The Monastery of St. Clare

In order to maintain the spiritual vocation of the place, the Association Oeuvre Notre-Dame du Haut asked the Poor Clare community of Besancon to settle on the hill. The arrival of the sisters in Ronchamp brings together, on the one hand, the desires of the Association, the Chaplain and the Archbishop of Besancon to establish a contemplative religious community near the chapel of Notre-Dame du Haut and, on the other, the thoughts/ambitions of the Poor Clare Sisters to find another place of prayer, better suited to the needs of modern society.

Today, the sisters are a living, discreet, friendly and sisterly presence on the hill. The community lives by its own work and leads liturgical prayer in the chapel of Notre-Dame du Haut in conjunction with the Christians of the region, or in the convent chapel, which is always open to the public. The sisters welcome visitors and pilgrims coming from all directions - being very glad to meet them for discussion and prayer. Visitors searching for inner peace, healing and reflection can also stay at the convent, either individually or as a group.

The sisters have lived in the monastery, designed by Renzo Piano, since 2011. This project is the successful result of the common reflection and collaboration between the « Association des Amis de Sainte Colette », the “Association Œuvre Notre-Dame du Haut”, the Paris agency of Renzo Piano (Renzo Piano Building Workshop [RPBW]) and the community of Poor Clare Sisters.

Construction works, led by Paul VINCENT, the responsible senior architect in Renzo Piano’s team, were an artistic and technical challenge. The architecture of the convent of St. Clare is original, fully integrated into the hill. Simple in style (a combination of concrete, glass and wood) it is warm and helps a sense of inner peace. Being open to the surrounding light and vegetation are essential elements of the living spaces.