he Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, founded in 1912, numbers a little more than fifty monks living under the Rule of Saint Benedict. Separated from the world, they seek God in the celebration of the liturgy of the Church, in private prayer nourished by meditation of the Bible and in manual as well as intellectual work. They form a community under the direction of an Abbot.

ommunities which are entirely dedicated to contemplation, so that their members, in solitude and silence, with constant prayer and penance willingly undertaken, occupy themselves with God alone, retain at all times, no matter how pressing the needs of the active apostolate may be, an honourable place in the mystical body of Christ, whose “members do not all have the same function” (Romans 12,4).

Vatican II, Perfectæ caritatis

enedictine life having disappeared in France at the Revolution flourished anew in 1833 with Dom Prosper Guéranger. He was a young priest imbued with deep faith and with an acute sense of the needs of the Church. With the help of God, he undertook to restore the monastic life in the ancient Priory Saint-Pierre de-Solesmes. In 1853, with his first disciples, he was able to give new life to the venerable Abbey of Ligugé, which in turn restored the Abbey of Saint-Wandrille in Normandy, hence comes Saint-Benoît-du-Lac.

n 1901, anticlerical laws in France drove all Benedictine monks into exile. The monks of Saint-Wandrille settled in Belgium. Their situation was so precarious, that the monks considered a transfer to Canada. In 1912, Dom Paul Vannier was sent to examine this possibility and to prepare for the eventual arrival of the community. With the approval of the bishop of Sherbrooke, he purchased a farm on a hillside overlooking Lake Memphremagog.

A few postulants asked to be received and a few monks were sent from France, shortly before the war, to strengthen the new community. But all through the war the young community was cut off from Saint-Wandrille. Worse still, in 1914 Dom Vannier drowned in the Lake, on his way to Magog in a motor boat. The situation was critical, and at the end of the war, the founding Abbey decided to put an end to the experience. The Canadian monks sent two of theirs to plead for the continuation of the house and did so well that the order was rescinded. The community of Saint-Wandrille, having found a new refuge in France will never come to Canada.

t was under Dom Léonce Crenier, Prior from 1931 to 1944, that the community grew in all respects and became a true monastic community.

In 1935, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac became an autonomous house. In 1938, the monks decided to build a monastery and Dom Paul Bellot, renowned architect, was asked to draw the plans. The new buildings were blessed on July 11th 1941.

n 1944, Dom Georges Mercure was elected to become the first Canadian superior. Under his priorship great care was given to the liturgical chant, to studies in general and the strengthening of the monastic spirit.