Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Abbey - Trappistines of Rogersville.

Historically, our roots extend back to the third century when Christian monastic life first began. In the sixth century, Saint Benedict formulated a Rule for Monasteries inspired by the fertile tradition of Eastern monasticism, adapting it to the mentality of our Western culture.

Our Order, the Cistercian Order, began in 1098 when a small group of Benedictine monks founded a reformed monastery in Citeaux, France (from whence the name Cistercian). From this modest beginning, over the course of nine centuries, our Order has spread all over the world, presently consisting of 100 men's monasteries and 70 women's monasteries located around the globe.

morning prayersOur Trappistine/Cistercian monastery located in New Brunswick dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Due to religious persecution, a group of Cistercian nuns emigrated to Canada in 1904 from a Cistercian monastery located in Vaise, France (which had been founded in 1817) in order to reestablish their monastic community in Rogersville, two miles down the road from the Trappist monks who had arrived in 1902.

The nuns arrived in May and took possession of their new provisional monastery — a small farmhouse of six rooms for 19 people — on June 10th of that year. Those early years were full of struggles as the nuns adapted to the Canadian climate, a rural lifestyle and the daunting task of building up a monastery from the humble beginnings of that farm house.

With the generous aid of the local people and their pastor, Mgr. Marcel François Richard, the nuns not only persevered but were eventually joined by many Acadian women desirous of the monastic lifestyle and, little by little, a flourishing monastic community was established, replete with an Abbey church built in 1922, the present monastic complex built in 1950 and a retreat house for women opened in 1970.

Over the years, the nuns gained their livelihood through different endeavors: at first by making Mass wine, then through the fabrication of altar breads (hosts). The altar bread industry has been modernized and today several types and sizes of hosts are made and sold throughout the Maritime parishes. Most importantly, however, the Trappistine nuns have lived a life of prayer and intercession by their faithful celebration of the Liturgy, consisting of prayer services dispersed throughout the day, with its summit in the Eucharist — and this for over 100 years!

Since its inception in 1904, our monastery (known under the patronage of the Mother of God as Notre-Dame de l’Assomption) has seen the arrival of vocations from beyond the confines of New Brunswick, coming from several of the other provinces and also from the United States. Today this bilingual community is fewer in number than in those early times but continues nonetheless to persevere in the monastic tradition, facing the future with hope and creativity.

Throughout the many transformations of our monastery and our community during the past century, it is the same flame of monastic tradition that we still cherish today. And not only do we cherish this way of life — made up of prayer, contemplation and work, all lived in union with Christ for the glory of God and the salvation of the world — but we hope to pass it on to future generations of women who seek their fulfillment through the monastic lifestyle.

We have thus been molded by a long monastic tradition and yet our essential identity is not principally defined by historical events. True, monastic life by its very historical duration has a certain eternal quality: monks and nuns succeeding one another over the centuries in their quest for and praise of God. Yet this duration and this continuity are but the exterior expressions of the eternal quality that is inscribed in the very nature of the human person. It is this echo of the eternal in us, our capacity for God, which is the real foundation of our monastic history and of its vital dynamism.

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