Notre-Dame de Sénanque community

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Our day

Just like during the 12th century, a community of Cistercians monks is currently living in the Abbey of Sénanque, still following the rule of Saint Benedict.

Seven times a day, the monks gather in the abbey church to pray together.

The brothers of Sénanque dedicate their lives to prayer and labour.

Day of cistercians Monk of the abbey

Liturgy of the Hours

night comes to an end in the expectation of Christ’s return.

Christ leaves the night of the tomb to enlighten the world and save it from evil.

These services are called “minor hours”.

Daylight is fading, the community gathers to thank God for “wonders of the creation”

The last service before the silence of the night.
“The Lord grants us a quiet night and a perfect end”.

Our work

Ora et labora (pray and work): even if the sentence does not appear in the Rule of St. Benedict, it sums up perfectly the monastic life, divided into prayer, work and lectio divina (spiritual reading).

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul” Rule of St. Benedict, ch.48. The working time does not divert us from prayer: it is necessary to stimulate silence, to strengthen obedience, to emphasize humility. It is a way to find God too.

Though the prayer is the centre of the life of the monk, a large part of his time is dedicated to work. It is a way to maintain the monastery and to obtain the livelihood of the community.

Here in Sénanque we have several farming activities: lavandin growing, apiary, olive grove…

The sale of products made from our essential oil of lavandin, the gathering of our honey and our olive oil, and the monastic hospitality (for spiritual retreats) produce an income which allows the restoration of the abbey.

“When they live by the labor of their hands, as our fathers and the apostles did, then they are really monks”. Rule of St. Benedict, ch.48

Prayer by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

All of you, who see yourselves amid the tides of the world, tossed by storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, do not turn your eyes away from this shining star, unless you want to be overwhelmed by the hurricane.

If temptation storms, or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star: Call upon Mary!

If you are tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary.

If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship o f your soul, turn your eyes to Mary.

If troubled by the enormity of your crimes, ashamed of your guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, you begin to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary.

In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her name be even on your lips, ever in your heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life.

Following her, thou strayest not; invoking her, thou despairest not; thinking of her, thou wanderest not; upheld by her, thou fallest not; shielded by her, thou fearest not; guided by her, thou growest not weary; favored by her, thou reachest the goal.

And thus dost thou experience in thyself how good is that saying: ‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary.’

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, The Holy Name of Mary

One year with the Monks of Sénanque

” You, if you see a human being bravely diligent to good works, glowing of joy thank to the ardour of his conversion, don’t doubt of it: faith is living in him ; those are the indubitable proofs.”

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, extract from The Resurrection Of The Lord, sermon two.

Support us

To allow us to preserve the exceptional heritage of our Abbey and help our community.
You can help us by donating online. This donation entitles you to a tax reduction.

You can also send your donation directly to the Abbey:
Senanque Abbey – Father Prior – 84220 GORDES

We thank you in advance for your help and generosity.