The three lives of La Prée by Michel Christolhomme
La Prée (in Ségry, Indre, France) has experienced three periods: religious, bourgeois and humanitarian.
Founded in 1128, it is the oldest Cistercian abbey in Berry. Sold as national property to the Revolution, it was privately owned until the mid-twentieth century. In 1954 it was given to the “Les petits frères des Pauvres” Association. Used by the association to accommodate the elderly, it has also been since 1991 the place of an artistic residence created by the “Pour Que l’Esprit Vive” Association.
This division into three of the history of La Prée can be applied to many other places, religious or aristocratic, which has changed its usage in recent centuries due to events and the transformation of means and lifestyles. The religious period has obviously determined the essential characteristics of La Prée because it was the first and the longest. The monks had chosen the location of their settlement based on its natural features, in an unusual enclave in a surrounding landscape very typical of the Champagne area of Berry.
The buildings they have built have been remodelled over the centuries and despite some parts being demolished in the following period (the church and the cloister), it has maintained an admirable consistency. It is a credit to the current proprietors, the Les petits frères des Pauvres Association, who have restored and maintained the property. There is indeed a duty to save and preserve our collective heritage, and there are those who are hired to do it because it takes a lot of persistence and sacrifices. As a preserved place, La Prée now welcomes the elderly and artists.
It is a living place, anchored in our time.
Extract from the book "La Prée," by Michel Christolhomme,
Ed. Pour Que l’Esprit Vive - 2008
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 13:17