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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/510

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BENEDICTINE


448


BENEDICTINE


title of "Primitive Obser\-ance". Whnt follows re- lates to the former of these two.

Most of the ItaHan monasteries had fallen imder the influence of Cluny in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and had adopted its customs, but by the end of the fourteenth centurj- they had so greatly declined that there was then hardly one left in wliich the Clmiiac observance was retained. The Abbey of St. Justina at Padua, which had formerly been Cluniac. was in a verj- corrupt and ruinous state in 1407 when Gregorj- XII bestowed it in commenda»i on the Cardinal of Bologna. That prelate, desirous of reform, introduced some Olivetan monks, but the three remaining Cluniac monks appealed to the \enetian Republic against tliis encroachment on their rights, with the "result that the abbey was re- stored to them and the Olivetans dismissed. The cardinal resigned the abbey to the pope, wlio there- upon gave it to Ludovico Barbo. a canon regular of St. George in -\lga. He took the Benedictine habit and received the abbatial blessing in 1409. With the help of two Camaldolese monks and two canons of Alga, he instituted a reformed observance, which was quickly adopted in other monasteries as well. Per- mission was obtained from the pope for these to unite and form a new congregation, the first general chap- ter of which was held "in 1421, when Abbot Barbo was elected the first president, .\mongst those that joined were the celebrated abbeys of Subiaco. Monte Cassino. St. Paul's in Rome. St. George's at Venice, La Cava, and Farfa. In 1504 its title was changed to that of the "Cassinese Congregation". It gradu- ally came to embrace all of the chief Benedictine houses of Italy, to the number of nearly two hundred, di^■ided into seven pro\inces, Rome. Naples, Sicily, Tuscany, Venice, Lombardy, and Genoa. In 1505 the Abbey of L^rins in Provence together with all its dependent houses joined it. A liighly centralized system of government was developed, modelled on tiie Italianrepubhcs, by wliich the autonomy of the indi\-idual houses was almost entirely destroyed. All power was vested in a committee of "definitors", in whose hands were all appointments, from that of president down to the lowest official in the smallest monaster},'. But in spite of this ob\-ious departure from the Benedictine ideal and the dangers arising from such a system, the congregation continued in considerable prosperity vmtil the wars of the Revolu- tion period; and the later decrees of the ItaHan gov- ernment put a check to its reception of novices and began a series of suppressions which have reduced its numbers enormously and shorn it of much of its former greatness. The formation of the congrega- tion of Primitive Observance from out of its midst has still further diminished the congregation, until it now consists nominally of sixteen monasteries, some entirely without communities, and only three or four mth sufficient nimibers to keep up full con- ventual observances.

(3) The Cassinese Congregation of Primitir-e Observ- ance. — In the year ISol Abbot Casaretto of Subiaco initiated at Genoa a return to a stricter observance than was then in vogue, and several other monas- teries of the Cassinese congregation, including Subiaco itself, desiring to imite in this reforming movement, Pius IX joined all such abbeys into one federation, which was called after its cliief house, the " Province of Subiaco ". Before long monasteries in other coimtries adopted the same reformed observ- ance and became affihated to Subiaco. In 1872 this union of monasteries was separated altogether from the original congregation and erected as a new and independent body under the title of the "Cassi- nese Congregation of Primitive Observance", which was divitled mto provinces according to the different countries in which its houses were situated, with the Abbot of Subiaco as abbot-general of the whole


federation, (a) The ItaUan Province dates from the original federation in 1851, and comprises ten monasteries with over two hundred reUgious. One of these is the Abbey of Monte \'ergine. formerly the mother-house of an independent congregation, but which was aggregated to this province in 1S79.

(b) The Enghsh ProWnce was formed in 1858, when certain English monks at Subiaco obtained permission to make a fomidation in England. The Isle of Thanet. hallowed by the memorj- of St. Augustine's landing there twelve hundred and sixty years pre\"iously, was selected and a church wliich Augustus Welby Pugin had built at Ramsgate was

C laced at their disposal. By 1860 a monastery- had een erected and full conventual life established. It became a priorj- in ISSO and in 1896 an abbey. In course of time, in addition to serving several neigh- bouring missions, the community embarked on work in New Zealand, where Doni Edmund Luck, a Ramsgate monk, was made Bishop of Auckland. They also undertook work in Bengal in 1874. but this has since been relinquished to the secular clergj'.

(c) The Belgian Province began in 1858 vrith the affiliation to Subiaco of the eleventh-centurj' Abbey of Termonde. Afflighem followed in 1870. and since then two new foundations have been made in Belgium, and quite recently missionary' work has been under- taken in the Transvaal. South Africa.

(d) The French Pro\'ince. perhaps the most numer- ous and flourisliing in the congregation, dates from 1859. Jean-Baptiste Muard. a parish priest and founder of a society of diocesan missioners. became a monk at Subiaco. After his profession there in 1849. he returned to France ■witli two companions and settled at Pier^e-qui-^"ire, a lonely spot amid the forests of Avallon, where a most austere form of Benedictine life was estabUshed. After his death in 1854. the abbey he had founded was affiliated to the Cassinese P. O. congregation and became the mother-house of the French pro%'ince. New founda- tions were made at B^thisy (1859), Saint-Benoit-sur- Loire, the ancient Fleury (1865), Oklahoma. Indian Territory', U. S. A., with an ApostoHc vicariate attaclieii (1874'), Belloc (1875), Kerbeneat (1888), Encalcat (1891), Nino-Dios, Argentina (1899), and Jerusalem (1901). In ISSO the French Government annexed Pierre-qui-Vire and expelled the conmiunity by force; some of them, however, were able to regain possession a year or two later. The remainder sought refuge in England, where in 1882 they ac- quired the site of the old Cistercian Abbey of Buck- fast, in Devonsliire. Here they are gradually re- building the abbey on its original foundations. The "Association Laws" of 1903 again dispersed the congregation, the monks of Pierre-qui-Vire finding a temporarj' home in Belgium, those of Belloc and Encalcat going to Spain, and Kerbeneat to South. Wales, whilst those of Bdthisy and Saint-Benoit, being engaged in parocliial work, obtained authoriza- tion and have remained in France.

(e) The Spanish Pro\-ince dates from 1862, the year in wliich the ancient Abbey of Montserrat, founded in the ninth century, was affihated to the Cassinese P. O. congregation. The old Spanish congregation, wliich ceased to exist in 1835, is dealt with separately. Other old monasteries wliich had been restored. St. Clodio in ISSO, Vilvaneira in 1883, and Samos in ISSS, were, in 1893, joined with Montserrat to form the Spanish pro\-ince. Since then new foimdations have been made at Pueya (1890), Los Cabos (1900), and Solsona (1901), besides one at Manila (Philippines) in 1S95. This pro\ince also includes the Abbey of New Nursia in Western Austraha. founded in 1846 by two exiled monks from St. Martin's Abbey. Compostella, who after the general suppression in 1835 had found a home at La Cava in Italy. Seeing no hope of a return