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The community was born of the desire to lead the Benedictine life in
the footsteps of Dom Gerard, the founder of the monastery of
Sainte-Madeleine at Le Barroux. Many young women came knocking at the
door. After provisional accommodation (a farmhouse, caravans…)
it was necessary to build a convent (1986-2005). There are now nearly
thirty nuns. They follow the sixth century Rule of St. Benedict in a
life of prayer and work, withdrawn from the world. The Provencal sun
and the beautiful setting (Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles of
Montmirail…) attract many visitors, who find the products of the
nuns’ craft workshops in the abbey shop.
THE BENEDICTINE NUNS OF LE BARROUX
SOME IMPORTANT DATES
1979: Founding of the community.
1983: Acquisition of land at Le Barroux in the Provence region of France, at the foot of Mont Ventoux.
1986: Blessing of the first stone of the convent.
1989: Canonical recognition by the Holy See.
1992: Elevation of the convent to the rank of abbey, and blessing of the first Abbess, Mother Elisabeth.
1995: Visit of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Abbey.
2001: Blessing of the second Abbess, Mother Placide.
2005: Consecration of the abbey church by Cardinal Medina Estevez, specially sent by Benedict XVI.
THE STAGES OF A MONASTIC VOCATION
one thing determines a young woman to leave everything: the desire to
answer the call of Christ, «
Follow me ». It is the desire to
respond to the astonishing love of God, to give as He gives. A time of
probation (7 years) provides the opportunity to verify that the
attraction truly corresponds to a call from God: does the novice have
the necessary aptitudes for monastic life? If not, says St. Benedict,
she freely departs. If she does have them, she can make the commitment
of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, which bind her
irrevocably to God in the community.
A LIFE WICH IS USEFUL FOR THE WORLD
the nuns simply serve the purpose of producing CDs of Gregorian chant,
or good jam? Not at all. First of all, they serve Someone: «
service of God first ». In a world which has lost its bearings, a
life centred on the search for what is essential is a point of
reference: it is a silent testimony, a finger pointing towards heaven.
By their prayers and the offering of their lives, the nuns cooperate in
the salvation of the world.
Come, let us exult with joy in the Lord ! »
Benedictines live as children of the Church: They are on a journey to
heaven, working and singing all day, praising God and invoking His
blessings on the world. It is a very full life of charity, obedience
and the joy of self-giving.
THE MONASTIC DAY
The liturgical offices provide the rhythm of the day : Matins at 5:05
– Lauds at 7:25 – Prime at 8:30 – Terce and Mass at
10:00 – Sext at 12:30 – None at 14:00 – Vespers at
17:30 – Compline at 20:00.
• Silent prayer, reading Holy Scripture, and study (the
Magisterium, philosophy, theology, the Church Fathers, liturgy…)
nourish the mind and the heart at various times during the day.
• Work takes an important place : the daily services of the
convent (kitchen, laundry, sacristy, infirmary, library, office
work…), the workshops (bookbinding, publishing, jam, nougat,
shoe repairs, carpentry, clothes for children, weaving of liturgical
vestment in silk), and work in the fields (vines, lavender, figs,
olives, almonds, apricots…).
the abbey the holy liturgy is celebrated in Latin, with Gregorian
chant. Composed in the language of the Roman Church, Gregorian chant
has a sacred and universal character. The Catholic Church has made it
her particular chant, the one she prefers for her liturgy. The texts
and melodies have travelled down the ages. The chant has its source in
the prayer, and guides the prayer, which is why it must be beautiful.
Fraternal life contributes to the unity of the voices of the choir. The
nuns have produced several CDs of Gregorian chant : «
Noel », «
Jubilate Deo », «
Vision de paix », «
La joie de Dieu » («
The joy of God », April
2010, organ pieces and Gregorian chant).
WHY RECORD A CD WITH UNIVERSAL MUSIC ?
of Decca (Universal Music) came to hear our chant and were captivated.
Our decision was considered in community. The motive which made us
accept the project was the spiritual benefit of the people who would
hear the chant. The recording took place from the 23rd to the 25th June
2010, in the abbey church, in front of the Lord, present in the
Eucharist: the chant was a prayer, not a competition. And a time of
joy. The director of the Schola of Saint-Grégoire directed the
choir. The sound team advised and encouraged us. The repercussions in
the media leave the community in peace: the nuns continue their silent
life of prayer and work. The receipts from the sale of the CD
“Voices — Chant from Avignon” will help works of
WHAT IS THE INTENDED MESSAGE OF
VOICES - CHANT FROM AVIGNON » ?
the chant speak to the hearts of all who will hear it! It is urgent
that the infinite love of God be recognized, the presence of Jesus at
our side on the difficult road of life. Gregorian chant is very
expressive, a translation of all human feelings: distress, joy,
adoration, supplication, the desire of heaven, hope… The pieces
on the CD were chosen as aids for praying, they are magnificent
prayers. Rather than being a flight from the real world, the
chant provides a window which reveals the invisible part of that world.
Life on earth finds its complete meaning when it makes its way towards
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE HOLY FATHER
have the pleasure of expressing to you the gratitude of His Holiness
Pope Benedict XVI, for the thoughtful intention you showed in offering
him a copy of your compact disc In Paradisum, which you recorded at the request of Universal Music.
Touched by your gesture and the expression of your
filial sentiments, the Holy Father hopes that you will be able to share
with many others the joy of your praise, responding to the invitation
of St. Paul to “sing and give praise to the Lord with all your
heart” (Eph. 5:19) ! He assures you of his prayer for your
intentions and, entrusting you to the maternal intercession of the
Virgin Mary, he gives you, and all the nuns of Le Barroux, his
Apostolic Blessing, which he extends to all who took part in the
production of this compact disc. »
Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation
750 chemin des Ambrosis
84330 LE BARROUX
• Daily Mass at 10:00 in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. All may attend, as at the other offices.
• Shop (sale of monastic craft products):
Sundays and Feast days: 11:30-12:15/15:30-17:15.
Further information :