Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Located in the Diocese of Moulins in France, it was founded (1132) by Guichard and Guillaume de Bourbon, of the family de Bourbon-Lancy, which gave kings to France, Italy, and Spain ; this gave rise to the name "Royal Abbey ". Thanks to the liberality of the founders, and to the energy of the abbot and community, the church was soon completed and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; the monastery, with all the regular structures prescribed by the rule, was completed at the same time. After exhibiting generosity at the beginning, their founders and friends seem to have neglected them, for the monks found the burden of poverty so heavy, that they were even compelled to sell parts of the lands to supply the necessities of life. Until the Reform of 1663, the number of religious never exceeded 15. They were much encouraged, in their early days of trial, by a visit of St Bernard (1138). At first the monastery was only known under the name of "Notre-Dame de Saint-Lieu"; it was only after a century that "Sept-Fons" was added, derived either from seven fountains or from seven canals leading water to, the Abbey. Adrian III took the monastery under his protection in 1158; and Alexander III ratified the foundation by Bull in 1164.

After the middle of the fifteenth century the incessant wars did not spare the abbey ; frequently the religious were forced to leave it and see it despoiled of its goods, and its buildings demolished. Inevitably, under such circumstances, relaxation entered the monastery. In 1656 Eustache de Beaufort, at the age of 20 years, was made abbot. For the first seven years there was no improvement; but after that time he resolved on a complete change. His religious &151; there were then but four—refusing to accept the new rule, were each granted a pension and dismissed. It was not long before a number of novices presented themselves for admission. They were sent to La Trappe , to make their novitiate under the Abbot de Rancé. Dom Eustache also visited the celebrated reformer for counsel and advice, in 1667. After this, with the royal aid, Sept-Fons was rebuilt on a grander scale, and prosperity continued until the monastery was confiscated at the Revolution, 1791. In 1845, when the Trappists of the Abbaye du Gard were obliged to abandon their monastery, their Abbot, Dom Stanislaus, purchased the ruins of the ancient Abbey of Sept-Fons, removed his community thither, and rebuilt the church and regular structures. In 1847 he was elected vicar-general of the Congregation of the Ancient Reform of Our Lady of La Trappe, which followed the constitutions of the Abbot de Rancé. In 1892, when the three congregations were united in one order, the then Abbot of Sept-Fons, Dom Sebastian Wyart, was elected first abbot-general, and, a little later, Abbot of Cîteaux. Its most noted foundations are N.-D. de la Consolation near Peking, China, and N.-D. de Maristella Estado de S. Paulo, Brazil.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter