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Mont de La Salle History
This is the transcript
of an interview conducted by Michel Lombet of Ardennes, Belgium
for John Sweet ("Thanks Michel!")

Marche en Famenne, March 23rd, 2000

Dear John,

Please find here enclosed some replies to the questions
asked Friar Archivist of the provincial House of the Friars
of the Christian Catholic Schools of Mont de L Salle.

What follows only relates to the civil story of this
building, which was not a monastery but a home of Friars.
The quest about information on the military aspect is 
however still going on.

As the recollections of some of the witnesses are
sometimes not so easily obtainable, may I ask you
for some more patience.

Hoping to be to revert to this matter rather rapidly,

I remain, dear John
Yours truly

1. What is the acreage, built and total, of Mont de La Salle?

Built acreage: 2.41 hectares
Total acreage : 17 hectares, including the buildings, the
garden,the orchard, the meadows, the wood (park) and
the cemetery. When bought in 1932 and until 20 years ago,
the acreage amounted to 19 hectares but the estate was
narrowed by the construction of the Charlemagne road.

2. When was the building erected?

Beginning of the works of foundations in 1936.
Laying of the first foundation stone on the 18th of July 1936.
End of the works in 1938-39.
Feast of thanks to the workers of the building site on
Santa Barbara's day in 1938. Inauguration of the great
chapel on the 27th of August 1939.

3. What was the name of the building at the origin?

The << Mont de La Salle >). This name was chosen by the
Friars (Brothers) when the estate was bought.

4. How many floors, basement included, has the building?

Four levels: cellars, first floor, two floors under an
unused attic. In the part of the building which is looking
to Ciney, the level of the cellars becomes a habitable
basement: kitchen, living-rooms, parlours. This is due
to the fact that the building which makes some 120 meters
is horizontally erected on a sloping ground.

5. What was the initial heating system? Were there

The central heating is supplied by three coal boilers.
There were three elevators.

6. What was the origin of the name << Mont de La Salle>>?

The founder of our religious institution is Saint
John the Baptist de La Salle, born in Rheims in 1651,
deceased in Rouen in 1719. He is indifferently named
de La Salle or La Salle. A lot of institutions of the
Friars all around the world are named
<< colegio La Salle >>, << Center La Salle )),
<< School La Salle >>. When the building is located on
a hill, it could be named << Mount La Salle >>.

7. Is the community of the Friars subordinated to the
Vatican, to the Bishopric? We do not know if the
questioner is accustomed to the laws of the Church
of Rome. We can't sum up the canon law. As all the
believers of the Church of Rome and, more especially
as religious persons, the Friars are subordinated to
the Pope and the Bishops. The Institution of the
Friars of the Christian Schools being ruled by
papal law, a Bishop can't overrule the statutes,
which were approved by << Rome >>.

8. Who is the person who imposed himself to the German
military authorities during the Occupation? Did he
speak German?

This person was Friar Director Mary-Maurice,
Joseph VERDONCK, who was coming from the Flemish
province of Limburg (North-East of Belgium), who had
been a stretcher-bearer during World War 1. He could
speak German.

9. Did the Friars momentarily retake possession of their
building between both occupations?

The home is requisitioned by the German Army at the
beginning of February 1944. All the occupants were
evacuated. Only Friar Director Mary-Maurice and two other
worldly friars were allowed to remain in the buildings.
After the Liberation, the << Juvenists >> came back from
Carlsbourg to Ciney on the 20th of September. The Novices
came back from Grand-Bigard, near Brussels, on the 26th of
September. But the American Army requisitioned the home
on the 2nd of October. The Novices who were busy in
reoccupying their quarters carried their pieces of
furniture into the chapel.
Afterwards the Novices and the << Juvenists >> as well
started off again in groups to homes of refuge between
the 7th and 12th of October, driven away in trucks and
ambulances of the American Army.


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