Ranco, Armand Jean Le Bouthillier De
Ranco, Armand Jean Le Bouthillier De the well-known founder of the reformed order of La Trappe, was born Jan. 9, 1626, at Paris, where he was educated. Having taken his degree in the Sorbonne with great applause, and embraced the ecclesiastical profession, he soon became distinguished as a preacher, and through the favor of cardinal Richelieu obtained more than one valuable benefice. He possessed as a young man a large fortune, and, notwithstanding his clerical character, was carried away by the gayety and dissipation of Parisian life. After a time, however, having embraced the cause of cardinal Retz, he displeased and finally forfeited the favor of cardinal Mazarin; and being deeply moved by the death of a lady, the duchess de Montbazon, to whom he was much attached, he withdrew altogether from Paris, resolved to distribute all his property among the poor, and to devote himself exclusively to the practice of piety and penitential works. Finally, he resigned all his preferments (of which, by the abusive practice of the period, he held several simultaneously) with the exception of the abbacy of La Trappe, to which convent he retired in 1662, with the intention of restoring the strict discipline of the order. The history of the reforms which he effected will be found under the head TRAPPISTS. He lived in this seclusion for thirty- three years, during which he published a large number of works, chiefly ascetical. He died Oct. 27,1700. The only remarkable events of his literary life are his controversy with Mabillon, in reply to his Etudes Monastiques, on the subject of the studies proper for the monastic life, which is entitled Traite de la Saintete des Devoirs de 'Etat Monastique, and his controversy with Arnauld, which drew upon Rance the hatred of the Jansenists. Rance's works are numerous. In his vouth he edited Anacreon in one volume, octavo (Paris, 1639), with a dedication to cardinal Richelieu. His most noteworthy publications of his religious life, aside from those referred to, are, Explication sur la Regle de St. Benoit (Paris, 1689, 2 vols. 4to): — Abrege des Obligations des Chretiens: — Reflexions Morales sur les Quatres Evangelistas (Paris, 1699, 12mo): — Conferences (on the same, 1699): — Relation de la. Vie et de la. Mort de Quelques Religieux de la Trappe (1696. 4 vols. 12tmo), and other works on monastic life and its reforms, etc. See Tillemont, Vie de Rance (1719, 2 vols. 12mo); Marsollier, Vie (1703); Chateaubriand, Vie; Moreri, Dict. Hist. s.v. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.