St. Bernard (1090-1153)
The Mellifluus (“Honey-Sweet”) Doctor of the Church. Bernard was born to a noble family in Burgundy, France. In his early twenties, Bernard decided to enter the fledgling Order of the Cistercian monks (a stricter reform movement of the Benedictine Order) in Citeaux. His family and friends tried to dissuade, but in the end he ended up convincing some thirty other persons to join him in this pursuit. After just three years in the monastery, Bernard was chosen to be the founding abbot of the monastery of Clairvaux. So many people joined the monastery under Bernard’s leadership that it was able to found over sixty other monasteries throughout Europe. So although Bernard did not begin the Cistercian Order, he is often regarded as a founder of it due to giving such life to this fledgling Order. Bishops and princes throughout Europe would call upon Bernard to come and settle disputes, both ecclesial and secular. With great eloquence he taught the faith to all, and he is regarded as one of the Doctors (i.e. great teachers) of the Catholic Church. He died at the age of sixty-three.
O God, who made the Abbot Saint Bernard a man consumed with zeal for your house and a light shining and burning in your Church, grant, through his intercession, that we may be on fire with the same spirit and walk always as children of light.