Mondaye Abbey near Bayeux, France – Day 9

Many hours were spent on the bus today as we headed to Normandy, with a glamorous service station lunch break (it actually was pretty delicious). After a quick check-in at the hotel, we drove to Mondaye Abbey. Founded in 1210, it’s the only Norbertine Abbey still active in Normandy. In the 1500s, the abbey burned, its treasures were dispersed, and the abbot was killed. Total reconstruction of the abbey was undertaken in the 1700s, but was never finished, as shown below. During the French Revolution, 17 Norbertines from Mondaye were expelled or imprisoned and all 92 Norbertine abbeys in France were closed. In 1859, the bishop of Bayeux gave Mondaye Abbey to Norbertines from Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium, and once again community life flourished at Mondaye, but only for a short time. The Norbertines were forced from the abbey a few times between 1880 and 1921. The Allied landings during WWII subjected the abbey to many days of bombing, and although the buildings have been repaired, you can still see evidence of the bombings on the abbey walls. Today, all of the abbey is their property except the church, which is the property of the village. They run a busy guest center on-site – we weren’t able to stay here because all the rooms were booked. Of the approximately 47 members of this Norbertine community, 27 live here at the abbey.

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