Dominican priories: Lille, France
The arrival of Dominican friars in the city of Lille in the North of France dates from 1224 and the presence of a Dominican community there has lasted until today, except for two periods: the French Revolution in 1789 caused the extinction of all religious life in France and the Dominicans didn’t come back to Lille until 1869, a few years after Henri-Dominique Lacordaire restored the Order of Preachers in France in 1843. Then a second expulsion of the religious orders in France took place in 1905, due to the law of separation between Church and State. This law was later softened, allowing the Dominicans to return to Lille in 1927 and they settled in the centre of the city.
The bell Tower of the priory
But in 1952 they decided to build a new, larger priory, able to accommodate the novices. It took nine years to build the priory, but the community moved in in 1957, before its completion. The brutalist architectural style of the building, with the use of rust-coloured bricks, brings to mind the factories that are to be found in the North of France. Furthermore, the priory is situated at the heart of a beautiful park, that has a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, suited to prayer and study.
Indeed, the Priory of Lille is currently the house of formation for the Province of France. The student friars are taught in philosophy and theology by some brethren of the community during the time of their simple profession. Like the English, the French Studentate also write for a blog called Tabella – which provides a glimpse into the life of a French Student Brother.
But other friars in Lille are also committed to pastoral works: prison, hospital chaplaincy and parish curacy. The Priory runs a Hall of Residence for 26 lay students as well. And for more than ten years, the management of the “Retraite dans la Ville” websites has been based in Lille. Under this banner, the Dominicans of the Province of France offer preaching and reflections on Scripture, retreats, Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual advice throughout the liturgical year. More than 80,000 people
followed the online retreat during Lent 2013. The next retreat for Advent 2014 will begin soon. Here is the teaser.
All are most welcome to visit the Priory and join the community for the prayer !