The regular clergy in France

With the end of the wars of religion in France, there was a strong revival of the regular orders. In the early 1600s, even before the bishops' reforms of the secular ecclesiastical structures, a vast movement of French reforms' swept through the older religious orders and monastic congregations, with profound repercussions not only for religious life in France, but in all of Europe. A general tendency towards the centralization of existing institutions through a system of federal connections was initiated among the Benedictines. The first community to undergo such transformations was the congregation of Saint-Vanne and Saint-Hydulphe in 1604. This occurred in Lorraine, in an area of strong friction between Catholics and Protestants, and thereafter it spread through France. These regulars went on to found the Congregation of Saint-Maur. By the end of the seventeenth century the reforming process had advanced so far that very few French Benedictine monasteries were still linked to the ancient and formerly glorious abbey of Cluny.

Outside the Benedictine world, in the first three decades ofthe i600swavesof reform also permeated those institutions which lived according to the Augus-tinian rule, through a revival of the congregations of regular canons. These included the Union, or the congregation of regular canons of Our Saviour in Lorraine (Le Sauveur), established by Saint Pierre Faurier and approved by Rome in 1628; and the congregation of Premontres or Norbertines,

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