A bit of History...
In 1162, a young widow came to Rieunette with friends and founded a community. Very quickly, the monastery grew and became an abbey. Almost three centuries later, it is placed under the protection of the Cistercian monks of Villelongue. It is then the beginning of a prosperous period for the abbey of Rieunette, which would have counted 40 nuns! But later, during the Wars of Religion, the abbey is plundered and burnt down...
Fortunately, the sisters had gone to take refuge in Carcassonne!
In 1648, the nuns, still in Carcassonne, wanted to return to their original abbey. But in the meantime, the Abbey of Villelongue sold the land .
The new owners are not at all ready to welcome the sisters, and destroy the first reconstruction works of the sisters.
On June 13, 1671, the mother abbess was murdered...! The continuation is not more rejoicing: the abbey closes officially in 1761, and becomes a farm...
Fortunately, almost two centuries later, during the Second World War, volunteers were motivated to restore the abbey church to its original state. After this restoration, the Abbey of Boulaur bought the buildings and revived the abbey, sending sisters from its community there in 1998! A new beginning, therefore, for Rieunette, after two centuries of abandonment...
The abbey Sainte-Marie de Rieunette today...
Today, the abbey Sainte-Marie de Rieunette has 6 Cistercian nuns (from the commune observance), who pray and work according to the rule of Saint Benedict.
On the prayer side, they sing 7 offices per day, the first one of the day being at 4:45 am!
On the work side, the sisters who came from Boulaur quickly wanted to have an agricultural activity! This was declined in several points:
of course a small orchard and some animals, two donkeys and six hens, to have a little life and some resources!
then and above all a laboratory to make cosmetic products: essential oils, hydrolat, lip balm etc... Everything is 100% natural, and labelled "Nature et Progrès", a demanding reference for organic products in France: a success for the sisters!
On arriving at the abbey, you will cross a small stream by a bridge to get to the front. And it is this brook which gave its name to the abbey! "Rivus Nitidus", as it was called at the time (12th century), that is to say "the clear stream".
With time, Rivus Nitidus became Rieunette.
The abbey of Rieunette was thus founded in 1162, and abandoned during the Revolution, before being restored from 1992. The big guys who helped to clear everything away, because the vegetation had seriously regained its rights, were not the usual craftsmen: in addition to the locals, there were scouts and even paratroopers !
In fact, all that was needed was to clear away the structure, because the abbey church has been almost intact since the 12th century!
Products from Rieunette Abbey are available on site at the abbey, in stores all over France, as well as online at Divine Box
In addition to their cosmetic products, the sisters of Rieunette are also known for their illustrations in the comic strips "Les petites chroniques de l'abbaye"!
To be put in the right hands...
Sainte-Marie de Rieunette Abbey
Tel: 04 68 69 69 06
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator