The History of the abbey

The Abbey of Sainte Marie “de Boulaur ” was founded in 1142 by Pétronille de Chemillé, abbess of Fontevraud, the archbishop of Auch and Sanche I the count of Astarac. It was a dependency of the abbey of Fontevraud. The first abbess of Boulaur was Longuebrune the widow of the Count of Astarac, who after the death of her husband decided to enter the orders.

 

The monastery takes its name from the Latin “Bonus Locus” the Good Place, and gave its name to the village of Boulaur which used to be called Saint Germier, after a bishop of Toulouse who evangelized the region.

 

The church, Roman in its base, now has three bays with Gothic vaults and two Renaissance bays. Fourteenth-century frescoes cover the vaults of the choir and the next bay. Inside, the cloister dates from the 17th century and houses a statue of a Virgin and Child dated from the end of the 13th century or perhaps the beginning of the 14th century. It was found under a tiled floor and baptized the “Beautiful Lady” of Boulaur. The east wing is from the end of the 13th century. It’s a construction of alternating bricks and stones which was reworked in the 17th century.

 

After the Revolution, the nuns returned to the monastery and restored the church. They were expelled again by the anticlerical laws of the beginning of the 20th century. The monastery was restored in 1949 by nuns of the Cistercian Order.

 

In 1998, the community extended to revive the ancient Cistercian Abbey of Ste Marie de Rieunette in the Diocese of Carcassonne. Today there are 6 sisters there, including a novice. For more information you can visit their website: www.rieunette.org.