In 1970, six sisters from the Abbey Our Lady of Nazareth at Brecht started a new foundation.
In 1981, the Priory of Our Lady of Klaarland became an autonomous monastery.
For the first 5 years, the six founding sisters lived in a former conference center in the district of Kiewit in Hasselt. It was a period of experimenting. In 1975 they found a manor farm in Bocholt-Lozen, as the definitive location for their community. The foundresses shared a longing for simplicity of life in a small community and a friendly atmosphere, in accordance with the spirit of Vatican II.
Growth and expansion
Soon after its foundation, the community experienced a long period of stability, and it took some hard work to survive. However, this tough time is inseparable from the present: only eight members around 1995, the community numbers fifteen members now. This growth necessitated the expansion of the buildings. In 1978 and 1979, a church and a part of the cloister had already been added to the original manor farm. In 2004, some extra rooms for sisters were built and the monastic quadrangle was completed. From 2008 to 2011, a great expansion of the complex was achieved: a new guesthouse, a new residence for families and small groups (De Klare Bron), a new library and a new access road. The workshops were also enlarged and partially renovated and seven new rooms for sisters were added.
In 2019-2020, professional production rooms for the monastery’s jam and cookie industries built.
On May 31st 2020, the community celebrated its 50th anniversary, with much gratitude and joy.
On 21 May 1996, seven Cistercian monks were murdered in Tibhirine in Algeria. This was a major event that unexpectedly affected the small community of Klaarland. The first impulse was to populate the monastery in Algeria again, and this idea gained immediately a lot of enthusiasm. Brothers and sisters from different countries applied for being sent to Tibhirine by the Abbot General at that time, Dom Bernardo Olivera. He asked one of the sisters of Klaarland, who at that time was a councilor of the Abbot General in Rome, to act as coordinator. Thereby Klaarland became the place to stay for some of the volunteers who had applied for Tibhirine. Although it turned out that in the end it wasn’t possible to achieve a new foundation in North Africa or the Middle East, for the history of Klaarland this makes no difference. Klaarland had been ‘put on the map’, literally and figuratively, and attracted new sisters.
Finally, after years of waiting, in Syria, in the mountains near the border with Lebanon, a small group of sisters from Italy built a new monastery. In 2010, one of the sisters of Klaarland went to Syria for six months to provide some help.