St Bernard History

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

The patron saint of our parish is generally known as St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard was born in Burgundy, France in the year 1090 at Fontaines-les-Dijon - the castle of the Fontaines. He was sent to the best of schools, had a great taste for literature and loved poetry. Entering college at an early age, he studied theology and Holy Scripture. After the death of his mother, he resolved to become a monk. He could have joined one of the rich and powerful monasteries of Benedictine monks, where the wealth and influence of his family would have assured him a distinguished career. Instead, he chose to enter the very strict Cistercian Order. In 1113, at the age of twenty-three, he entered the Cistercian monastery at Citeaux along with thirty young noblemen - a group that included brothers, uncles and friends.

His superiors soon noticed that Bernard had made great progress in his spiritual life; thus, in 1115, he and twelve other monks were sent to found a new monastery in what was then known as the Valley of Wormwood; within time it became even better known as the Valley of Light, or Clairvaux. His aged father came also, giving up his wealth and honor for the poverty of a monk in the monastery of Clairvaux. His married sister loved wealth. She visited Bernard, and the words he spoke moved her so deeply that two years later she retired to a convent with her husband's consent.

It was at Clairvaux where Bernard was appointed Abbot. As the Abbot of Clairvaux, Bernard did not lead a life of quiet contemplation - well read, literate, and having a bit of a short temper, he was nothing if not outspoken in his opinions and views. He was a powerful preacher and is reported to have performed miracles, especially in healing the sick. His reputation attracted great crowds of pilgrims to Clairvaux which soon became the most important of the Cistercian monasteries.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Bernard

God, You blessed Your Church with St. Bernard, a man full of zeal for Your house, radiating brightness and ardent love. Through his intercession, grant that we may be animated by the same spirit and always walk as children of light.   

Amen.