Rorate Caeli

Interview with New Abbot of Triors, 35: Benedict XVI told me that, "in the present confusion, the important thing is to live according to the tradition." "Future belongs to those who esteem brothers with other liturgical sensibilities."


Triors is a beautiful village outside of Romans-sur-Isère, in the Drôme department in Southeast France, not far from where the Rhône and Isère rivers meet. In the 1980s, the heir of a beautiful property including a chateau and the remains of an old abbey decided to donate it for the foundation of a new daughter-house of Fontgombault.

Notre Dame de Triors (Our Lady of Triors) is one of the most beautiful new abbeys of France and, following the lead of Fontgombault, has always kept the Traditional Mass. Its work in the recording of the entire Gregorian music of the liturgical year in a CD collection made it very famous among many Traditional Catholics worldwide.

Just recently, the community elected their new Abbot, Dom Louis Blanc, just 35 years old -- a living example of how Traditionalist families are revitalizing the Church in France, as a smaller but much more vibrant and faithful church. Dom Blanc granted an interview to the latest edition of French Catholic monthly La Nef:

Triors: a path marked out by the centuries

La Nef
December 2022
Interview by Christophe Geffroy

Triors was founded by Fontgombault in 1984 and erected as an abbey in 1994 with Dom Hervé Courau as its first Abbot. Elected Father Abbot of Triors on November 30, 2021, Dom Louis Blanc, 35 years old, received the abbatial blessing on February 2, 2022.

La Nef - Could you first tell us about your itinerary and the reasons for your entry into Triors?

Dom Louis Blanc - The Lord made me be born in 1986 into a Christian family, the eldest of many brothers and sisters. My parents made sure that our religion was rooted in the loving awareness that we live in the presence of God. In the mornings, with our schoolbags on our backs, we would say a quick prayer together, and in the evenings we would pray the rosary together.

My schooling took place in the Versailles region, at Saint-Jean de Béthune and then at Saint-Dominique. For the high school and the preparatory school, I was in the public sector, in contact with the world of unbelief, happy and proud to testify to the joy of being Christian. I had the desire to serve my country as a naval officer, and the way was clear. Accepted, without even dreaming of it, at the École Polytechnique, I was able to embark on the aircraft carrier for a mission in the Arabian Sea. I certainly saw many beautiful things, at sea and in port, but the daily mass in the microscopic chapel under the flight deck, and the prayers near the tabernacle always attracted me more. "More than the voice of the deep waters, of the great waves of the sea, great is the Lord on high" (Ps 92:4).

The desire for the priesthood took root in my early years, perhaps through contact with my two uncles who were monks. When I was about 15 years old, I read the Rule of St. Benedict and marveled at the goodness of the patriarch who gives clear directives, but always specifies that they will be adapted to the abilities of each person. I had a great veneration for this life in which holiness is assured through fidelity. Then I became enthusiastic about the Story of a Soul, and I wanted to follow the Saint of Lisieux.

But the destination remained unclear, and the prospect of marriage did not seem closed to me either. I asked God for a sign and at the same time I investigated. A priest suggested that I visit two abbeys, but I was not tempted: the two names were too familiar to me! I wanted a hidden, ignored monastic life. So he told me about the abbey of Notre-Dame de Triors and I liked it, because I didn't know it! However, I had already met the Abbot, Dom Courau, during a conference he had given in 2004 to the leaders of the youth movement Missio.

After a short week at the abbey, where I saw nothing but consistency with my education, I returned to my life as a student. Learning that several of my friends were entering the service of God was the final trigger for my firm decision, taken in the cathedral of Chartres on a Pentecost Monday. I have never questioned this resolution, a personal commitment to the call. Things didn't drag on: I handed in my resignation and I entered my community in the Drôme in October 2008.

LN: You are a very young Abbot: how do you live this responsibility?


