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It was founded about 620 by Romaric, a lord at the court of Clotaire II, who, having been converted by Saint Ame, a monk of Luxeuil, took the habit at Luxeuil. It comprised a monastery of monks, among whose abbots were Saint Ame (570-625), Saint Romaric (580-653) and Saint Adelphus (d. 670), and a monastery of nuns, which numbered among its abbesses Saints Mactefelda (d. about 622), Claire (d. about 652) and Gébétrude (d. about 673).
At a later period the Benedictine nuns were replaced by a chapter of ninety-eight canonesses who had to prove 200 years of nobility. In 910 the nuns, menaced by the invasion of the Hungarians, took refuge at Remiremont, which had grown up round a villa of the Frankish kings, and in the 11th century they permanently settled there. Enriched by dukes of Lorraine, kings of France and emperors of Germany, the ladies of Remiremont attained great power. The abbess was a princess of the empire, and received consecration at the hands of the pope. The fifty canonesses were selected from those who could give proof of noble descent. On Whit-Monday the neighboring parishes paid homage to the chapter in a ceremony called the Kyrioles; and on their accession the dukes of Lorraine, the immediate suzerains of the abbey, had to come to Remiremont to swear to continue their protection.
The War of the Scutcheons (Panonceaux) in 1566 between the duke and the abbess ended in favor of the duke; and the abbess never recovered her former position. In the 17th century the ladies of Remiremont fell away so much from the original monastic rule as to take the title of countesses, renounce their vows and marry.
Princess Anne Charlotte of Lorraine, an aunt of Marie Antoinette, was an abbess. The last abbess, under the Ancien Régime, was Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon, the daughter of Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé; she was prioress of the Monastery of the Temple at her death in 1824.
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain. This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.