Dom Geoffroy Kemlin, new Abbot of Solesmes
"Fratres in unum" is the motto of Father Geoffroy Kemlin
After thirty years as abbot, tired of the task and wishing to hand over the reins, Dom Philippe Dupont, Father Abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes (Sarthe) since 1992, has stepped down.
Once approved by the Holy Father, this renunciation opened the way for the election of his successor, which took place on Tuesday 17 May at the abbey. A particularity of Solesmes is that the election of a new abbot does not only concern professed monks (those who have made solemn profession), but also the abbots of the monasteries that depend on it, some thirty in a dozen countries (Senegal, Lithuania, England, etc.).
Saint-Pierre Abbey is in fact the seat of the Benedictine congregation of Solesmes. The Benedictine order, which groups together all the monks who live according to the Rule of Saint Benedict, is in fact organised into congregations, i.e. groups of abbeys that help each other and maintain a canonical link. Founded in 1837 by Dom Guéranger, a priest from the diocese of Le Mans, the Abbey of Saint-Pierre was recognised by the Holy See as the heir to the French Benedictines who disappeared during the Revolution. All the abbeys founded or refounded by Solesmes or its daughters since then, whether female or male, constitute the said congregation.
Dom Geoffroy Kemlin, the new abbot of Saint-Pierre, is thus both the father of his community and the guarantor of the Benedictine heritage and of cooperation between the abbeys of the congregation over which he presides, even if each house remains autonomous. Before his election, Dom Kemlin had been prior of the abbey for six years, assisting Dom Philippe Dupont in his role as father of the monks.
Article and photos by Aleteia :