A bit of History...
The history of the Abbey of Le Barroux begins in August 1970. A Benedictine monk, Dom Gérard Calvet, leaves Tournay Abbey to find a monastic life that suits him better. Direction Bédoin, a small Provencal village. Thus, he begins a life as a solitary monk, but following the rule of Saint Benoît.
But three days after his arrival, a first young man knocks at his door. Then another one, and more new ones: a community was formed!
In 1971, the ruined priory was renovated to welcome the new small community: 11 monks had already joined Dom Gérard.
In 1977, the monks were really too numerous and were forced to move. This was not dramatic, since they found a small corner of paradise: a thirty hectare plot of land between Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail.
But money is needed, and the monks don't have enough. Fortunately, Dom Gérard manages to find benefactors quite easily, and the first stone of the Abbey Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux is laid in 1981!
In 1989, Le Barroux officially became an abbey. One year later, in 1990, part of the community went to the Vatican for a private audience with the Pope of the time, John Paul II.
This event was a true mark of recognition of the new Le Barroux Abbey by the Holy See.
In 2008, the abbey joined the Benedictine confederation, whose aim is to promote monastic life according to the rule of St. Benedict.
Dom Gérard never imagined, when he came to settle in Provence, that it would take on such a scale!
In 2000, the community numbered more than sixty monks. A solution had to be found, and eight monks left to found a new monastery: Sainte-Marie de la Garde.
These are the only two monasteries in France whose monks wear the tonsure!
The Abbey today...
Today, the community counts 55 Benedictine friars. They live according to the rule of Saint Benedict: "ora et labora", prayer and work.
On the prayer side, their daily life is punctuated by eight offices, sung in Gregorian. The first office is at 3:30 a.m.!
On the manual work side, the monks are very busy, especially with :
- work for the life and maintenance of the house: the bakery, the carpentry, the infirmary, the kitchen, the bookbinding, the kitchen garden and the orchard.
- the hostelry for the reception of pilgrims and passing guests
- the cultivation of their vines: indeed, the monks of the Barroux Abbey have been winegrowers since 1985. But in 2015, this took on a whole new dimension with their cuvée "Via Caritatis", the way of charity. It is a project that brings together the monks and nuns of Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation Abbey, located near Sainte-Madeleine Abbey, as well as the neighboring winegrowers. They can thus highlight Creation, and support the local vineyard!
Three small infos in more
If you stroll around the store at the entrance of Le Barroux Abbey, you will notice that the shelves offer bread, oil and wine. Coincidence? No, in fact, the monks of Le Barroux have at heart to produce these staple foods from the time of Jesus! In particular, we recommend their nut bread, to be dropped on the floor!
Another particularity of Le Barroux Abbey is that it is both modern and at the same time remains both feet in the monastic tradition:
Dom Gérard, the founder, has indeed initiated a monastic life faithful to ancient traditions. For example, if you attend a service on the spot, you will notice that the songs are in Gregorian! Or that the fathers still wear the tonsure...
And next to that, the abbey has a smartphone application "Barroux", and their recordings of Gregorian chants are on iTunes!
Latest news: in 2019, the monks have launched a major expansion project, which plans for 4000m2 of extensions! Their goal is notably to welcome more guests, and also to be able to keep the oldest brothers as long as possible, with the construction of a large infirmary.
The work is progressing well, so much so that sometimes the monks are obliged to ask the workers to stop the noise of the machines for the time of an office!
Benedictine Abbey Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux
1201 Chemin des Rabassières,
84330 Le Barroux
Tel: 04 90 62 56 31
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator