Tour of the Monastery
The home of Edith Royer
© Monastère Saint-Élie
Carved wooden doors have been inserted into the old stone archway at the entrance. The carvings depict three scenes from the life of the prophet Elijah: his sojourn in the valley of the Kerith, where he was fed by ravens; his meeting with God on Mount Horeb; his ascension to Heaven in a chariot of fire.
When we open the door, we find ourselves in the courtyard of a traditional eighteenth-century Burgundian house. It was the home of Edith Royer, nee Challan-Belval (1841 - 1924), recipient of messages from the Sacred Heart and instigator of the Archconfraternity of Prayer and Penance, based in Montmartre. Edith and her husband lived in the house on the left and her in-laws in the one on the right. It was in her private room (the present monastery chapel) that Edith experienced frequent visions of the Sacred Heart.
Edith's descendants carried out her wishes by putting the property at the disposal of a religious community; so for fifty years (1898 - 1950) it was a Bernardine monastery, then it became the noviciate of the Little Brothers of Jesus, before becoming, in 1974, the home of the Carmelites from Nancy. Each community left its own imprint on the monastery. The Bernardines linked the two groups of buildings with a passageway and constructed cells on the first floor; the Little Brothers altered Edith's room (now the chapel) by creating a vaulted ceiling; the Carmelites made the outbuildings into guest-rooms and a spacious loft into a library. In the refectory, one can see the date when it was built: 1741.
At the entrance to the chapel there is an icon in memory of Edith Royer. Her grave is in the village cemetery in front of the church, which stands alongside the Monastery.
In the Monastery grounds are the graves of the first two Sisters to die; they were joint foundresses of the Carmel of St. Elijah.
"Happy are those whom you have chosen, those you have called to yourself, O Lord." (Byzantine funeral rite for women religious.)
Sister Marie (Magdeleine Oudart).
Born Jan.13, 1910; professed Jan.24, 1934; died Jan.6, 1993.
Mother Elisabeth (Marie Roussel)
Born Nov. 18, 1903; professed June 7, 1928; died June 15, 1996.
The community library, containing almost 30,000 volumes and a large number of periodicals, specializes in Patrology, ecumenism, Carmelite studies and iconography. One of its acquisitions is the personal library of Sister Marie of the Trinity, a member of the Dominicains des Campagnes, who died in Flavigny in 1980. Another collection of about 500 volumes is available for guests.