Spreading Cistercian Spirituality in the Nineteenth Century

History

Taught by John Butler

Spreading Cistercian Spirituality in the Nineteenth Century

Following the destructive years of the French Revolution and the Napoleanic Empire, the Cistercian order, also known as the Trappists, led a great monastic revival. We can learn more about this resurgence of spiritual life if we focus on one Trappist monastery in particular, Melleray Abbey. The phenomenal 19th century growth of this monastery led to the spread of Cistercian spirituality to the United States, inaugurated by the founding of Gethsemani Abbey by the monks of Melleray in 1848. In this lecture, John Butler discusses his research about the decision of the Abbot of Melleray in 1848 to establish a new monastery in order to relieve overcrowding. This decision is an entry point that allows us to examine the causes of the phenomenal growth of monastic life and Melleray Abbey in the 19th century.
John Butler is a Partner at Parker Poe and an MA candidate in History at NC State. His research on the history of Trappist spirituality has been published by Cistercian Studies Quarterly.