In 1623, Jean de Raval, Lord Tourlaville, and his wife Madeleine de la Vigne offered de la Vigne's cousin enough money to establish a monastery in Valognes that de la Vigne's would become the first abbess or 'superior'. The following year, the Bishop of Séez gave permission for a group of nuns to join the new abbey.

Plague prevented the nuns from taking up their new posts and construction did not begin until 1631. Later that year, enough construction had been completed so as to offer the nuns basic shelter and some took up residence. Finally King Louis XIII awarded a charter to Charlotte de la Vigne but she was not officially appointed until 1647. Construction was finally completed in October of that year.

Like other abbeys of France, Valognes suffered during the French Revolution and the persecution of religious orders.

During World War II, the abbey and it's surroundings were heavily bombed. In a single fortnight in June 1944, 84 bombs fell in the monastery. The nuns returned to a heavily damaged abbey. In 1653, a nun who had taken refuge in the abbey during World War I returned, was elected superior and led efforts to rebuild the monastery.

Though the abbey remains active, with resident nuns, most of the buildings have now been converted into the modern Hôpital de Valognes.

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Founded: 1631
Category: Religious sites in France

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