Louis-Charles Couturier

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Louis-Charles Couturier (12 May 1817, Chemillé-sur-Dôme, Diocese of Tours - 29 October 1890, Solesmes) was a French Benedictine, abbot of the monastery of Saint-Pierre at Solesmes and President of the French Congregation of Benedictines.


He was educated at the petit séminaire of Combrée in Anjou and at the grand séminaire of Angers, and was ordained priest 12 March 1842. After teaching history at Combrée from 1836 to 1854, he entered, in the latter year, the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Pierre at Solesmes, then newly restored by Dom Guéranger.

Guérangerappointed him master of novices one month after his profession, and towards the end of 1861 made him prior of the monastery. On the death of Guéranger he was unanimously elected Abbot (11 February 1875). Pope Pius IX appointed him consultor of the Sacred Congregation of the Index, and granted him and his successors the privilege of wearing the cappa magna.

Couturier and his monks were forcibly expelled from their monastery by the government, on 6 November 1880, and, having attempted to reoccupy it, they were driven out a second time on 29 March 1882. During the remainder of Couturier's life the community lived in three separate houses in the town of Solesmes, using the parochial church as their abbey church.

Couturier encouraged writers among his monks, and restored old and deserted monasteries, as well as fostering the foundations made by Guéranger. On 28 March 1876, he raised the priory of St. Mary Magdalene at Marseilles to the dignity of an abbey; in 1880 he restored and repeopled the monastery of Silos in Spain; in July, 1889, he established the priory of Saint-Paul at Wisques, in the Diocese of Arras; and on 15 September 1890, shortly before his death, he reopened the ancient monastery of Glanfeuil in the Diocese of Angers, deserted since the French Revolution.


His literary labours were chiefly his collaboration in the publication of "Les Actes des Martyrs", a French translation of the Acts of the martyrs from the beginning of the Christian Era to our times. The third edition of the work appeared in four volumes (Paris, 1900).


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Louis-Charles Couturier". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.  The entry cites:
    • HOUTIN, Dom Couturier, abbé de Solesmes (Angers, 1899);
    • BABIN in Revue Bénédictine (Maredsous, 1890), VII, 578-588;
    • Bibliographie des Bénédictins de la congrégation de France (Paris, 1906), s. v.