Benedictine monastery founded in Belloc (Urt, Laburdi) by Father Augustine Bastres, from Saint-Pée, Laburdi. In 1874, the Basque novices of the Benedictine monastery of Pierre-que-Vire, among them Father Bastres, wished to found an abbey in Euskalerria to devote themselves to missionary activity. For this purpose, they set their sights on an old, unoccupied farmhouse in Belloc. On 1 September, the monks arrived in Labastide, staying in the private houses that competed for their lodgings. On the evening of the same day, the whole village accompanied them to their new home in Belloc, singing the ongi ethorri, - aita onak, -Jainkozko gizonak.

In 1880, after the Republicans came to power, there was a serious crisis in the monastery. They were forbidden to teach. Bastres continued the work on the monastery undeterred. In 1888, Belloc was erected as an independent priory, with Fr Bastres as its first prior. On 4 November 1889, a letter from the Abbot General of the Congregation brought the decree of the Holy See erecting the priory as an abbey, and Father Bastres was promoted from prior to first abbot.

The work carried out by the monks of Belloc was enormous: the foundation of a Benedictine convent in Urt (1883), an asylum for the care of the elderly, that of St. Leo in Pau; an orphanage in Moguerre (1895); sending missionaries to the American Apostolic Prefecture of the Sacred-Heart Foundation; accepting in 1899 the Mission Palestinienne in the Holy Land and, in 1899, taking charge of the institution of the Child of God of Entre-Rios in the Argentine Republic.

In 1902, the French government ordered the dissolution of the Order within a fortnight. The monks took refuge in neighbouring houses. An official liquidating agent set himself up alone in a corner of the convent in the midst of a people who unanimously refused to greet him. A group of monks took refuge in Olza, Navarre, and another in Idiazábal, Gipuzkoa, until both groups met in the latter village. The new community was led by Fr Marot. The Basque writer Fr. Arbelbide preached in Idiazábal in 1904.

From Idiazábal they moved to Lazcano to occupy a large house, the former convent of the Carmelites expelled by the Spanish government. Around 1928, the Benedictine monks and the new monks from Guipuzcoa returned to Belloc. Lazcano was now to become, first a branch house and then a priory and an independent abbey. The Benedictines of Belloc provided the Order with two abbots general: Fr Gariador and Fr Etcheverry. 

In 1930 the Abbey was composed of 72 monks, with an apostolic school of thirty students. In its many foundations in the United States, Palestine, Pau, Lazcano and Dahomey (Zagnanado's foundation) it now has fifty priests, fifteen brothers and seven students. Not all the friars live in the monastery, there are six or seven who preach, others have gone to the house they have in Africa, and among those who live in Belloc, some are shepherding together with those of the surrounding area, while others welcome those who come from outside. In Belloc they raise sheep, but in addition to the milk they produce, they also buy it from the shepherds in the surrounding area, and are already renowned for the production of cheese, which is in great demand. They complete their economy with the cultivation of vineyards, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. In this way they alternate contemplative life and manual work. On 27 January 1955, the remains of Father Bastres were carried on the backs of the monks to the tomb of the founders in Belloc. The new church was consecrated by the Bishop of Bayonne on 1 September 1969. Father Xabier Diharce "Iratzeder" is appointed Prior of the Order. The abbey publishes the Basque collection Ezkila. References Moreau, R.: Histoire de l'âme basque, 1970. Darricau, Dom Ildefonse: Le pére Agustin Bastres. Founder of Belloc (1832-1904), Bordeaux, 1963; Caillava, M.: Fondarion de l'Abbaye de N. D. de Bellocsur-Joyeuse, 1950? Ibiñagabeitia, A.: Euskeraren Kabia.

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