The history of Saint Susan’s monastery on the south coast of England is as remarkable as the tumultuous times in which it existed. Located at East Lulworth, it was founded in 1794 and existed for twenty-three years before political and other circumstances forced Dom Antoine Saulnier de Beauregard and his community to leave England for France in 1817. There they re-founded the old Cistercian abbey of Melleray in Brittany.
Strangers in a Strange Land brings the story of Saint Susan’s monastery to light against the backdrop of a war between England and France, religious prejudice, conflicts of personality, lies, and misunderstanding. It introduces the dominant figure of the time, Dom Augustin de Lestrange, abbot of La Valsainte in Switzerland, as well as two others of major importance including the first prior of the house, Dom Jean-Baptiste Desnoyers, and the last and only abbot, Dom Antoine Saulnier de Beauregard.
David N. Bell is professor emeritus of religious studies and dean of theology at Queen's College, St. John's, Newfoundland, and canon theologian in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's. He is the author of a number of books published by Cistercian Publications, including The Very Devout Meditations attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, Handmaid of the Lord: Mary, the Cistercians, and Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS293, 2021), Everyday Life at La Trappe under Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS274, 2018), and A Saint in the Sun: Praising Saint Bernard in the France of Louis XIV (CS271, 2017).