris, they were protected by Saint Vincent de Paul.9

At Paris, Catherine de Bar lived at first in an environment which was heir to a Benedictine tradition coming from the Middle Ages, but which did not exclude the riches transmitted by other spiritual currents: in fact the Abbess of Montmartre, Marie de Beauvilliers, was “very intimate with the Capuchins and the Oratorians and, among the Capuchins, in first place naturally with Benet Canfield.” For him “the whole life of piety is summed up in union with the will of God. God is essentially the Divine Will…” This tendency was completed—we might* be tempted to say “corrected”—by that which came to Catherine during her stay in Normandy from Jean de Bernières, the founder of a house for retreats, called “l’Hermitage” and situated near an Ursuline monstery in which he had a sister.

Now, like Father de Condren and Father de Saint-Jure who also exercised an influence on Catherine, Bernières had a spirituality totally centered on Christ. At Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, Catherine’s spiritual director was the Capuchin Father Chrysostom de Saint-Lô, who was also director of Bernières. Hence, as the objective connoisseur Cognet has observed, during this whole period preceding the foundation of her institute, Catherine de Bar received diverse influences which she knew how to “assimilate so as to make of them a personal synthesis.”10

2. The decisive influence of the Maurists
Nonetheless, it was above all during what one could call her “Maurist period” that the distinctive* spirituality of Catherine de Bar, now* become Mother Mechtilde of the Most Holy Sacrament, received its definitive orientation. The idea of founding an institute where perpetual adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament would be practiced had come to her from Lorraine, where, as Calvinism was spreading everywhere, there was a desire to make up for its self-proclaimed* refusal to acknowledge the Real Presence. This manner of reacting, with devotion or theology, was not without precedent in monasticism. Long ago a monk of Liège, Alger, before entering at Cluny, had written to refute certain errors whose origin went back to Berengarius of Tours, and which had spread at Liège at the beginning of the 12th century.11 Thus, in the spiritual surroundings which Mother Mechtilde frequented, it was suggested to her to found “a congregation which, while preserving the Benedictine observance, would nonetheless introduce adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament—something to which [the observance] lends itself admirably, given the liturgical orientation of its piety.”12 It was at this time that she received valuable help from the monks of the Congregation of St. Maur, and in a special way from those of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Since these facts have already been established and documented elsewhere,13 here it will suffice simply to recall them. The prior of Saint-Germain at the time was Dom Placide Roussel. It was he who in 1656 drew up the document* of the formalities for the foundation at Paris. The religious sisters promised to recognize him as “their ordinary superior, to guide them in both temporal and spiritual matters.” In 1659 his successor, Dom Bernard Andebert, confirmed that the monastery situated in the Rue Cassette was “under his spiritual jurisdiction.” Mother Mechtilde did not leave the Rue Cassette. Until her death she remained in connection with the religious of Saint-Germain and especially with Dom Ignace Philibert, their superior. He took in hand the interests of the new monastery of Benedictine nuns during the whole time he remained in Paris, that is until his death which occurred in 1667. “He established a commission of twelve members, including Dom Andebert, superior general of the reformed Congregation of Cîteaux. These were of the opinion that a congregation to sustain perpetual adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament was absolutely necessary*, and they charged Mother Mechtilde with drafting its statutes.” But Documents historiques tells us that the Mother, “not being able to work for this end, both because of the frequent journeys to which she was obliged for the foundations of the Institute, and because of the need to guide her community in the little time that remained, found herself obliged to ask [Dom Andebert] himself to draft them, seeing that he had much more competence than she in this sort of thing, having experience of the Congregation of St. Maur, within which he had also governed for so long several of their first houses. “It was to the Prior of Saint-Germain, in August 1654, that Mother Mechtilde had proposed blessing a great relief image of the Mother of God, who would be considered the Superior of the Institute. A little later, on 24 August, Mother Mechtilde submitted to the Prior the act which she had compiled to dedicate her monastery to Our Lady. By doing this, the Benedictines of Rue Cassette restored to its vigor an ancient devotion practiced since the 11th century at Marcilly, under the influence of Cluny. One can imagine that the erudition of the Maurists was not unrelated to this restoration of a Medieval usage. Dom Bernard Andebert, monk of Saint-Germain, ‘permitted that the aforesaid offering and its renewal should take place every year on the day of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin….’”14

