Dom Guéranger's prior, Dom Charles Couturier, was elected to succeed him. The tenure of this good and prudent man began under the best of auspices, in a monastery uniquely focused on the blossoming of its paternal heritage.
The first of many storms, however, blew up on the heels of the decrees of March 29, 1880 which sought to submit monks to completely unacceptable conditions, and in fact led to the dissolution of practically all religious houses of men in France. During a long and memorable day, November 6, 1880, the monks of Solesmes were the object of a spectacular expulsion.
During fifteen years of constant hardship, as detente alternated with renewed friction, the sons of Dom Guéranger lived on their own doorstep, sometimes succeeding in partial or even complete re-entry of the monastery. The offices and Mass were celebrated in the parish church or at St Cecilia's. The monks lived in some twenty houses placed at their disposal by the locals. Only by a very great grace of God did they retain their fervor in such abnormal conditions. These trials merely served to strengthen their unity of purpose, to attract vocations, and even to favor new foundations. Two were: the group of monks who restored the monastery of St. Maurus in Anjou; and the small group of chaplains, accompanying some of the nuns to Wisques, in the Artois, who prepared the foundation of monastery of St. Paul.