Catholic Pocket Dictionary – Trappists

Thomas Merton, a famous Trappist monk, in his habitArticle

A branch of the Cistercian order. The founder Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rance, born in 1626, was of a noble family. He was ordained priest in 1651. In 1660 he resigned all his benefices except the abbacy of La Trappe, and told the monks that they would thenceforth have to live by the rule of what was called the “Strict Observance” of the Cistercian order. La Trappe was an ancient monastery lying in the heart of La Perehe, not far from Seez, founded as a Cistercian house in 1140 by Rotrou, count of Perehe. The final result was the discipline of La Trappe. They are not free to choose the kind of work which they like best. The abbot himself works, and often takes up the most abject sort of employment. Their indoor employments, when the weather does not allow of outdoor labor, include carpentry, joinery, copying, binding, sweeping, and many other useful toils.

Probably the most trying part of all the discipline is the silence, no monk being allowed to speak to his brother on any occasion. The abbot and the guest-master are the only persons in the convent who are permitted to speak to strangers.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “Trappists”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 November 2019. Web. 8 July 2020. <>