The monks of Saint-Germain did not only help the Benedictines of Rue Cassette in the governance of their community. They exercised a direct and decisive influence on the spiritual orientation of the entire congregation of the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament. When needed, they lent their pen and their talents: in 1696 Dom Mabillon composed in the Prioress’ name a long and beautiful circular letter on the death of Madame de Blémur. In 1702 a writing signed by all the nuns and directed to the Prior of Saint-Germain thanks him for a conference which he gave and asks him to continue helping them. On 22 August 1668 Mother Mechtilde besought the Prior of Saint-Germain “to approve and confirm the Bull of erection of their congregation, obtained from Monsignor Vendôme at the time he was legate”; and after the approval of the congregation and its constitutions by Alexander VII, the Benedictines submitted to the Prior of Saint-Germain the formula of profession. In 1686 Mother Mechtilde had the Spiritual Exercises, or Practice of the Rule of St. Benedict for the use of the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, printed for her daughters. Now, this is almost nothing other than the work of Dom Claude Martin, entitled, The Practice of the Rule of St. Benedict.

This book, declares Mother Mechtilde in a letter published at the beginning of the volume, “can also justly be called ‘the Benedictine way of life’*; it could suffice us for bringing us to the perfection of our state.” For this reason, she did not seek a different plan from that adopted by Dom Claude Martin. She is almost always content with putting the expressions in the feminine; rarely does she modify the wording or propose a different practice. In the chapter on stability, she adapts to the stability in the enclosure befitting nuns what was said about stability in the congregation, which was particular to the Maurists. If new chapters were inserted in the service of the proper spirit of the Benedictines of “Perpetual Adoration” and of the practices which derive from this, such as “In what spirit one should make reparation” or “On duties to the holy Virgin as first and perpetual Abbess,” these do not destroy in the least the homogeneity of the whole and they merge with the spirituality and teaching which spring from the work. Mother Mechtilde is not afraid to affirm that “even if we should lose all the other books, we would always find in this one something to console us,” because “it is not lacking in all that is necessary to elevate the soul to the holiness of life to which we must aspire and which our profession requires of us.” Hence, the identity of interpretation of the Rule of St. Benedict among the Maurists and the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament is attested by the Foundress of the latter; for their part, Dom Brachet, who gave permission for the printing, and Dom Claude Bretagne, then Prior of Saint-Germain, who granted the approbation, confirm this agreement. The monks of Saint-Germain exercised a great influence on the Benedictines who, from Rue Cassette, spread thereafter to different regions of France and numerous nations of Europe. The community of Paris has now been transferred. Until the Revolution the monks of Saint-Germain helped that house, although in general they were neither chaplains nor confessors. The other monasteries of the Most Holy Sacrament situated at Rouen, Caen, Châtillon, Dreux, and Bayeux also benefited from the ministry of the monks of Saint-Germain. As for the houses in Lorraine, that is, at Rambervillers, Toul, and Nancy, they were placed under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Congregation of Saint-Vanne. Currently the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament of Mas-Grenier, in Tarn-et- Garonne, occupy the old monastery of the Maurists. In 1705 two monks of Saint-Germain, Dom Guillaume Laparre and Dom Claude de Vic, busied themselves at Rome to obtain the definitive approval of the Constitutions of the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament. And in our days, in numerous places, they keep alive a spiritual tradition directly inspired by that of the Congregation of Saint Maur.