In 2008, the Abbot was recovering from cancer, and he was still able to steer the ship with gusto for more than ten years. But last year, considering a latent fatigue, he handed over his charge, at the age of 78. He had governed the monastery he founded for 37 years!

During the last years of his abbatiate, he entrusted me with the functions of Prior and Novice Master. I greatly appreciated the latter, demanding but so happy: one must pass on to welcoming souls, as the days go by, a beloved heritage, especially through life and in good spirits.

And since November 30, 2021 - one year already - here I am as father of those who had received me as a brother... We are 43 monks today. I certainly feel overwhelmed, but I am happy to be involved in the responsibility before the Church and before God. I inherit a community that is fervent and united in its diversity, thanks to which I am always asking for more.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, touched by the young age of the new Abbot, was kind enough to send me a letter on the occasion of my abbatial blessing last February 2. In particular, he told me the reason for the joyful hope that must inhabit me: "Of course, you do not want to assert your own will, but to see to it that the community of monks lives in conformity with what the Rule of St. Benedict foresees, and that it thus remains a living cell in the whole of the Church. It is essential that you do not carry out a personal project, but that you, as Abbot, be the servant of the unity that finds its measure in the faith of the Church and thus, ultimately, in the Lord."

It is easier to follow a path marked out by the centuries in this way.


LN: You are attached to the vision of holiness according to the Rule of St. Benedict: how would you summarize this approach to holiness for your monks and how does it also concern the laity?


St. Benedict had the charism to make the Gospel concrete in the ordinary life of the monk. He wanted his sons to "prefer nothing to the love of Christ", to "seek" and "fear God" in the constant awareness of his holy presence. Our dignity, as for every Christian, is to live unceasingly within the Holy of Holies, since Christ has opened the way for us. We follow him, all of us together, inside the veil, Ad interiora velaminis (Heb 6:19, my motto), where he has fixed for us the anchor of our hope.

Saint Benedict wants us to grow under the gaze of God. Dom Delatte explains this growth of holiness well when he compares it to the exchange of two gazes: "Our supernatural education is the fruit of a double gaze: God's gaze on us, our gaze on God. When God's gaze and our own meet, when it is prolonged and becomes habitual, our soul possesses the "fear of God". [...] "To you I look up, to you who are in heaven" (1).

LN: In a materialistic and utilitarian world like ours, what is the role of cloistered monks?


The materialistic side of the world was for me a strong motive to enter the shadow of the cloister. But my retreat leaves me responsible for my brothers and sisters in humanity. We also work in the cloister, but with a view to eternal richness, for ourselves and for others. For prayer is the first service that the Christian renders to the Church.

St. Benedict asks us to make ourselves "strangers to the ways of the world". However, contact with the world is inevitable, and it deeply questions the monks... Many are the small friendly signs: "Good morning, Father", "May God bless you", "Your fruitfulness, priests, is to do good to others", a young Muslim once told me. Consecrated persons thus point to Heaven. They must encourage the march of all towards this goal.

But the deepest and most assured contact is established through the celebration of the Office and the Holy Mass.

LN: As a monk, how do you see the future of our formerly Christian countries, now very strongly de-Christianized, disoriented on the one hand by an unprecedented anthropological deconstruction (gender, wokism...) and on the other hand by an uncontrolled immigration which is the origin of Islam?


Behind the organized and progressive destruction of natural and Christian references, I see the devil jealous of our resemblance with God: our being, intelligence, love, freedom, fecundity and peace are so many resemblances with the intense and quiet life of the three divine Persons in their unique being. So the devil and his henchmen are relentless. But I know that it is not possible to change the human nature created by God, and so I remain confident. In his letter, Benedict XVI gave me a wonderful line of action: "In the present confusion, it is important not to defend just any theory, but to live simply in the faith of the Church, according to the tradition conveyed in her Creed and in the rule of St. Benedict. Such a basic attitude gives mobility in the small things and firmness in the essential."

