Click here for the 2018-2019 Pastoral Plan
Our Patron Saint
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Abbot And Doctor
1090 – August 20, 1153
Patron of Beekeepers, Candle Makers, Gibraltar
Parents are often surprised by their children. Bernard’s wealthy parents were no exception. At the age of twenty-two Bernard decided to become a monk. The most likely choice for him was to enter the Monastery at Cluny. The Benedictine monks there had a reputation for holiness, and the place was alive with young, enthusiastic men. Instead, Bernard chose to join the Cistercians in a poor, crumbling monastery called Citeaux. The older monks there lived a stricter life of prayer, silence and penance. Bernard was so eager about his choice that, by the time he left home, thirty-one other men decided to enter with him. Among them were four of his brothers, his uncle, and his cousin.
These people brought vitality to Citeaux. Within three years Bernard was sent to start a new monastery in a place that came to be named Clairvaux. As abbot, Bernard wanted to establish a life-style opposite to the worldly, powerful ways of the rich. In the first year he was strict about meals, work, prayers and sleep. Then he became sick and learned to be more understanding of human needs. His father and younger brother also decided to become monks with him.
During his busy years as abbot, Bernard longed for solitude and time to live a simple, monk’s life. However, almost daily, he received visitors and letters asking for advice and help. Because of his ability to settle disputes Bernard was called on to travel to various countries to give advice on Church and government affairs. He was fearless in giving his opinion and highly respected for his insight into problems.
In 1130 the newly elected Pope Innocent II faced the popularity of an antipope named Anacletus. The Church was facing a possible split. Bernard asked leaders in different countries to support the true Pope, who had been forced to flee. Finally, Anacletus lost his power, and Innocent II returned as Bishop of Rome.
When Bernard was chosen as an official preacher for the Second Crusade, he inspired many soldiers and pilgrims to join the cause for Christ. The Crusade failed because of the cruelty and greed of some of those who joined, and Bernard was unjustly blamed.
Bernard is known as the founder of the Cistercian Order because of his reform of monastic life at Citeaux and Clairvaux. For his advice and preaching, he has been called “the honey-tongued teacher”. Because of his role in government and Church matters he is known as “the man of the twelfth century”. He has been named a Doctor of the Church for his writings on the love of God, Scripture, the spiritual life and Mary.
St. Bernard, Pray for Us!
Memorare of St. Bernard