The Trappists are Cistercian monks, belonging to the great monastic family of St. Benedict, of which it is a “reformed” branch.
The order had its origin in the twelfth century with the founding of Citeaux, the first monastery of our order established in Bourgogne, whose daughter houses and influence soon extended throughout Europe, thanks to the extraordinary spiritual gifts of St. Bernard (1090-1153).
A group of monks of Ia Trappe, a Cistercian monastery in Normandy, were the sole survives of the French Revolution of 1789. It was they who re-established the Order, and who gave it its popular name of Trappists.
The work of reclaiming and cultivating the land, which is the basis of the livelihood of the monastery, began immediately: olive groves, vineyards grain fields and vegetable gardens in the fertile places, with pine trees and cypresses in the rocky areas.
In 1890 a call came from the Holy Land to found a contemplative monastery there. It was the Abbey of Sept-Fons in the diocese of Moulins in France who sent monks to establish Latroun.
At the beginning of the First World War, the monastery was surprised and its laborious progress came to a halt. Because of the political situation, the monks were expelled, but at the end of the hostilities, they returned. In 1926 they began the construction of the Monastery as you see it today.
The Abbey is situated in the foothills midway between Jerusalem and the coast, with the plain of Sharon to our north-west, and the plain of Esdreion to our south-west. The monastery is built on a hillside. At the top of the hill are the ruins of a crusader castle.
From Latroun there is a beautiful view of many biblical sites: Emmaus, Ayalon. Bethoron, Gezer, Modin, Lydda, Sorec and Jaffa.
An atmosphere of peace and recollection, in silence and solitude, offers an invitation to lift the soul to God. With the monks coming from different countries, the community offers an image of a little “Society of Nations” where a common rule and fraternal charity establishes a unity of hearts.