Tag Archives: Cistercian

Baldwin of Ford

In 1190 the Cistercian monk and Archbishop of Canterbury Baldwin of Ford died in Tyre, Lebanon.

Baldwin was born around the year 1120 in Devonshire, England. After completing his studies, perhaps at Exeter, he began a successful career in the service of Pope Eugenius III, who had begun his spiritual life as a Cistercian monk.
Upon returning to England, in 1169 Baldwin left all else behind and became a monk at the Cistercian abbey of Ford. He was soon made abbot, and although he did not spend many years in the monastery, he understood that monastic life is essentially a search for communion. In his beautiful treatises on community life, Baldwin was the first to assert that every human form of communion, especially in a monastic community, descends from the shared life of the three Persons of the Trinity.

Baldwin was elected bishop of Worcester in 1181, and several years later he became Archbishop of Canterbury. As leader of the Church of England, he was forced against his will to enter the turmoil of politics. During the reign of Henry II, who was responsible for the death of Thomas Becket, Baldwin defended the memory of his predecessor at Canterbury in his preaching and writing. He met his death participating in the third crusade at the orders of the new king, Richard the Lionheart.

From the Martyrology of the Monastery of Bose, Italy

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Saint BernardThe great Saint Bernard of Clairvaux has his feast day today. The Cistercian abbot and priest, preacher and counselor has left a permanent mark on the Church. His teachings reveal the depth of his love for God, particularly the second person of the Trinity. Moreover, he spoke often of God’s gaze upon us, His mercy for creation. We know from experience that God alone can satisfy our human desire; nothing can replace our desire for God and if we try to replace God with something, it will always eave us frustrated and empty.

From the writings of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux we read: “I am myself a Cistercian; do I therefore condemn the Cluniacs? God forbid! On the contrary, I love them, praise them, extol them. . . .If you ask why . . . I did not choose Cluny from the first, I reply that, as the apostle says…: ‘All things are lawful for me, but all things are not profitable for me.’ It is not that Cluny is not holy and just. It is rather that I am an unspiritual man, sold as a slave to sin. I knew that my soul was so weak that a stronger remedy was necessary. Different diseases call for different remedies; the more serious the illness, the more drastic the remedy.”

Trappist monks roll out their beer

Br Isaac with beerTrappist Brother Isaac shows some bottles of Spencer Trappist Ale. This is the latest venture of the Cistercian monks in Spencer, MA. They’re hoping to sell 4000 barrels (1.3 million bottles) of their beer.

The Boston Globe has a story here. Pray that the State of CT will allow the beer to be sold in CT soon.

All Cistercian saints and blesseds, pray for the monks, and for us.

American Trappists debut beer

Spencer Trappist Ale labelThe Trappist monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer, MA) have rolled out their product: Spencer Trappist Ale.

The Rule of Benedict tells the monks and nuns that they have an industry to bring in an income and the Cistercian charism is to attend to manual labor in a more concerted way (even though Benedictine monks ought also be so attentive). For years they have been making Trappist Preserves and designing vestments for the sacred Liturgy through their business the Holy Rood Guild. Time has come for a new venture given the human and economic ecology: the monks have found that they need to reasses their ways of making money given their the available monks. So many of them are old now and not many new recruits.

You can “Like” the Facebook page.

The Trappists are joining other US Benedictines who are making beer like the Abbey of Christ in the Desert (New Mexico).

Sainthood Cause of the Martyrs of Algeria, opened

Cause of the Martyrs of AlgeriaThe Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (the Trappists) announced that,

On October 7, Archbishop Bader of Algiers, with the agreement of the Abbot General and his Council, appointed Father Thomas Georgeon, monk of La Trappe and present Secretary of the Abbot General, as postulator of the cause of Archbishop Claverie and his 18 companions (among them our 7 brothers of Tibhirine). The appointment was approved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on October 11, 2013.

The 7 monks of the Monastery of Notre-Dame de l’Atlas were killed 26/27 March 1996. The Atlas Martyrs:

  • Dom Christian (de Chergé) – prior of the community
  • Brother Luc (Paul Dochier)
  • Father Christophe (Lebreton)
  • Brother Michel (Fleury)
  • Father Célestin (Ringeard)
  • Father Bruno (born Christian Lemarchand)
  • Brother Paul (Favre-Miville).

A 2010 film on the monks was released, “Of God and Men” which was well-received.

You may want to read Christian Salenson’s Christian de Chergé: A Theology of Hope (Cistercian Publications, 2012).

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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