Eugene was the first Cistercian to become Pope. After he became a Cistercian he took the name of “Bernard” in honor of his friend, Bernard of Clairvaux. Never a shy man and passionate teacher, Saint Bernard wrote De consideratione to instruct him Eugene in papal duties. Father Bernard was appointed abbot of Tre Fontaine in Rome. Following the death of Pope Lucius II (+1145) the cardinals elected Abbot Bernard to be pope, who was not present at the conclave due to not being a cardinal. It is reported that ALL were surprised. He remained a Cistercian monk at heart.
The Dominican St. Antoninus called Pope Eugene “a great pope with great sufferings.” And, St. Bernard of Clairvaux spoke of Pope Eugene in this way: “There is no arrogance or domineering way in him.” Eugene III held synods in northern Europe at Paris, Rheims, and Trier in 1147 and 1149 that were devoted to the reform of clerical life. He also considered and approved the works of Hildegard of Bingen
He was beatified on 28 December 1872 by Pope Pius IX.
Thomas Merton wrote an essay on Blessed Eugene, “Blessed Eugenius III, Abbot of Tre Fountain, Pope,” Cistercian Studies Quarterly (2009) 44.2: 173-180.
With the Church we pray:
Almighty ever-living God, who chose blessed Eugene III to preside over your whole people and benefit them by word and example, keep safe, we pray, by his intercession, the shepherds of your Church along with the flocks entrusted to their care, and direct them in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.