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Une abbaye de renom à l'époque moderne : l'Abbaye aux Dames de Saintes (fin du XVe siècle - début XIXe siècle)

Abstract : Between the late Middle Ages and the French Revolution, the story of the Saintes Abbey is worth being known to help having a better knowledge about religious communities and of Saintonge itself. It was the second feminine community in France because of its incomes, and the second richest lord in its province. While archives of the monastery were destroyed, resorting to notary acts and all external and available sources, and this contributed to establish its global history.The Royal Power had been unable to impose the nomination of the abbesses until 1544 and then they left power to dynasties of abbesses. After the partial failures of two reforms imposed by civilian authorities in 1511 and 1530, Françoise II de Foix, highly succeeded in bringing an end to the abuses dating from the Middle Ages, after a long preparation begun in the 16th century. The extreme mystical episodes of the inhabitants of the monastery were in the news in "Nouvelles ecclésiastiques" a Jansenist paper (1777-1787). It revealed the isolated spirituality in this contemplative community during the Enlightenment: and this helped understand the existence of out-dated practices and the evolution of mentalities. The Bishop and the local noble class grasp the opportunity to replace the Abbey by a chapter of canonesses.The recruitment system changed with the passing of time. In the 17th Century, a great number of Bordeaux Members of Parliament's daughters became part of this community but those from the old west-centre region aristocracy always remained higher in number. Reading played an important part among these powerful abbesses and their dynasties, living in a relative comfort. The abbey underwent many different spiritual trends because of its religious fervour: In the Renaissance period, this abbey would protect Humanists. In the 17th century, the abbesses totally supported the Jansenist movement. They followed the rigid moral standards before choosing the Jesuit trend. The monastery kept its riches after many proceedings. It lead a sort of limited charity policy considering its income, but this seemed very useful. With the help of well-informed and ambitious farmers it cleverly exploited its wealth, developing the distilleries in Oleron, and made dried up the marshes in the Poitou region, at the price of many conflicts. Some farmers, particularly those who were closely related to the abbesses, rose up to high political functions after the Revolution.
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  • HAL Id : tel-00909678, version 1

Citation

Allan Tissot. Une abbaye de renom à l'époque moderne : l'Abbaye aux Dames de Saintes (fin du XVe siècle - début XIXe siècle). Histoire. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30057⟩. ⟨tel-00909678⟩

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