Tilburg (abbey of Our Lady of Koningshoeven)

The arrival in the "Schaapskooi" of the "Konings'hoeven"

These dark forecasts of exile, which thankfully were not to be carried out for Holy Marie of the Mount, led Dom Domenica to decide to prepare a refuge in Holland. In December, he gave Dom Sebastien the responsibility to find a good site. After having put his efforts under the protection of the immaculate Virgin Mary, Dom Sebastien got underway. He quickly found what he was searching for. The Houben family of Tilburg placed at his disposal a vast field which had formerly belonged to the king, and which still had the name of “Royal Farms” or “Konings'hoeven”. This name dated from the time when the King of Holland, Guillaume II, resided in Tilburg and owned the field. The buildings were in a vast sheep-fold : the “Schaapskooi” and two smaller holdings with 50 hectares of ground. The monks received the whole for three years on a purely gratuitous basis.

Dom Domenica accepted the offer, and on March 4, 1881, six monks of Holy Marie of the Mount settled at Our Lady of Koningshoeven, with Dom Sebastien as Superior. During the same year, Dom Sebastien returned to the monastery of the Mont des Cats as Prior. He was replaced by Father Jerome Parent, who would eventually become the third Abbot of Holy Marie of the Mount.

In the narration of the foundation of the monastery of Tilburg, we cannot overlook the name of the Reverend Father De Beer. He was the founder of the Congregation of the Fathers and the Brothers of the Mercy, who took care of the new community. He contributed to its installation and it is he who blessed the regular places.

It did not take a long time for the new monastery to considerably increase its influence. The general Chapter of 1883 gave it the title of Priory, with Dom Nivard Schweykart the titular Prior. This Prior had built a brewery and expanded the farm, and there were many applicants when he was designated to take the government of a monastery in Croatia. Father Willibrord Verbruggen succeeded him and the house continued to thrive. It had become able to receive the title of Abbey. A special brief of the Pope, on April 11, 1890, conferred it this honor. Dom Willibrord I was elected Abbot. He was blessed in Rome on April 25, and on July 27 he was installed in Tilburg by his Immediate Father, Dom Jerome.

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