Tag Archives: Cistercian

Saint Bernard, 900 years since entering Cîteaux


Nearly 900 years ago Bernard of Fontaine-lès-Dijon led
a group of young Burgundian noblemen, to the Abbey of Cîteaux in 1112 or 1113. The fledgling
new monastery got a burst of new life and from there set the world ablaze with
what became the Cistercian charism. 


Let us pray for the Cistercians in the
North America, paying particular attention to the intention of young men and women entering the
monastic life under the gaze of Saint Bernard. Beginning today until a year from now, the Cistercians are observing a Year of Saint Bernard. Let’s join them in knowing more about this pivotal saint and monk.


Vision of St Bernard Fra Bartolomeo detail.jpg

Most loving Father, in establishing
the New Monastery at Cîteaux our fathers followed the poor Christ into the
desert. Thus they lived the Gospel, by rediscovering the Rule of Saint Benedict
in its purity.

You gave Bernard of Fontaine the ability to make this new life
attractive and appealing to others, in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Grant that
we today, after their example, may live our charism deeply in a spirit of
peace, unity, humility, and above all, in the charity which surpasses all other
gifts.

May men and women of our time be called to follow the Gospel in monastic
life, in the service of the Church’s mission, in a world often forgetful of
You.

May the monks and nuns of our Order  continue to live in the
enthusiastic and generative spirit of the founders. And in all of our needs may
we always turn to Our Lady whom Bernard called the Star of the Sea.

Holy
Father, from whom we have already received so much, grant us again your
blessing that our communities may grow in numbers, but above all in grace and
in wisdom, to your glory, who are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer adapted from the original by Dom Olivier, abbot of Citeaux.

7 years since Basil Pennington

M. Basil Pennington.jpegToday marks the 7th anniversary of death of M. Basil Pennington, OCSO, monk, priest, abbot, writer. In 2005 he died on the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Abbot Basil died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident at the age of 73.
He was described aptly as a “great, loving bear of a man” with a terrific sense of humor and laugh. He was energetic and an impressive leader with a very large capacity for friendship. His openness and keen intellect allowed him to publish 57 books and more than a 1000 articles.
Father Charles Cummings’ obit of Dom Basil can be read here. If you’ve not known about Basil, then I would make the humble suggestion to read this piece and find the book, As We Knew Him, to introduce yourself.
Rest in peace, Dom Basil.

Be living sacraments of Christ’s presence in the world leading all to eternal life

I am slowly reading a book written by Dom Michael Casey, a Cistercian monk from the Abbey of Tarrawara (Australia), The Road to Eternal Life, a series of reflections on the Prologue of the Rue of St Benedict. With all the talk of being a good witness and yesterday’s emphasis on our destiny in Christ, I thought Dom Michael’s reflection on boasting in the Lord makes some sense for us today. I recommend the book.

“And again he says, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’.” (2 Cor 10:17 quoted in the Rule of St Benedict, Prologue v. 32)

The one in the New Testament who speaks most about boastfulness is Saint Paul. He sees boasting as an expression of an autonomy that weakens a person’s total reliance on God-that is, it weakens faith. Those who think that religion is simply a matter of conforming to the precepts of the law, or perhaps so twisting the precepts of the law so that they are comfortable, have not yet learned the art of putting their trust in God, relying on God’s mercy. They are locked into the schemes of self-perfection that they themselves have crafted. The end of such self-assurance can be only disaster. As Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote to Polycarp, “The one who boasts has already come to nothing”.

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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux


St Bernard.jpgI consider that the blessing of a fuller sanctification
descended upon her [Mary, the Mother of God], so as not only to sanctify her birth, but also to keep her
life pure from all sin; which gift is believed to have been bestowed upon none
other born of woman. This singular privilege of sanctity, to lead her life
without any sin, entirely benefited the queen of virgins, who should bear the
Destroyer of sin and death, who should obtain the gift of life and
righteousness for all. 



Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, Cistercian, Abbot and Doctor
of the Church

Cistercian nun leaves monastery to visit Pope Benedict, first time in 84 years

Sr Teresita.jpgA Cistercian nun at 103 years, is leaving the monastery for the first time in 84 years to meet Pope Benedict while he’s in Spain for World Youth Day.

Sister Teresa entered the Monasterio de Buenafuente del Sistal on the very day of Benedict’s birth, 16 April 1927. Aside from a distraction of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) that caused the nuns to flee fighting, Sister Teresa has lived her vocation as a cloister nun in that place.

A journalist for El Mundo, Jesús García, authored a book about 10 nuns, of whom Sister Teresa was included, titled, ¿Qué hace una chica como tú en una sitio como éste? (2011; What is a Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This?)
Sister’s monastery was founded in the 13th century, and for 20 years was the religious superior.

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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