Armand-Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé


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reformer of la Trappe. A godson of A. J. P. du Richelieu, by 1636 he held five benefices incommendam, including the Cistercian abbey of la Trappe. He led a worldly life until a sudden death in 1657 caused a dramatic conversion. Divesting himself of all his benefices except la Trappe, he invited monks of the Strict Observance to take over in 1662; after a year's novitiate at Perseigne he was blessed as regular abbot in 1664. To the existing rules of the Strict Observance he added more stringent regulations, based, he insisted, on the original uses of Cîteaux. He remained within the obedience of the Cistercian Order and Strict Observance, and it was only the unique survival of la Trappe in the time of the French Revolution that led to the widespread adoption of his reform in the Order. See also Trappists.

Subjects: Christianity.

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