Feuillants

Feuillants

(Feuillants, Congregatio beatae Mariae Fuliensis), a reformed congregation of the Cistercians (q.v.). Their founder, Jean de la Barriere, of the family of the Vicomtes de Turennes, was born at St. Cere in 1544, and finished his education at the University of Paris. In 1562, when only 18 years of age, he received the Cistercian abbey of Notre Dame de Feuillans in commendam, and three years later took possession of it. After heaving received the income of the abbey for eleven months, he entered the order himself. His efforts to restore a stricter monastic discipline met with the unanimous opposition of the members of the abbey, and he was even in danger of being assassinated. He was charged at the chapter general held at Citeaux with introducing innovations, -but his defence made so deep an impression that many of the assembled monks placed themselves under his spiritual guidance, and enabled him to carry through a thorough reformation in his abbey. La Barriere and his friends now suffered a great deal of persecution from the old Cistercians; but their reformation. was, in 1586 and 1587, approved by the pope, though they remained subject, with regard to such points as were not at variance with their new discipline, to the abbot of Citeaux. Other abbys were authorized to adopt the reformation of Feuillans, and pope Sixtus V gave them the house of San Vito at Rome, to which, after a time, was added the house of St. Pudentiana, and somewhat later a beautiful monastery. In 1588 Henry III gave, them a monastery in Paris. During the civil-war La Barriere remained loyal to Henry III, whose funeral sermon he preached at Bordeaux, but many members of the order became ardent partisans of the Ligue. One of them, Bernard de Montgaillard, became celebrated under the name of "The Little Feuillant." By these partisans of the Ligue, La Barriere was denounced as a traitor to the interests of the Catholic Church. At a chapter held in 1592, under the presidency of the Dominican monk Alexander De Francis, subsequently bishop, of Forli, he was deposed from his position, forbidden to say mass, and required to report himself once every month to the Inquisition. A revision of the trial by cardinal Baronius led, however, to the acquittal of La Barriere. Pope Clement VIII fully dissolved the connection of the new congregation with Citeaux, placed them under the immediate jurisdiction of the papal see, and commissioned six of the members with framing new statutes. These new statutes provided for the mitigation of some of the rules, the rigor of which, it was reported, had caused the death of fourteen members-and they received the sanction of the Church in 1595. The congregation now spread in France and Italy, and at its head in France was an abbot elected for three years. As disciplines again began to slacken, pope Urban VIII in 1630 divided the congregation into two-the French, called after Notre Dame de Feuillants, and the Italians, the members of which were called reformed Bernardines. At the head of each was henceforth a general. Subsequently considerable alterations were made in the statutes of each (of the French in 1634, of the Italian in 1667). Among the most celebrated members of the two congregations belong cardinal Bona and Cosmus Roger. Joseph Moratius wrote their history (Cistercii reflorescentis seu Congregationum Cistercio--Monasticarum B. M. Fuliensis in Gallia et reformatorum S. Bernardi in Italia chronologica historia, Turin, 1690).

The first convent of nuns according to the reformed rule of Feuillants was organized in 1588 at Montesquieu. It was subsequently transferred to Toulouse. The chapters general held in 1595' and 1598 forbade the establishment of new convents, but in 1662 the wife of king Louis XIII succeeded in establishing one in Paris. According to a bull of Clement VIII of 1606, these nuns were subject to all the rules of the congregation of the Feuillants. It seems that the congregation has become entirely extinct in consequence of the French Revolution.--Helyot, Ordres Religieux, ed. Migne, s.v.; Henrion Fehr, Monchsorden, i, 159; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 4:61. (A. J. S.)

 
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