Val-Dieu Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in Belgium, founded in 1216 in what was then an isolated valley with a stream for agricultural and brewing activities. They called their settlement Vallis Dei (French: Val-Dieu; English: Valley of God).
Like many such ancient monasteries, Val-Dieu suffered recurring damage and destruction during wars and invasions; the church was destroyed and rebuilt four times, the last during the French Revolution. In 1844 the remaining buildings were resettled by the last living monk of Val-Dieu from the time before the Revolution, together with four monks from Bornem Abbey. In 2001 the last three Cistercian monks left.
Since 2002 a small lay community (the "Christian Community of Val-Dieu") has lived at the abbey, under the leadership of rector Jean-Pierre Schenkelaars, overseen by the regional ecclesiastical authorities, in association with the Cistercian Order. The new project was founded on the conviction of St. Bernard: "In life we must seek peace: Peace with our God, peace with our neighbor, peace with ourselves." The project is open to all Christians: couples as well as single people, the religious and the laity, people who, as a permanent commitment or for a limited time, wish to live and to deepen their faith with the support and sincerity of a Christian community.
The Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu (Brewery of Val-Dieu Abbey) was established in the abbey farm as the only non-Trappist brewing abbey in Belgium, brewing a recognized abbey beer in the tradition of the former Val-Dieu monks. In addition, a shop, a restaurant, and tours of the buildings and vast grounds help to support the community.
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