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- for other religious houses based in Chimay, see Chimay Abbey
Scourmont Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont) is a Trappists abbey on the Scourmont plateau, in the village of Forges which is part of Chimay in the province of Hainaut (Wallonia, Belgium). The abbey is famous for its spiritual life and the Chimay Brewery which it runs, one of the few Trappist beer breweries in the world. Life in the abbey is characterised by prayer, reading and manual work, the three basic elements of Trappist life.
In 1844, Jean-Baptiste Jourdain, the priest of Virelles, suggested that the wild plateau of Scourmont was a suitable place for a monastery. However all previous attempts to cultivate the barren plateau had failed. Jean-Baptiste Jourdain asked for support from Prince Joseph II de Chimay, the abbot of Westmalle Abbey and Westvleteren Abbey. Six years later, on 25 July 1850, a small group of monks from Westvleteren settled on Scourmont and founded a priory.
A lot of hard work was required to transform the barren soil of Scourmont into fertile farmland. A farm was created around the monastery, a cheese-making factory and a brewery. On 24 February 1871, Pope Pius IX granted the priory the status of abbey and it was inaugurated on 7 July 1871. Since then other monasteries have been founded by Scourmont, such as Caldey Abbey on Caldey Island which was taken over from the Benedictines who moved to Prinknash Abbey (December 1928) and Notre Dame de Mokotoin near Goma (Kivu, former Belgian Congo) (February 1954). The present day church of the abbey dates from 1950.
The famous beers and cheeses of Scourmont Abbey are marketed under the trade name of Chimay, after the village where the abbey is located.
- J. Van Remoortere, Ippa's Abdijengids voor Belgie, Lannoo, 1990, pp. 188-191
- Scourmont Abbey monastic website (French)
- Chimay beers and cheeses: commercial website (French) (English)
- Website of Dom Armand Veilleux, abbot of Scourmont (French) (English)