Tilburg (abbey of Our Lady of Koningshoeven)

History of the abbey - origins

The Abbey of Our Lady of Koningshoeven is located in the Northern Brabant, the largest (5.128 km ²) of the eleven provinces which constitute the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The abbey is 3 kilometers from Tilburg, a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, and only 8 kilometers from the Belgian border.

The countryside is very flat, and is crossed by the river Meuse. The area is not favorable to the culture of cereals, except in the northeast where wheat, oats, barley, flax, and beets are cultivated in the argillaceous grounds. The sandy grounds yield rye and potatoes. The pastures are excellent everywhere and the breeding is easy.

With the French government having promulgated decrees of eviction of monks in 1880, Dom Domenica Lacaes, Abbot of the abbey of Holy Marie of the Mount (Mont des Cats, France), wanted to find a refuge abroad. A careful man, he sought the opinion of informed and qualified politicians. It seemed to him that since his monastery had survived, it could continue to be preserved in the future.

At this time, Dom Sebastien Wyart, the future General Abbot, had just returned from Rome, where he had been studying theology. As he had many relations in the political world in Paris, Dom Domenica, his Abbot, believed that Dom Sebastien was the most qualified man to gather useful information. So, Dom Sebastien left to evaluate the situation. From Paris, he wrote to his Reverend Father…. "The Government by no means intends to currently undertake new executions. Holy Marie of the Mount can live in peace for the moment… But one should not count on a “status quo” for quite long. The Revolution will follow its impious walk and will not suffer from all that is related with religion. Consequently, - it is the conclusion which comes out from my conversations - the Trappists will take a wise decision to prepare, as of now, to take a refuge in England or Holland."…

 

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