The main business of Maillezais was prayer and meditation. Our guide
today is Marie-Odile and she has given us a rich overview of the monk's life.
In Maillezais the order was Benedictine and in addition to work, prayer and
meditation, monks would hear a chapter from Benedict's rule each day.
Since today is June 10, we hear the chapter on humility in life, both public
and private. Above all we are to remember that we ourselves are sinners
and hold our heads low at all times. I should note that lessons like
these were no laughing matter, but one of the Renaissance's greatest jokesters
lived and studied here in Maillezais. Rabelais in some ways was France's
Shakespeare, but many years ahead... If you know of Gargantua, you know
of the giant that was the emblem of Renaissance energy, enthusiasm and
confidence in humanity. Rabelais stayed here for about 6 years as he was
contemplating ideas that would change the world. Believing in man's own
power to shape his destiny was a radical idea in those days. If you know
more of Rabelais's ideas you might be surprised to know that people here think
his famous and idealistic Abbey of Thélèmes is based in part on his days here