Discovering the marvelous man made creation that is Mont Saint Michel was without a doubt my favorite part about our trip to Normandy. After my visit to the island of Mont Saint Michel, I did some research regarding the history of such an historic French landmark.
The islands foundations were laid in 708 AD off the West coast of Normandy, France.
The Mont was a request of the Archangel Michel the leader of the “heavenly body of angels.” Legend says that Michel came to bishop Aubert of Avranches and requested he built a Monastery in his name. After Aubert ignored Michel’s request several times, Michel burnt a hole in the bishop’s skull. With that, and many other unexplained events which had occurred in the bishop’s life, he began to lay the foundation of the Mont in 708 AD.
After many leaders ruled over the Mont throughout the next two centuries, the abbey had finally been completed in 1084 after being designed by William de Volpiano who was chosen by Richard II of Normandy.
During the “Hundred Years War” the Mont became a fortress of solitude when towers and battlements were built around it, preventing the structures of the island from being destroyed.
During the next three centuries the Mont slowly became abandoned. Because of this, the monarchy used the abbey as a prison. The captive would be cared for by the remaining Monks of the Mont.
The prison was finally closed in 1863 and the Mont was officially made into an historical landmark.
Today, over 3 million people visit the Mont out of curiosity and to meet with and pray with the Monks who began to settle at the abbey in 1966.
I was fortunate enough to find myself in the abbey with the men and women of the church and had the honor of witnessing one of their catholic services.
My love for the past has always been reflected in my curiosity and as a result of visiting Mont Saint Michel (only to discovery its remarkable beauty and fascinating history) that love has strengthened my curiosity which has made me even more determined to explore and therefore learn.
Posted by Taryn Hugo.