Thomas Merton, a famous Trappist monk, in his habitAlso known as

  • Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe
  • O.C.S.O.
  • Trappistines


  • 1664 by Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rance


The reorganized congregation of the ancient Order of Citeaux founded in 1098 by Saint Robert of Molesme in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict. Despoiled by the French Revolution, a number of the monks with their superior, Dom Augustin de Lestrange, took refuge in Switzerland and elsewhere until restored by the fall of Napoleon in 1815. Reunited in France under the title Congregation of the Cistercian Monks of Notre-Dame de la Trappe in 1884, they were again divided by a decree of the Holy See in 1847, forming the two congregations of The Ancient Reform of Our Lady of La Trappe, following the Constitutions of de Rance, and The New Reform of Our Lady of La Trappe, to conform to the Rule of Saint Benedict. Many new foundations were made under this arrangement and by 1892 the congregations were strong enough to combine once more with one head and a uniform observance. Dom Sebastian Wyart under Pope Leo XIII restored Citeaux as the mother-house and in 1894 the present Constitutions, derived from Saint Benedict, were approved, confirmed in 1902, revised and approved by Brief in 1925. A general chapter, meeting annually, is presided over by the abbot-general who is elected for life and resides at Rome, where there is a procure. Each monastery maintains independently its own novitiate, there being no provincial divisions. Manual labour renders the monks self-supporting, but spiritual exercises and study occupy most of the day. Houses outside of France are in Belgium, the Far East (China, Japan, and Indo-China), Syria, and the United States, Canada, England, and Ireland. Cistercian or Trappistine nuns, following a rule similar to that of the monks.

MLA Citation

  • “Trappists“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 November 2019. Web. 4 December 2021. <>