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Claude Estiennot de la Serre

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Benedictine of the Congregation of Saint-Maur, b. at Varennes, France, 1639; d. at Rome, 1699. He joined the Benedictines at Vendome and was professed there in 1658. After teaching humanities for a short time to the junior monks at Pontlevoy, he was, at the instance of Dom Lue d'Achery, sent to the Abbey of St-Germain-des-Pres, Paris, where his aptitude for study and research was quickly discovered by Dom Mabillon, whose intimate friend and fellow-worker he became. Together they journeyed on foot through Flanders, visiting all its chief monastic libraries. In 1670 he was made sub-prior of St-Martin's, Pontoise, a history of which abbey, in three volumes, was his first published work. Between 1673 and 1682 he compiled his chief work, entitled "Antiquités Bénédictines", in which the monastic traditions of France are treated under the headings of the different dioceses. In 1684 he was appointed procurator for his congregation in the Curia Romana , which post required his residence in Rome for the remainder of his life. On his way thither from Paris hs visited numerous monasteries and collected a great quantity of literary material, which he sent back to Dom Mabillon and most of which found its way into the "Annales O.S.B." or the "Gallia Christiana". During the fifteen years he lived in Italy he laboured fruitfully on behalf of his congregation, and he was also greatly trusted by the French bishops, for whom he acted in many matters of ecclesiastical business. He enjoyed the entire confidence of several popes and other high officials of the Church, and he is described as combining all the qualities of a man of letters with great business ability. Besides the history of Pontoise and the "Antiquités", already mentioned, he collected sixteen volumes of "Fragments historiques", but though he did not publish much under his own name, he worked incessantly in the chief libraries of Italy, all of which were open to him, and the results of his researches he forwarded to Dom Mabillon and others at St- Germain-des-Pres, to whom they were of great service. He was buried in the church of the Minims of SS. Trinità de' Monti.

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