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Jansenism and Revolution

Unfortunately for the cause of religion, as well as of sound learning, the course of Maurist history and work was checked by the bitter controversies which distracted the French Church in the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even before the Revolution, Jansenism had begun to exercise a baneful influence in many houses of the Congregation.

The evil was beginning to spread when the tempestuous flood of revolutionary violence swept the Maurist monasteries out of existence, after two centuries of vigorous life. But the results of the Maurist labors have survived the periods of anarchy and foreign wars, and to this day bear permanent witness to a glorious phase in Benedictine annals -- the high watermark of monastic erudition. The foregoing brief sketch of the Maurist Congregation and the mention of the European upheaval which brought about its ruin form a convenient point at which to close this short review of Benedictine history.

Not more than fifty monasteries, throughout the whole of Europe, survived the violence of the French Revolution. It is interesting to record, however, that a healthy and vigorous revival has already marked the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, so that at the present day [1912] there are more than 700 Benedictine monasteries and convents, with something over 23,000 monks and nuns, the numbers steadily increasing every year, especially on the American continent.

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