Abbaye Notre Dame de Sénanque

The Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque is an active Cistercian monastery located in the commune of Gordes.

The Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque was founded on July 9, 1148 (June 23), by Cistercian monks from Mazan in the Ardèche. Notre-Dame de Sénanque is the fourth Cistercian abbey to be founded in Provence, after Le Thoronet, Aiguebelle and Silvacane.

The abbey belongs to a powerful monastic order, carried by the aura of Saint Bernard.

At the time of Sénanque’s birth, the Cistercians had more than three hundred and fifty male abbeys throughout Europe. They rely on a solid organization and have developed a specific and immediately recognizable architectural style.

At Sénanque, the community took possession of a narrow valley 1 km long and only 300 m wide, but the site corresponded perfectly to the order’s prescriptions: “no monastery should be built in towns, villages or rural estates” (chap. 9 of the Summa Cartae Caritatis).

Saint Benedict asks that “the monastery hold all the necessary things: water, mill, garden, bakery and the various trades so that the monks have no need to run outside, which is in no way advantageous to their souls”.

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