St Bernard of Clairvaux Abbot and Doctor Of The Church

St Bernard of Clairvaux. 1090- 1153 
 Feast Day 20th August
 Scripture readings for today's Mass are here 

Bernard of Clairvaux, as shown in the church o...
Bernard of Clairvaux, as shown in the church of Heiligenkreuz Abbey near Baden bei Wien, Lower Austria. Portrait (1700) with the true effigy of the Saint by Georg Andreas Wasshuber (1650-1732), (painted after a statue in Clairvaux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I admit I haven't read much that St Bernard has written and I only know a little about his life, so I thought a post on him would be interesting.

One detailed account of his life here, and a Wikipedia account here.

Henry became a Cistercian under the influence ...
Henry became a Cistercian under the influence of Bernard of Clairvaux, shown here in a 13th century illuminated manuscript. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Useful background here on how St Bernard came to establish the Cistercian order of monks, from which the following edited extract below is taken.

"In 1112, an extraordinary period of expansion in the Cistercian order began with the entry in Citeaux of many noble and literate clerics and laymen led by Bernard of Clairvaux.  Bernard was a highly prolific writer and highly influential thinker who served as counsellor to both the church and secular leaders of his day. At the time of Bernard's death in 1153 there were 339 Cistercian Monasteries. The rapid expansion motivated the establishment of organizational structures and spiritual practices that remained permanent within the Cistercian Order. 

Foremost among these structures was the General Chapter guided by the Charter of Charity.  This guiding charter of the Cistercian Order is grounded in the spiritual principle, "Owe no one anything except to love one another" (Rom. 13:8)

Click here for anexcerpt from a sermon by St. Bernard of Clairvaux  used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast (Solemnity) of All Saints on November 1.  By the early 5th century, a feast in honour of all saints was celebrated in the Christian East on the first Sunday after Pentecost, as it is to this day.  This festival has been celebrated in the West on November 1 since the mid 8th century.

English: St Bernard of Clairvaux
English: St Bernard of Clairvaux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The map below shows the numerous Cistercian monasteries founded in the UK and Ireland. I don't know how many of them are still functioning as monasteries.
Click here for a great site produced by the Cistercians in Yorkshire - it has a vast amount of information on Cistercian spirituality, the role of women, environment and some neat multimedia.

Buckland Abbey and Buckfast Abbey in Devon are the nearest ones to the county of Cornwall, where I live. They are about 2 hours drive away and I have visited the beautiful Buckfast Abbey many times. It has a great bookshop !
Although it is now Benedictine, it's Cistercian origins and history can be read here.
Sadly, Buckland is no longer an abbey, but it has an interesting history.

 You can read more about Buckland here.

There are a couple of posts including videos and photos when I visited Buckfast Abbey in July last year from here and here.

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