3. The permanent values of a spirituality
If we seek now to single out the dominant characteristics of this spirituality, we can reduce
them to three.
1) First of all we find an authentic Christocentrism, that is, in conformity with the purest theological and spiritual tradition. This is explained by the influence of Bérulle, of Condren, of Olier, the great representatives of the “French School” of the time, but above all the influence of Sacred Scripture and particularly of Saint Paul, the whole being integrated in an interior attitude molded by the Liturgy. Certainly, this devotion to Christ is centered on the Eucharist, this mystery about which so many monks, from the 9th to the 12th century, had written;15 but the Jesus Who is celebrated and adored in It is considered, as in the Liturgy, in His Paschal aspect: “You are dead,” teaches Mother Mechtilde, “and your life is hidden in Jesus Christ.”16 A traditional theme par excellence,17 as is also its necessary complement: the passage from death “to the new life in Jesus Christ, which is the very grace of Christianity.” In fact, Baptism, by incorporating us into Christ, renders us capable of participating in His Priesthood, in His “quality of Priest and Victim.” In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Christ offers Himself and we offer ourselves with Him and in Him. This is the exercise of the royal priesthood of the faithful, brought back to light by Vatican II! This, it seems to us, is the basis of her doctrine: and it is the same as that of the Church,
expressed in the manner of her time, with a noteworthy constancy. She takes great care to highlight how this quality of “victim” which she gives to her daughters “is not a new quality, it is a title which Jesus Christ impressed on you with Baptism.” We have seen that it is the priesthood of the faithful. For her, perpetual adoration is not only a homage to the Eucharistic Presence; it should be “a universal renewal of all our life and of all our actions”; for this reason she also calls it “actual adoration.”* It is the practice, the means, and the sign of that Paschal life which is the fruit of the Eucharist. And this by extension of the grace of the Sacrifice in us and in the world. In this way she unites, in a vital way, adoration and reparation. Because—let us note well—the “reparation” directed to Christ in the Eucharist is always presented by her as a participation in the mystery of the Redemption, in our humble
post as redeemed creatures, as members of the Church, which continues this redemptive gestation “until His return.” She insists on this in a special way: “There is no one other than Christ Jesus Who can repair His glory and that of His Father.” Everything consists in this: “becoming Christ Jesus.”18 All asceticism derives from this contemplation of Christ, from this participation in His redemptive contemplation. This teaching is found marvelously developed in a Retreat written in 1662, of which we shall give at least some extracts:

It remains to say […] in what consists this perpetual immolation which the Daughters of the Most Holy Sacrament are bound to make every day, in order to imitate, as much as possible, Jesus Christ immolated unceasingly to His Father. This perpetual immolation, my sisters, requires two things. First: the pure gaze on God always, as Jesus always gazes on His Father. Second: forgetfulness of ourselves with a wise indifference to an infinity of trifles which make us turn back on ourselves in so many ways. […] This is the obligation of the Christian, but it is doubly so for a daughter of the Most Holy Sacrament: to become as much as possible like her Father. Continue, then, to contemplate what Jesus does in this august Mystery: see how He has nothing else in view but the glory of God, how He forgets His own interests. “Yes, my sisters, this is marvelous: Jesus enters into our hearts to celebrate in us an eternal sacrifice, divine, of an infinite merit; this should make us love Holy Communion, because He fulfills in us the office of high Priest and supreme Sacrificer, immolating Himself for [or “through”] the soul who receives Him and rendering a homage of infinite glory to God His Father with His divine sacrifice. 19

But let us leave this subject, so as to continue showing the two actions which Jesus continually carries out in the Host. The first is an ongoing* gaze at His Father, the second is the salvation of men; and these are the motives of our vocation in our institute:20 the glory of God and zeal for the conversion of sinners, especially of the profaners of this sacred Mystery. […] “You are sinners, my sisters, personally and in your brethren. You have sacrificed yourselves to obtain pardon and to repair, if it is possible, the glory stolen from God. You do what Jesus did, although certainly in an infinitely dissimilar manner: therefore you should be resolved to be treated as He. This will never happen to an infinite degree, you would not be capable of it, but according to God’s good pleasure and to the degree that will be necessary to satisfy His justice. 21

This is the exact opposite of a sentimental and individualistic piety. The greatest representatives of the monastic tradition would have recognized themselves in it.

2) Another characteristic of Mother Mechtilde’s teaching is constituted by her attachment to the life and the Rule of Saint Benedict.22 From the saint’s biography she remembers especially the last of the marvelous facts narrated by Saint Gregory,23 as she herself declares in a writing entitled On the spirit of Saint Benedict:

If you ask me, my sisters, whence I take what I have said, I dare to assure you that this concerns a secret which it was granted to me to discover in the death of our most holy Patriarch; who, wishing to bear witness to his love for the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, could do so no better than by expiring in Its holy Presence. Thus did he render up the last gasps of his heart to that adorable Host, so that his sentiments, enclosed in the sacred ciborium, could in time generate sons of his Order who would, to the end of the world, offer adoration, homage, and continual acts of love and of reparation. […] If it were permitted to me to describe in detail the spirit and the dispositions which a Benedictine ought to have, you would see that, practicing faithfully the holy Rule, she would be similarin everything to a Host, and in Eucharistic adoration would enter into a marvelous relationship with Jesus.24

So do you not see, my sisters, that Saint Benedict dies standing up, in order to make us understand that he is making to blossom, in an exertion of love, the holy institute which we profess? He conceives it in the Eucharist, so that it might be born more than twelve-hundred years later! 25

