- Tongerlo Abbey
Tongerlo Abbey is a
Premonstratensianor Norbertine monastery at Tongerlo [sometimes "Tongerloo"] in Westerlonear Antwerp, Belgium. [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14776a.htm Abbey of Tongerloo] - Catholic Encyclopediaarticle]
It was founded in 1128 in honour of the Blessed Virgin, by de Giselbert, who not only gave the land, but also himself became a
lay brotherin it. The first monks were sent from St. Michael's Abbey, Antwerp, under Henry, who had come with St. Norbertto Antwerp to extirpate the Tanchelmite heresies. The charter of its foundation was signed, amongst others, by Bernard of Clairvauxand by Waltman, first Abbot of Antwerp. The Bishop of Cambraigranted synodal rights to the abbots.
From small beginnings the abbey grew influential in a district called
Campine, now in north-east Belgium and south Holland, then a wild area. The bishops of Cambrai, the chapters of Liègeand Maastricht, and several landowners confided the charge of parishes, with the right of patronage, to the abbey. In time the abbey had to provide priests for some forty parishes, or small Norbertine residences, in these parts.
With the erection of new dioceses (1559-60) in Belgium and Holland, heavy burdens were cast on the abbey, for not only had it to provide the funds, but the new
Bishop of Bois-le-Ducwas put at its head as abbot. This state of affairs lasted until 1590, when, to obtain its independence, the abbey had to give up much property in support of the new diocese. The abbey was a centre of education. It possessed one of the largest libraries, and was able to take up the work of the Bollandists
The rise of
Calvinismin the Netherlands caused conflict. Three monks of Tongerloo are Catholic martyrs: Arnold Vessemand Henry Boschin 1557, and Peter Janssensin 1572. In the seventeenth century Francis Wichmansof the abbey rallied local Catholics.
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