Born: 1091, in his fa­ther’s cast­le at Les Fon­taines (near Di­jon), Bur­gun­dy.

Died: Au­gust 21, 1153, Clair­vaux, France.

Bernard’s fa­ther Te­ce­lin was a knight and vas­sal of the Duke of Bur­gun­dy. Ber­nard was ed­u­cat­ed at Cha­ti­llon, where he was dis­tin­guished by his stu­di­ous and med­i­ta­tive ha­bits. He en­tered the mon­as­tery of Ci­teaux (the first Cis­ter­cian in­sti­tu­tion) in 1113. Two years lat­er, he was sent, with 12 other monks, to found a daugh­ter mon­as­te­ry in the Val­ley of Worm­wood, about four miles from the Ab­bey of La Ferté, on the Aube. He rose to em­i­nence in Church po­li­tics, and be­came em­broiled in the pa­pal schis­ms of the 12th Cen­tu­ry. He was well known in Rome, and found­ed 163 mon­as­ter­ies through­out Eur­ope. The Ca­tho­lic En­cy­clo­pe­dia car­ries a large ar­ti­cle on him.

Bernard was a man of ex­cep­tion­al pi­e­ty and spir­it­u­al vi­tal­i­ty. Mar­tin Lu­ther, 400 years lat­er, called him, “the best monk that ever lived, whom I ad­mire be­yond all the rest put to­ge­ther.”



  1. Jesu dul­cis memoria
  2. Je­su, decus angelicum
  3. Jesu, Rex ad­mi­ra­bil­is
  4. Salve caput cruentatum
  5. Wide Open Are Thy Hands