Fontfroide

Back in the year 1093 some Benedictine monks came to settle in this site, a piece of land donated to them by the Viscounts of Narbonne. In 1145 they embraced the Cistercian reformation. The Abbey flourished between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, time in which most of its premises were built: churches, cloister, chapter room, bedrooms, etc. From Fontfroide came the monks who founded Poblet in 1153. The monastery also played a decisive role in the struggles against the Albigensian.

When St.A.M. Claret, persecuted and ill, arrived at the Monastery in a hot afternoon on August 6, 1870, he was welcomed by the Prior and stayed in the same guesthouse that we can still visit today. This detail is expressly marked in the process of canonization; he died “… dans the chambre qui fait suite au grand pas perdu dans l’hôterie”. There he lived for two months, praying and writing; and there he endured his last illness that since early October forced him to stay in bed until his death occurred on 24th October 1870.

According to the testimony of Fr Francisco Xavier (abbot of Frontfroide in 1902), Fr. Claret would come down every day in the morning to the great and beautiful Monastery church; after a long preparation he used to celebrate Mass. He also would go down to the church every day to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Claret did not follow the daily timetable of the monks. However, he sometimes attended the conventual mass, always sitting on a modest seat in the choir.

We can still visit the simple cemetery where he was buried, on whose tombstone the following epitaph can be read: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile “(Gregory VIII). This was before the transfer of his remains to Vic, which began on June 11, 1897.

(Excerpt from the work “Centennial of the Transfer of the body of St. Anthony M. Claret  from Fontfroide to Vic, 1897-1997.” Vic, Claret Archive, unpublished)

 

 

 

 

 Fontfroide. Aude, Occitania (France).