L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia
[This article was published in 1948; for the full citation, see the end of the text.]
Cistercians. The Cistercians, or Trappists, established at Cîteaux in 1098 for the purpose of restoring as far as possible the literal observance of the rule of St. Benedict, have separated in course of time to form distinct branches of a once uniform order. In 1892, Pope Leo XIII undertook to reorganize in one hierarchical family the various congregations of Trappists. He deemed it opportune to maintain two branches absolutely distinct: The "Cistercians of the Strict Observance", represented in Canada by the monasteries of Oka, Quebec, of Mistassini, Quebec, of St. Norbert, Manitoba, and Rogersville, New Brunswick ; and the "Cistercians of the Common Observance", also established in the province of Quebec, at Val d'Espoir and Rougemont.
1. The Cistercians of the Strict Observance.
The Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac des Deux-Montagnes, also named "La Trappe d'Oka" and the Cistercian Abbey of the Strict Observance, was founded in 1881 by a colony of Cistercian monks who came from the Abbey of Bellefontaine (Maine-et-Loire, France), and established themselves in the parish of Oka, the Seminary of $t. Sulpice having granted them about a thousand acres. Ten years later, on August 28, 1891, the new monastery was canonically erected into a priory, and, a few months after, on March 28, 1892, into an abbey. The same year the abbey founded a monastery at Mistassini, lake St. John. The abbey has now 170 members, choristers and lay brothers, 60 of the choristers being priests - and an agricultural institute affiliated to the University of Montreal, which gives instruction to more than 400 students in the agricultural sciences. At the request of the University of Montreal, in 1928, the Agricultural Institute took charge of the Veterinary Medical School, and erected the present building, which gives the veterinary students not only comfortable living quarters, but the special advantage of having practical teaching, owing to the large herd of cattle on the Trappist farm.
2. The Cistercians of the Common Observance.
On this old trunk are grafted eight provinces or congregations enjoying a certain autonomy. The monastery of Val d'Espoir, Quebec, is immediately subjected to the general abbot, who resides in Rome ; while the monastery of Rougemont is directly affiliated to the French congregation known as the "Cisterciens de l'Immaculé Conception de Lérins."
Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 68.
© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College