The origin of letters of ‘confraternity’, or of ‘participation in benefits’ for the two classes seem to be, as I hope to show later on, practically equivalent, is to be sought in the natural desire among those who were fighting against the corruptions of the world, to feel themselves fortified with the prayers of others engaged in the like conflict, and the no less natural wish to help their brethren in that struggle. Such associations would, equally naturally, be formed first and principally between monastic houses, since these formed, as it were, the entrenched camps into which religion retreated during the dark ages of Europe. But inasmuch as those thus associated were reckoned as in the fullest sense brothers, it was not long before the practical usefulness of these acts of confraternity became apparent in providing a means of arbitration in case of disputes between head and members in an abbey, as well as a sort of appeal against unjust treatment by a superior, or a remedy for fundamental incompatibility of temperament. Dom Ursmer Berlière, O.S.B., in an interesting article in the Mémoires of the Royal Belgian Academy, has investigated the jurisdictional side of these monastic confraternities, and therein relates the surprising experience of an abbot of St. Trond, who on approaching in the course of a journey the abbey of Brogne or St. Gérard, finds himself received with all ceremony, conducted at High Mass to the abbot's stall, and is informed that the officers of the monastery had to surrender to him their keys of office, and that he had the right to remit the punishment imposed upon a brother of the house. He asks the reason; and the only explanation his hosts can give, is that this is always done to an abbot of St. Trond on his first visit to Brogne. The author explains these proceedings by supposing the former existence of a formal act of confraternity between the houses, entirely forgotten on one side, and only partially remembered on the other.