Monasteries | Rochefort (B)
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy
B-5580 Rochefort ~ Belgium
Tel. +32 (0)84 22 01 40 ~ Fax +32 (0)84 22 06 86
The Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy abbey in Rochefort (Belgium) was founded in 1230. It belongs to the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, referred to as Trappists due to its historic links with the La Trappe abbey in France and its role in the reform of the Cistercian Order in the 17th century. The abbey has been devastated several times during its history but true to the coat of arms of Dom Philippe Lefèvre "Curvata, resurgo" ("Bent, I stand up again"), it always found the strength to recover.
Situated in a large valley at the foot of a wooded hill that separates it from Rochefort, the abbey is a real oasis of peace. It impresses with its contemplative ambiance, supported by its buildings dating from different eras and its natural environment. In a way only matched by a few other old monasteries, it has preserved its surroundings, its spirit and its atmosphere, which enchant us nowadays as they did in days gone by. Restoration work has recently been carried out with the aim of restoring the austere simplicity inherent to the spirit of Cîteaux and Saint Bernard. The abbey church is a fine illustration of this.
In order to preserve the climate of solitude essential to a life of reflection, visits to the abbey are not permitted. But the church is still largely accessible to people wishing to gather their thoughts there.
Living off their work and drawing from this the possibility of catering for a number of social needs, the monastic community of Saint-Remy chose to make its entry into the world of commerce on the agri-food market. This is how it came out that for centuries it has been producing a beer that has acquired great renown. The production is voluntarily limited. This high quality beverage should be consumed with wisdom and moderation, so that it can encourage sharing and friendship.
The brewery represents a major source (brewing has been carried on at Saint-Remy since the 16th century). Modernised in 1952, the installations allow for the production of very popular high fermentation beer, while remaining within fixed production limits according to real needs rather than market forces. It is a Trappist beer since it is brewed in the monastery by the monks with the help of a team of laypeople. In this way, the community is provided with a stable economy which safeguards the spiritual role of the monastery while securing its economic vigor.