St Benedictus Abdij - Achel
- History of the Abbey - Beginnings in Achel

The convent at Achel, built in 1684 by hermits of Saint-Joseph and inhabited by them until the Revolution, had become the property of Jean Diederick, Baron of Tuyll, of Serooskerken, lord of Heeze, Leende and Zes-Guehuchten. He had rented it to three different tenants who shared the grounds.

In 1814, Dom Pierre I, Abbot of the Mount of Olives, tried to repurchase the Achel convent. Dom Pierre had to give up this idea, though, because the owner would only sell it if he, the owner, would retain hunting and fishing rights…

In 1844, the Abbot of Westmalle and the Prior of Meersel went to Achel to visit the convent. The church, badly damaged, was used as a barn and its grounds were used to beat the grains… Only two of the four wings of the old building remained – and even these were in ruins… As for the grounds of culture, they were in the worst condition. The two religious leaders, while disappointed, were not discouraged. They immediately initiated talks, knowing that other people were interested in acquiring the property. They agreed with the owner on the purchase price, but ran up against the same difficulties as the Abbot of the Mount of Olives, namely, the hunting and fishing rights. Thanks to the mediation of influential people, all of the difficulties were soon resolved, and on April 9, 1845, the business was concluded: the property passed to the hands of the monks, free from any constraint.

There was much to do to restore the building and to have it back to its cloistral form; the fields and the grazing grounds, neglected or in waste land, required great care. Happily, the winter of 1845 was very soft, which helped the work continued without interruption.

March 19, 1846, was the day fixed for the removal. Everything went well; carriages were gracefully lent by industrialists of Tilburg, and they transported personnel and materials. The following afternoon, the monks arrived at Achel…

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