Rochefort (abbey Our Lady of St Rémy)

- History of the abbey - the origins

In the country of Rochefort, the arable land is relatively poor. Meadows of fruit trees and woods are preferred to oats and wheat fields. It is a cattle-rearing area as well as a forest reserve; it is also a country of excursion whose sites and horizons are sought by artists for their austere beauty.

As it was, it was appropriate for monks – and nuns. Cistercian nuns lived there for more than two centuries. In 1229, Gilles de Walcourt, Lord of Rochefort, built an abbey for them called “Succursus Dominae Nostrae” (“Help of Our Lady”). In the 15th Century, opportunities and subsequently enthusiasm declined, and in 1464, the nuns of St Rémy went to occupy Felipré (close to Givet). This site was more appropriate for them, while the monks of this monastery came to Rochefort. On November 11, 1464, Arnould of Maison Neuve was elected first abbot.

The abbey knew a period of relative peace until the middle of the 17th century. On May 1, 1650, the Lorraine troops, under the command of the Baron De Châtelet, plundered the abbey and marked their armed robberies with a profanation of the Eucharistie. The armies of Condé, in 1653, completed the destruction of the abbey by fire.

The monks returned in 1664 to rebuild from the ruins. The church was rebuilt in 1671. Peace lasted a good century, but religious enthusiasm was blunted. When the revolution burst forth, the number of monks was significantly reduced.

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