In 1854, a community of monks moved in Sénanque.
The 29th April 1857, Mrs de Pluvinal, the owner of the abbey, sold the buildings to the community, represented by its abbot Dom Barnouin. He then started some important works of restauration. New parts were built: for the novices above the river Sénancole, workshops in the south part and a monastic guest house in front of the church. Thanks to the numerous vocations, the community extended to 72 brothers.
During that same period, Jean Leonard (1815-1895) entered at the abbey of Sénanque and became the master of novices. He became after that abbot of the abbey of Fontfroide which is truly seen as a place of charity and hospitality. The words and the writings of Jean Leonard influenced personalities like Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Dom Chautard and Saint Antoine Marie Claret. His beatification process is currently in progress.
However, the 5th November 1881, the police evicted the monks because of the laws of the 3rd French Republic: most of the monks moved to the abbeys of Fontfroide and Lérins. Three brothers were allowed to stay in Sénanque to look after the monastery on condition of abandoning orders.
In 1882, the abbey was sold again as a public property for 15 000 francs.
In 1889, the monks came back discreetly at the abbey without contestation of the owner. At the beginning of the XXth century, authorities reacted against that installation: the community is evicted once again in 1903. From that moment, the monastery stayed open to all: one’s can still see today graffitis on several medieval walls.
The abbey is sold the 27th June 1905 to an annuitant of Cavaillon who let a farmer live in Sénanque. The 17th March 1921, the State ordered the classification of the oldest part of the buildings as Historical Monument.
In May 1926, a dozen of monks moved to Sénanque. The monastery became again the property of a community.
In March 1969, the five last monks living in Sénanque were not able to handle the heavy burden of taking care of the abbey: they decided to move to their mother-house of Lérins.
The abbot of Lérins decided to rent for 30 years the buildings to Mr Paul Berliet who promised to restore the monastery. The lease is signed on the 24th October 1969 and several campaigns of restauration started. This agreement was encouraged by the Minister of Culture, André Malraux, who was determined to save monuments in danger.
At the beginning of the 1980’s, the monastic community of Lérins was big enough to expand in Italy (monastery of Pra’d’Mill) and considered to return to Sénanque. The emphyteutic lease is not finished yet but Paul Berliet gave back the abbey to the brothers. The 26th November 1988, a part of the Cistercian community of Lérins went to Senanque.
Today, the community still follows the rule of Saint Benedict and lives thanks to the work of the brothers. Cultivation of lavandin, of olive trees, production of honey, visits of the abbey, hospitality and monastic shop permit the monks to live but also to maintain and restore the monument.