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Abbey Nullius of Santa Maria de Monserrato
(BEATAE MARIAE VIRGINIS DE MONTSERRATO).
An abbey nullius in Brazil.
When it was determined to restore the Benedictine Order in Brazil, the work was entrusted to the Congregation of Beuron, 24 April, 1895, under the guidance of Dom Gerard van Caloen. By a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Consistory, 15 Aug., 1907, the Abbey of Santa Maria de Monserrato at Rio de Janeiro, founded in 1589, was erected into an abbey nullius, the same Decree separated the District of Rio Branco from the Diocese of Amazones and subjected it to the jurisdiction of the Abbot of Santa Maria de Monserrato. This mission territory is bounded on the north and west by Venezuela, on the north and east by British Guiana, on the south by the two branches of the Rio Branco and the Rio Negro. In the early part of 1898 it was visited by Fathers Libermann and Berthon of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, who did a little apostolic work among the Catholics scattered along the banks of the Rio Branco. The region contains 6000 Catholic Brazilians, and 50,000 pagan Indians. Mgr. van Caloen born, 12 March, 1853; entered the Benedictine Congregation of Beuron, was appointed Abbot of São Bento at Olinda, 20 May, 1896, and general vicar of the Brazilian congregation in 1899, he was transferred, 28 Feb., 1905, to the monastery of São Bento, at Rio de Janeiro; made titular Bishop of Phocea, 13 Dec., 1907; and elected abbot-general of the Brazilian congregation, 6 Sept., 1908. He resides at Rio de Janeiro. On 8 June, 1907 he obtained a coadjutor, Abbot Dom Chrysostom de Saegher, Abbot of St. Martin of Thebaen, who has the right of succession to the abbatial See of Monserrato.
A. A. MacErlean.