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BENEDICTINE


447


BENEDICTINE


in preliminarj' preparations, and the first general chapter was held at Oxford in 1218, from which time up to the dissolution under Henrj' VIII the triennial chapters appear to have been held more or less regularly. (Details of these chapters will be foimd in Reyner, '• Apostolatus Benedictinorum".) At first only the monasteries of the southern pro\Tnce of Canterburj' were represented, but in 1338, in con- sequence of the Bull '■ Benedictina ", the two proxinces were imited and the English congregation definitely established. This system of the union of houses and periodical chapters interfered in the least possible tiegree with the Benedictine tradition of mutual in- dependence of monasteries, though the Bull "Bene- dictina" was intended to give some further develop- ment to it. In other countries attempts were made from time to time to effect a greater degree of or- ganization, but in England there was never any further advance along the path of centralization. At the time of the dissolution there were in England nearly three hundred houses of black monks, and though the numbers had from one cause or another somewhat declined, the English congregation may truthfully be said to have been in a flourishing con- dition at the time of the attempt to suppress it in the sixteenth centurj-. The grave charges brought against the monks by Henry VIII's Visitors, though long believed in, are not now credited by serious historians. This reversal of opinion has been brought about mainly through the researches of such writers as Gasquet (Henrv- VIII and the English Monas- teries. London, new ed.. 1899; Eve of the Refor- mation, London. 1890). and Gairdner (Prefaces to "Calendars of State Papers of Henry VIII").

Throughout the period of suppression the monks were the champions of the old Faith, and when turned out of their homes verj- few conformed to the new religion. Some sought refuge abroad, others ac- cepted pensions and lingered on in England hoping for a restoration of the former state of things, whilst not a few preferred to suffer lifelong imprisonment rather than surrender their con\ietions and claims. In Queen Mary's reign there was a brief re\'ival at Westminster, where some of the sur\-i\'ing monks were brought together under Abbot Feckenham in 1556. Of the monks professed there during the three years of re\nved existence, Dom Sigebert Buckley alone sur\ived at the beginning of the seventeenth century; and he, after forty years of imprisonment, when nigh unto death, in 1607. invested with the English habit and affiliated to Westminster Abbey and to the English congregation two English priests, already Benedictines of the Italian congregation. By this act he became the Unk between the old and the new lines of English black monks, and through him the true succession was perpetuated. About the same time a niunber of EngUsh monks were being trained abroad, mostly in Spain, for the English mission, and these were in 1619 aggregated by papal authority to the English congregation, though the monasteries founded by them had perforce to be situated abroad. St. Gregor>s at Douai was estab- lished in 1605, St. Lawrence's at Dieulouard in Lor- raine in 1606, and St. Edmund's at Paris in 1611. The first two of these communities remained on the continent tmtil driven to England by the French Revolution, but the third has only recentlv returned. In 1633, by the Bull " Plantata . Pope Urban VIII bestowed upon the restored English congregation "every pri\nlege, grant, indulgence, faculty, and other prerogative which had ever belonged to the ancient English congregation " and also approved of its members taking an oath by which they bound themselves to labour for the reconversion of their country. So zealous were they in this work that during the penal times no fewer than twenty-seven suffered martyrdom for the Faith, whilst eleven died


in prison. Two other monasteries were added to the congregation. \-iz., Lamspring in Germany in 1643, and Saint-Malo in Brittany in 1611. the latter, how- ever, being passed over to the French (Maurist) con- gregation in 1672.

In 1795 the monks of Douai were expelled from their monasterj' by the Revolution, and after many hardships, including imprisonment, escaped to Eng- land, where, after a temporary residence at Acton Bumell (near Shrewsburj'). they settled in 1814 at Downside in Somerset. 'The monks of Dieulouard were also driven out at the same time and after some years of wandering estabUshed themselves in 1802 at Ampleforth in Yorkshire. The monks of St. Ed- mimd's. Paris, not successful in making their escape from France, were dispersed for a time, but when, in 1818, the buildings of St. Gregory's at Douai were recovered by the congregation, the remnants of St. Edmund's commvmity reassembled and resumed conventual fife there in 1823. For eighty years they continued undisturbed, recruited by English sub- jects and carrying on their school for EngUsh boys, until, in 1903, the "Association Laws" of the French government once more expelled them from their monasterj'; returning to England, they have estab- Ushed themselves at Woolhampton in Berkshire. The Abbey of Lamspring continued to flourish amongst Lutheran stirroundings until it was suppressed by the Prussian Government in 1802 and the community dis- persed. In 1828 a restoration of conventual Ufe in a smaU way was attempted at Broadway in Worcester- shire, which lasted until 1841. The monks then went to other houses of the congregation, though the com- mimity was never formally disbanded. Continuity was preser%-ed by the last sur^•ivo^s of Broadway being incorporated in 1876 into the newly foimded conununity of Fort Augustus in Scotland. In 1859 St. Michael's priorj-, at Belmont, near Hereford, was estabUshed, in compUance with a decree of Pius IX, as a central noWtiate and house of studies for the whole congregation. It was also made the pro-cathedral of the Diocese of Newport, the bishop and canons of which are chosen from the English Benedictines, the cathedral-prior acting as provost of the chapter. I'p to 1901 Belmont had no com- munity of its own, but only members from the other houses who were resident there either as professors or students; the general chapter of that year, how- ever, decided that notices might henceforth be re- ceived for St. Michael's monasterj-. In 1899 Leo XIII raised the three priories of St. Gregorj-'s (Downside), St. Lawrence's (Ampleforth), and St. Edmund's (Douai) to the rank of abbej's. so that the congrega- tion now consists of three abbej's and one cathedral- priory, each with its own communitj-. but Belmont still remains the central novitiate and tyrocinium for aU the houses. Besides its regular prelates, the English congregation is. bj' \-irtue of the Bull " Plan- tata" (1633), allowed to perpetuate as titular dig- nities the nine cathedral-priories which belonged to it before the Reformation, \\z.. Canterburj% Win- chester, Durham, Coventrj-, Elj-. Worcester, Roches- ter, Norwich, and Bath; to these have been added three more. Peterborough. Gloucester, and Chester, originally Benedictine abbej'S but raised to cathedral rank bj' Henry VIII. Six ancient abbacies also. St. Alban's. Westminster, Glastonbury, Evesham, Bury St. Edmunds, and St. Mary's, York, are similarly perpetuated by pri\'ilege granted in 1818.

(2) The Cassinese Congregation. — To prevent con- fusion it is necessary to point out that tnere are two congregations of this name. The first, with Monte Cassino as its chief house, was originally known as that of St. Justina of Padua, and with one exception has alwaj's been confined to Italj'. The other is of much later institution and is distinguished by the