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Port of Salvation

Ch I
The abbey of ND du Port du Salut (commune of Entrammes) was the first to be restored in France after the fall of Napoleon.

In the thirteenth century, the lord of Mayenne built a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and to Saint Nicolas, at a place called "Le port-Ringeard." This is still the church of the abbey.

On May 10, 1790 the canons were expelled, the land was sold and the buildings were abandoned, until they were taken over in 1815 by the Cistercians.

The abbey of ND du Port du Salut (commune of Entrammes) was the first to be restored in France after the fall of Napoleon.

When the revolution abolished monastic vows and suppressed religious orders, several monks and nuns, headed by Dom Augustin de Lestrange, master of novices at La Trappe, chose exile to remain faithful to their religious life. He first took refuge in Switzerland at La Valsainte, founding a very rigorous living community there. La Valsainte founded several monasteries, including that of Darfeld in Germany.

After the fall of Napoleon, it was possible to think about the reestablishment of the monks in France. Port-Ringeard was the first French site to receive a community. In 1814, a monk from Darfeld and a former monk from Morimond (near Langres) received authorization from Louis XVIII to found a Trappist monastery.

In Darfeld the monastery had welcomed an inhabitant of Laval who had also fled flee the Revolution, Jean-Baptiste le Clerc de la Roussière. Returning to France after the turmoil, he acquired the priory of Port-Ringeard and offered it to Dom Bernard de Girmont, sent to rebuild a Trappist monastery. It was the first monastery revived in France.


"Prayer and work occupy all the moments of Trappist monks. They must live on the product of the labor of their hands [...] Their work consists of agriculture and gardening. We see weaving workshops in the monastery [...] shoemaker's workshops; in general, all the arts that are used for their use are practiced there: the dairy, where cheeses are prepared; the brewery which provides beer for workers and foreigners ..." (Historical note on the town of Entrammes, 1853)

We find other references, particularly in "History of the Abbey of Port Du Salut of the former reform of ND de la Trappe 1815-1877" by Irénée Ménard, which explains "... in addition, the Reverend Father made sure to serve daily beer refreshments to the workers at the lock and at the bridge. So they said: the Trappists are honest people; if the revolutionaries come to attack them, we will defend them."


Further on in this same work we find reference to the activities carried out in 1872: "In the month of May (1872), the Father Abbot made a new loan of 60,000 Francs to Mademoiselle Marçais de Laval [...] With this sum, we had another building built the following year, parallel to the first and behind it, with a beautiful cellar and a zinc roof; it was there that a brewery was established, mounted on a high base and with all its outbuildings." So it seems that while a brewery existed before 1853, a new one was built in 1872-1873.


We find other references to the beer of the Fathers, in Littel's living age" N ° 2102 of October 4, 1884: "Thus at Le Port du Salut, they brew and drink beer ..."  and also "The dinner at Le Port du Salut consists generally of vegetable soup, salad without oil, whole-meal bread, cheese and a modicum of light beer. "

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