PaillotesBy the end of 1947 and the beginning of 1948, the first cells were built. The temporary chapel was built at the beginning of 1948 on the old foundations found there. In the spring of 1948, the monastery had an oratory, a row of cells, a kitchen and a shelter for recreation and conferences. The cells’ framework was made of bamboo poles which were then covered with sugar cane straw. This type of construction lasted until we transferred the monastery from St. Pierre to Terreville.

The site was indeed too hot for the monks, even the West Indians. Many were unable to stand the high temperatures. In addition, the recreational activities of a large neighbouring school, the noise of the football stadium, disturbed the contemplation and silence which are required in a monastery.

We sought another, cooler, site. This one was given to us by the city of Schoelcher, in the village of Terreville, at about 300 metres altitude. This luxuriant location overlooked, on the south side, the bay of Fort-de-France and the blue expanse of the Caribbean and to the north, the Pitons du Carbet hills. The same year, one of the very first sons of Father Crenier, Dom Patrick Webster, from Saint Lucia, became the monastery’s Prior. He led the monastery until 1969 when he was named in the diocese of the island of Grenada. On 5 May 1963, Mons. de la Brunelière blessed the first stone of the future monastery, Notre-Dame du Mont-des-Oliviers before celebrating a mass. The Préfet of Martinique was present, as were other of the island’s important people. On 31 July 1965, the anniversary of Dom Crenier’s birth, the community moved to Terreville, under Dom Patrick Webster’s priorship. The Priory’s church , finished in 1968, was consecrated in 1972, for the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation.

Therefore, monastic life began in Martinique the same way it has throughout history and throughout the world. In all times, the Holy Spirit has inspired men to meet God in solitude and to devote their lives to Him. It is part of the human experience, a phenomenon which is found outside and inside the Church.