The Trappist Abbey of Chimay
A secular tradition
The monks of Scourmont Abbey in Chimay belong to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, usually called Trappists. These monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict (dating back to the 6th century), taking their name "Cistercians" from the monastery of Cîteaux, founded in Burgundy in the 12th century.
The Cistercian monasteries are divided into two great Orders, of which one is historically connected to La Grande Trappe Abbey in Normandy, which gives the common name of "Trappists."
The monks consecrate their lives to the praise of God through prayer and meditation. Taking a vow of celibacy, they live as a community under the direction of an Abbot and renounce all private possessions. At the heart of their lives they have their own work, and also endeavour by this work to procure help for the poorest.
For a long time the work of the monks was essentially the cultivation of the fields, but in the modern era this was extended to small industries, above all in the areas of food production and agriculture. And so in the northern lands, for several centuries now they have brewed beers and manufactured cheeses.
During the summer of 1850, a small group of monks established themselves on the wild plateau of Scourmont near Chimay. Around the monastery a farm, a brewery, and a cheese plant came to be.
Scourmont Abbey has developed various economic activities, permitting the growth of regional employment.