Lestrange, Louis Henri De (Dom Augustine)

Lestrange, Louis Henri De (dom Augustine)

the renovator of the order of La Trappe, was born at Viverais in 1754. On his nomination as coadjutor to the archbishop of Viehne in 1780, he retired to La Trappe, in the department of Orne, near Mortaque, the seat of Cistercian monks since 1140, but reformed by the abbe de Rance in 1662, and which has given its name to all monasteries which have adopted the rigorous rule of Raned. SEE TRAPPISTS. In 1791 the French government seized the property of the monks of La Trappe, and Lestrange led twenty- four of the religious to Val Sainte, canton of Fribourg, Switzerland, where they were heartily welcomed, constituted an abbey by Pius VI, and Augustine placed at its head. On the invasion of Switzerland, in. 1798, by a French army, the Trappists were compelled to flee. They wandered with their leader through various parts of Austria and Bavaria, until Paul I promised them hospitality in his states, and they established themselves in Russian Poland in 1799. In the following year the czar issued a ukase ordering all French emigrants to leave his territories. Augustine then led his brethren to Protestant Prussia, where they found a temporary asylum. Then it was that a party of them, guided by Urban Guillet, embarked at Amsterdam for Baltimore, May 29, 1803. The deliverance of Switzerland, in 1804, soon permitted the monks to return to Val Sainte, and in 1805 Napoleon granted them authority to establish themselves in his empire. Mont Valerian, which rises at the gates of Paris, soon beheld a monastery of this austere order arise, but when the emperor began to persecute the pope, the fervent disciples of Rance and Lestrange resisted him. In 1810 Dom Augustine accordingly made his monks solemnly retract the oath of fidelity to the constitution of the empire, and Napoleon ordered all houses of La Trappe to be closed, and the abbot Lestrange to be tried by court- martial; but Augustine escaped to Switzerland, and thence traversing Germany, pursued by the imperial police, embarked at Riga for London, and thence for the United States. There (in the city of Boston) he found a second colony of Trappists, under Vincent of Paul, awaiting him. Dom Augustine Lestrange arrived in New York in 1813, to which place he ordered Guillet from Missouri, and Vincent of Paul from Boston, and concentrated at one place the scattered and feeble forces of the brethren. The energetic Lestrange also founded a community of Trappist nuns. Meanwhile the fall of Napoleon opened France to the Trappists, and Dom Augustine returned to restore the black-girdled monks to their home. He embarked for Havre in October 1814, with twelve monks, the sisters and pupils, when he restored the order to Europe. Lestrange, the indefatigable and heroic successor of Bernard and Rance, died at Lyons, France, July 16, 1827. See De Courcy and Shea, Hist. of the Cath. Church in the U.S. page 370.

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