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QR Vic-le-Comte – Bourg 10

The Convent of the Ladies of Fontevraud

In the middle of the 17th century, Auvergne, like the rest of the kingdom, saw a revival of Catholicism. Many religious houses were founded, especially in towns, where wealthy private individuals, nobles or bourgeois would make donations to religious establishments. This happened with the monastery founded in 1645 by Marie de la Guesle, widow of Lord Jean de la Guesle, whose castle was located in the east of the town. The convent of Esteil was chosen to provide the first nuns for the new foundation. The nuns of the Order of Fontevraud Both contemplatives and teachers, they took in young girls from the local bourgeoisie and nobility to give them their education.
In gratitude, the nuns offered Marie de la Guesle the privilege of entering the monastery with her attendant whenever she asked. As the founder, she would have a room in the monastery once she retired and for the rest of her days. She was also granted burial rights.
At the time of the French Revolution, the monastery had fourteen nuns. The Constituent Assembly, by decree of 2 November 1789, made church property available to the nation. The decree of 13 February 1790 prohibited monastic vows and abolished religious orders. In 1793, the monastery was sold as a national asset along with its outbuildings in the commune of Yronde-et-Buron.
We do not know what became of the nuns, only that five were still in Vic-le-Comte in July 1795. They were called before the municipality on 3 May 1795, where they agreed with the government of the Republic that they would not disturb the peace.
The monastery was restored in 1982 and is now a media library.

Image captions:

  • Reformed nun at Fontevraud, print, 1723

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