As for Islam, prayer for the conversion of these globally ardent souls can bear great fruit in overturning the errors of the dreaded dictatorship of atheistic relativism.

LN: How is the liturgy in your abbey managed in relation to the two liturgical forms and how did you receive the motu proprio Traditionis custodes?


Your question touches a sensitive point. Our abbey happily lives by the practice that comes from Fontgombault: the Roman liturgy as it is recorded in the ancient Missal. Some modifications have been made over the decades in response to the needs of the Church as expressed by Rome, especially in the beautiful Conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium.


When I entered Triors, I found again the atmosphere I loved in my family: unconditional love for the Church and the Pope, absolute respect for his Magisterium, and a careful liturgy. It was only after the year 2000 that I began to become aware of the liturgical debates, at a time when St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI after him had been able to restore a climate of peace. My friends live in both forms. A priest friend of mine from Emmanuel told me that he learned a lot in the abbeys about how to celebrate well. That is why I have never been peremptory on this subject, sure to be in the river of the Church's life. The motu proprio of 2021 seems to me above all a response of the Holy Father to a conflict between the caricatured bangs of the two sides.

"Nothing is more damaging to the liturgy than constant activism," said Cardinal Ratzinger (2). So I receive Traditionis custodes without revolutionizing everything, and I appreciate very much the rich reflections of the letter Desiderio desideravi.

Our bishop has expressed his esteem for me on several occasions, perceiving that we seek in the liturgy the encounter with Christ, without stiffness and deeply.

LN: Many "Trads" did not understand the reasons for this very firm text and did not recognize themselves in what Pope Francis said about those who refused the Second Vatican Council and the Mass: what would you say to these worried Christians and how do you see the future?


The liturgy is made for the glory of God and our holiness. It is therefore given to us by the Church.

It is important for the Church today, when some people still see the Council as a rupture - the form is new, yes, but not the substance - to have some strong signs of its continuity. Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2001: "To emphasize that there is no essential rupture, that the continuity and identity of the Church exist, it seems to me indispensable to maintain the possibility of celebrating according to the Old Missal as a sign of the Church's permanent identity" (3). This living practice of the Old Missal in its rich simplicity is also consistent with our monastic rhythm.

As for the future, I see one important thing: the caricaturists of all time have always eventually run out of steam. The future belongs to those who have esteem for their brothers of the other sensibility. I am thinking in particular of the communion that today unites the Abbots of the Solesmes Congregation. With a lot of patience, in a climate of welcome, the charism of Dom Guéranger, who in his time knew how to bring about unity in France around the Roman Missal, could manifest itself now in his sons who, all together, would bring a decisive stone to the progress towards unity.

LN: Pope Francis sometimes acts in an authoritarian way, as on the liturgical question, or on the contrary, he allows disturbing experiences to take place, such as the German synodal path, or he remains rather vague on important points, such as communion for remarried divorcees in Amoris laetitia: how can one live one's faith serenely in such a context?


First and foremost, one must leave the turmoil aside, it is not for the children of the good Lord. And then, one must maintain communion with Rome, with the necessary assent to the documents that emanate from it, according to their degree of authority. One criterion of this authority is their consistency with what the Church has always taught. If a discrepancy is discerned, let us reflect, take counsel, and pray, in a spirit of silence. [Emphases added] 

Immoral themes occupy too much space in public. St. Paul says, on the contrary, that these are "things that should not even be mentioned among you" (Eph 5:3).

Christ never abandons his Church. Neither does the Holy Spirit. Under their action and in the presence of the Virgin Mary, we are assured of reaching the bosom of the Father. Thank you very much.


(1) Dom Paul Delatte, Commentaire de la Règle de saint Benoît, Solesmes, 1913, p. 119-120, who quotes Ps. 122, 1.

(2) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Ad Solem, 2001, p. 70.

(3) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Conclusion of the liturgical days at Fontgombault in 2001.