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A little history of la Bénisson-Dieu abbey

The church | Jlcarves / CC'BY-SA
Abbey Cistercian La Bénisson-Dieu abbey

The foundation

Saint Bernard founded the abbey in 1138, with monks, in a place where ran a little river, the Tessonne.

The famous abbot of Clairvaux abbey said: “Here, let’s bless God!”, in French Ici, bénissons Dieu!, benedicamus Deo in Latin...

Bernard’s best friend Albéric was the first abbot. The abbey extended quickly: in the 12th century, we had 500 monks! Oh, lords and princes from the area gave lot of money to them...

Nice buildings

One of those lords, count Guy III, retired and died in the monastery: he raised several buildings and the current church, altered in the 15th and 17th century.

The church is the only vestige of the abbey... In the 15th century, abbot Pierre de La Fin added the bell-tower and replaced the old roof by beautiful polychrome tiles.

The abbey until today

Another abbot came: archbishop of Lyon Pierre d'Epinac. He stroke a decisive blow!

He instituted a new rule: from this moment, the abbot would receive all abbey’s income... La Bénisson started to weaken... and wars of Religion came! It was completely plundered.

Then, abbot of the Bénisson, Claude de Nérestang, gave the place to his sister Françoise, in exchange of her Megémont abbey in Auvergne. So, sisters moved in La Bénisson, in this old men monastery, in the beginning of the 17th century! The abbess Françoise de Nérestang decided to rebuild the ruined abbey.

She destroyed the apse and added a private chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary.

Nowadays, despite the destructions during the Revolution and the going of the nuns, the church is still here, with those nice vivid tiles...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!