A tortuous history at the beginning for the community
It was a few years after the Revolution, in 1816, that the great adventure of the community began... At the origin of all this, Princess Louise-Adélaïde de Bourbon-Condé, who had the firm intention of founding a Benedictine community.
Of course, her status and her relations allowed her to benefit from a certain support... Thanks to her cousin Louis XVIII in particular (yes, the king of France!), she obtained the former prison of Louis XVI, also known as the Temple, to settle in. But in spite of an encouraging start, time quickly turned sour for the sisters! After the revolution of 1848, they no longer had the benefit of the donation of the "Prieuré Saint-Louis du Temple". And so they were forced to flee.
The sisters eventually settled in Paris to found a boarding school. But with the anti-clerical laws initiated in 1904, they had to flee in 1938, when their monastery was put up for sale without scruples. They headed for Meudon, where they stayed for more than twelve years, even though at first they were talking about a temporary installation...
It was not until the end of the Second World War that the community finally settled in Limon in the Essonne region. A new abbey, this time their own, was built.
Arrival in Jouques: a real corner of paradise!
What a relief, and what a spirit in Limon: the vocations were more and more numerous. The community radiated and developed so much that in 1967, a small group was sent to the sunny region of Provence, to Jouques. Well, at the beginning the sisters were living in a farm and the construction of a monastery was still only a project, but all the same, what good news!
Life was in full swing in Jouques and the dynamism of the sisters was such that the construction of the abbey was completed in two years. There, the young and dynamic sisters live from vineyards, olive trees, and other lavender plants: it is almost like being in the Garden of Eden! Even today, on the outskirts of the abbey, you can see a sister pruning the vine, and another one harvesting olives near the path leading to the monastery...
At the same time, the dependence on the mother abbey of Limon became weaker and weaker. It was then that the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fidélité de Jouques officially obtained its autonomy in 1981 by becoming an "abbey"!
Creation of the Rosans Abbey
Then, the community reached such a size (more than 50 at the beginning of the 1990's), that in turn, it spread:
- first in France, with some nuns taking over the Hautes-Alpes, with the project of founding the beautiful Rosans Abbey. And as for Jouques, it all began in an old farm!
- in the world, with the departure of five nuns in 2005 to Africa, to Benin to be precise. Today, the abbey counts more than ten nuns: daily life is not rosy in this very poor region, but the nuns hold on!
Today, prayers, olive trees and vines occupy the daily life of the sisters!
As Benedictine nuns, the sisters of the Abbey of Jouques follow the rule of Saint Benedict "ora et labora": prayer and work. On the prayer side, the nuns follow 7 daily offices, the first one being at 5am (of course!). Listen to or attend an office: you will be lulled by the pure Gregorian chant of the nuns and their colleagues. Moreover, a mobile application called "Neumz" aims to broadcast exclusively all these songs, recorded over several years. Notice to the curious and the amateurs!
As far as work is concerned, we can assure you that they are not idle! With a rather developed agriculture (two hectares of olive trees, eight hectares of vineyards, lavender at the entrance of the monastery etc...) and a small bookbinding workshop, the work of their hands is very fruitful.
So they produce delicious monastic products from their harvests: black olive tapenade, jams, coffee meringues and... wine! Yes, with :
- a red wine "Fidelis
- a red wine " Louange ", more structured and appreciated by connoisseurs
- a rosé wine "Exsulta", fresh, long in the mouth and light with fruity notes
This rosé wine is the latest (2021), and sums up quite well the joy that exudes from the hearts of the sisters who work in the vineyard. This manual work, so meticulous and in contact with the earth (and thus with Creation) brings much joy to the community, even if the sisters must sometimes confront natural realities not always easy to tame. For example, the sisters had a parcel of land named "Saint-Jérome", in reference to the saint, known for his temper tantrums (because the vine was very capricious!).
A guesthouse open to all
Moreover, for the amateurs of peace and rest, a small hostelry is held by the sisters. So don't miss for anything in the world a little detour to Pey de Durance, to spend a few days in its comfortable rooms, refurbished last year! At the same time, you can also taste the delicious products, made with love by the Benedictine nuns of Jouques. By the way, in 2017, the Larrousse published a book about Jouques Abbey! It contains, among other things, 70 recipes, made by the sisters in the abbey's kitchens!
Notice to the gourmets, you will be delighted... Otherwise, you can click here to buy online the products of the abbey of Jouques!
lieu dit Pey de Durance,
Tel : 04 42 57 80 17