Regarding the Rule of St. Benedict, Mother Mechtilde preserves all of its fundamental observances: “The relation and the connection which exists between the Rule of the great Patriarch and the institute of Perpetual Adoration required that this holy Rule should be its basis and foundation; indeed, those who belong to the institute should lead a life austere, penitent and very separated from the world, in order to be true victims and worthy reparatresses, and this holy Rule contains all this in an outstanding way…”26 Her contemporaries, in fact, attest that these religious “follow the Rule of St. Benedict with the most rigorous exactness”;27 “they bring to life again the ancient Rule of St. Benedict and the primitive rigor of its observance, and may it please* God to raise up every so often religious who, aspiring to a holy reform of their Order, may serve as an instrument to bring it about.”28 They merit, therefore, the title of “reformed religious” of this Order.29

3) Finally, Mother Mechtilde recovers instinctively, and because she knows the tradition to which she belongs, various practices which had been handed on ever since the Middle Ages: we have already noted this regarding Our Lady the Abbess;30 it is the same for the devotion to St. John united to Mary at the foot of the Cross, 31 for the clothing ad succurrendum which permits persons who have lived in the world to “die with the habit of the Order,”32 for the very symbolism of this habit, a sign of “life hidden to the world and separated from the world” and a reminder of the Cross of Christ.33

4. Does a pure “Benedictinism” exist?
After having gone back over this long history, longer than that of the majority of Benedictine congregations currently existing, we must pose this question, for two reasons: above all because, as has been seen, the Benedictine tradition was not the only one to exercise its influence on Mother Mechtilde, especially in the period before the foundation of her Institute; and then because, in fact, objections are occasionally raised against their character as “pure Benedictines,” on three counts: they go back only to the 17th century, they bear the stamp of the French school, and in their spirituality importance is given to “reparation.” Such remarks require some reflections and suggest some comparisons. These will be taken from the general history of Benedictine life and also from the conditions in which this life has been lived and is still lived today.

The 17th century tradition and the others
Any judgment about an institution which has a history supposes an exact concept of what the tradition is and what it is not: it is not identified with the ancient or recent past, nor with a bygone period considered, more or less arbitrarily, as privileged. The tradition is the current of life which runs through and animates the entire development of a spiritual organism, whether personal or collective, right from its origins.34 Hence, it benefits from the contribution of all eras, without being reduced to any of them, while legitimately placing the accent on this or that datum transmitted by them. It therefore entails a choice, or choices, among this inheritance; and since it can never reach a totality, by this very fact it runs the risk of an impoverishment. But it is normal, and even inevitable, that it assumes and makes more or less its own the values proper to the time in which it is lived, and in this there is a source of enrichment.

This type of historical law could be illustrated in the light of many examples. In the English Benedictine Congregation, a 17th-century author, Dom Augustine Baker, has been and is considered as a classic of that institution’s spirituality; now, he owes very much to the non-Benedictine writings of the Devotio moderna, to Carmelites and Jesuits, and above all to two Capuchins: Benet Canfield (by whom, as we have seen, Mother Mechtilde was also inspired) and Constantin de Barbanson.35 A “monk of the 20th century, a witness of the liturgical renewal,” even points out in him this “lacuna”: “The liturgy: in this work written for Benedictines, does it occupy perchance the post which we would have expected? One must confess that it does not.”36 But probably the criteria of Benedictinism derived from Solesmes in the 19th century are not at all fitting for the Benedictinism of other times and other lands. In France in the 19th century, Père Muard, not only before his “novitiate à la Trappe” but even afterwards, might make one think that “there is an inescapable closeness between him, founder of La Pierre-qui-Vire, and Saint Francis of Assisi: he himself would not have denied it.”37 And to recognize, for example, that “Dom Guéranger and Père Muard had entirely different monastic conceptions”38 does not imply any judgment on the greater or lesser Benedictine “purity” of one or the other. As for Dom Guéranger, it is not necessary to repeat here how much he was imbued with the ideas of his own time, while at times having just and profound intuitions about Benedictine life; we recall just for the record* that he was inspired greatly by the Constitutions of the Congregation of Saint Maur,39 the same ones which had been at the basis of the Constitutions of the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration.

Later, at Sainte-Cécile de Solesmes, an abbess, Cécile Bruyère, sought to introduce into the monastic spirituality of the West certain ideas inspired by Pseudo-Dionysius,40 which constituted an innovation. And one could go on, citing examples of the same kind furnished by the restorations and foundations which go from the end of the 1800s through all the 1900s. In short, an institution is no less “purely Benedictine” because it is ancient, just as another is not because it is recent; and the spirituality of the Vannists and the Maurists is as valid as those which had to be established later, after an interruption of the historical continuity owing to the revolutionary crisis and the reactions that this provoked.

The influence of the French school
It will not be necessary* to speak of this at length, when, regarding Dom Guéranger, we note with his most recent biographer that “the authors of the French school will always the object of his admiration,”41 for which it would be in poor taste to criticize him. We merely point out that the French school includes spiritual currents which differ greatly among themselves. In this regard, it is not without interest to observe that Mother Mechtilde seems to have realized her synthesis outside of the movement of devotion to the Sacred Heart which, encouraged above all by the Jesuits, developed in many religious milieus.42 Like all the Catholics of her time, she gave a place in her teaching to the Sacred Heart,43 but in a manner in conformity with the Benedictine tradition.44

Reading the texts of Mother Mechtilde, we cannot avoid two impressions. First of all, it is clear that reparation is nothing other than a different name for that which has always been called penance and which today we prefer to reconnect with the concept of reconciliation.45 If we find in her an insistence on the compensation to be made for the denials of which the Real Presence was the object, this is of the same order as that which in the 19th century led numerous restorers of monasticism to want to “repair” the impieties of the French Revolution and its consequences, and those of their contemporaries. On this point, Mother Mechtilde participates in the religious culture of the 17th century, as did Père Muard and Dom Guéranger in that of the 19th. All the same, and this is the second consideration, the forms of devotion to the Sacred Heart which would enjoy the preferences of the monastic circles of this last era [the 19th century] would be closer to those of the tradition coming from Paray-le-Monial than was the case with Mother Mechtilde.

In short, among the Vannists, the Maurists, and the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament, one same authentic sense of liturgical life was expressed, only in a different manner: more marked in the 17th century by simplicity than by solemnity, although the love of the beautiful was not excluded from it. They [the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament] have the same preferences: for simplicity, regarding titles, insignia, and dignities of superiors and superioresses; and for the ceremonious forms with which they manifest respect towards each other.* One cannot say that one of these mentalities is more traditional and more “purely Benedictine” than the other, unless one wishes to reserve these qualifications [only]* for the most ancient inheritance. This recalling of the past confirms the conclusion to which the general history of monasticism has been leading: the greatest reserve is necessary for one who wishes to speak of what is “purely Benedictine” and what is not, if “purely” is meant to signify “without any mixture.” No institute of this name is “pure” in this sense, and all those are “authentic” which safeguard the monastic character of the life established by the Rule of St. Benedict, whatever may be the forms of devotion which have accompanied this element along the centuries.

1 Catherine de Bar, 1614-1698. Mère Mectilde du Saint-Sacrement, Fondatrice de l’Institut des Bénédictines de l’Adoration Perpétuelle du
Très Saint-Sacrement de l’Autel. Documents Historiques. Ecrits spirituels. 1640-1670 (Rouen: Bénédictines du Saint-Sacrement,
1973). (Hereafter cited as DH)
idem. Lettres inédites (Rouen, 1976). (cited as LI)
idem. Fondation de Rouen (Rouen, 1977). (cited as FR)
Catherine Mechtilde de Bar, Il sapore di Dio, Scritti spirituali (1652-1675) (Milan: Jaca Book, 1977) (cited as SD)
2 A “Chronologie de la vie de Mère Mectilde” is found in Catherine de Bar, DH, p. 325, and a Bibliographie at ibid., pp. 329-
31; in addition, Y. Chaussy, Les Bénédictines et la réforme catholique en France au XVIIe siècle (Paris, 1975), pp. 371-77, has a brief
and dense biography of Mother Mechtilde.
3 DH, Préface, pp. 7-21.
4 Cf. SD, pp. 7-28.
5 Ibid., L. Cognet, pp. 6-12.
6 “Spiritualité vanniste et tradition monastique,” in Revue d’ascetique et mystique 36 (1960), pp. 214-31.
7 DH, pp. 16, 220, 249.
8 Dom Epiphane Louys, abbot of the Premonstratensians of Etival (Vosges). Born at Nancy in 1615, in 1633 [sic]** he got to know Mother Mechtilde at Rambervillers, and became her most faithful support. A mystic and man of action, author of many works, he wrote some for the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament. Pierre Marot, in his preface to DH, p. 21,
speaks of a collection of letters of spiritual direction, written by Dom Epiphane Louys to Mother Mechtilde and published after his death, which occurred on 24 September 1682. Cf. Dom Collet, Vie manuscripte de Mère Mectilde, in the archive* of the abbey of Pradines.
9 Cf. SD, p. 9.
10 DH, p. 26; cf. SD, p. 30.
11 L. Brigué, “Alger de Liège,” in Studia eucharistica, DCC anni a condito festo Sanctissimi corporis Christi, 1246-1946 (Anvers, 1946),
pp. 50-60.
12 DH, p. 28.
13 “Saint-Germain-des-Prés et les Bénédictines de Paris,” in Revue d’histoire de l’Eglise de France 43 (1957), pp. 223-30; a special number of this review was also published under the title Mémorial du XIVe centenaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris,
14 DH, p. 297 and p. 99. Cf. “Notre Dame abbesse,” in “Priez sans cesse.” Trois cents ans de prière (Paris, 1953), pp. 175-77, and M. Pigeon, “Sainte Marie abbesse,” in Cîteaux 26 (1973), pp. 68-69.
15 Bibliography in “Les méditations eucharistiques d’Arnaud de Bonneval,” in Rech. de théol. anc. et médiév. 13 (1946), pp. 40-56.
16 Cited in DH, p. 118.
17 Cf. for example Pierre le Vénérable (Saint-Wandrille, 1946), pp. 91-94: “La vie cachée”; G. Penco, “Il monastero sepolcro di Cristo,” in Vita monastica 17 (1963), pp. 99-109.
18 Cited in DH, pp. 118-119.
19 Ibid., p. 131.
20 [See the appendix on reparation, p. 237.]
21 DH, p. 132.
22 [See the appendix on monastic life, p. 255.]
23 Dialogues II.37, ed. Morrica (Rome, 1924), p. 132.
24 See SD, p. 110.
25 Cited in DH, pp. 155-56.
26 Ibid., p. 185.
27 Cited ibid., p. 234
28 Ibid., p. 235.
29 Ibid., p. 249.
30 See note 14.
31 DH, p. 185. Cf. “Dévotion et théologie mariale dans le monachisme bénédictin,” in Maria. Etudes sur la Sainte Vierge, II (Paris, 1952), pp. 557-58 and 577.
32 DH, p. 194; cf. “La vêture ‘ad succurrendum’ d’après le moine Raoul,” in Analecta monastica, Studia Anselmiana 3 (Rome, 1955), pp. 158-68.
33 DH, p. 198; cf. La vie parfaite (Paris-Turnhout, 1948), pp. 128-29.
34 Cf. “Tradition et ouverture,” in Chances de la spiritualité occidentale (Paris, 1966), pp. 67-86.
35 J. Juglar, “Introduction,” in Dom Augustin Baker, La Sainte Sapience ou Les voies de la prière contemplative (Paris, 1954), pp. xxiii-xxv.
36 Ibid., p. xix.
37 D. Huerre, Jean-Baptiste Muard (La Pierre-qui-Vire, 1950), pp. 352-53; cf. ibid. pp. 313 and 336-37; on Paray-le-Monial, p. 310.
38 Bulletin de l’Abbaye d’Hautecombe, n. 101 (March 1976), p. 20.
39 L. Soltner, Solesmes et Dom Guéranger (1805-1875), (Solesmes, 1974), p. 39.
40 C. Bruyère, La vie spirituelle et l’oraison (Tours, 1950), p. 416, Table des citations, numerous references to the word Denys l’Aréopagite.
41 L. Soltner, op. cit., p. 22.
42 Her doctrine was formed prior to the revelation at Paray to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1685; cf. A. Amon, “Coeur (Sacré): au XVIIe siècle,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité, vol. ii (1953), pp. 1033-35. Mother Mechtilde places herself in the direct line of the tradition.
43 U. Berlière, La devotion au Sacré-Coeur dans l’Ordre de St. Benoît (Paris-Maredsous, 1923), pp. 122-24.
44 “Le Sacré-Coeur dans la tradiction [sic] bénédictine au moyen âge,” in Cor Jesu, vol. ii (Rome, 1959), pp. 1-28; C. Vagaggini, La devozione al Sacro Cuore in S. Metilde e S. Gertrude, ibid., pp. 29-48.
45 Cf. La dimension pénitente de la vie monastique, soon to be published.