Friday, January 26, 2018

Our Founders

Today we celebrate the three founders of the Cistercian Order, Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen. Their ideal was a more authentic monastic simplicity and evangelical poverty. On 21 March in 1098, Robert, abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Molesme, France set out with twenty-one of his monks to the wilderness of CĂ®teaux to begin a new reformed monastery. By 1100 Robert had been called back to Molesme and Alberic was made abbot. We are told that Alberic had a tender devotion to Our Lady and received the Cistercians’ characteristic white cowl from her. Stephen Harding, an Englishman, succeeded Alberic as abbot and composed the Carta Caritatis, a kind of constitution which binds all the monasteries of our Order to a common observance of rules and customs.

These early monks of our Order wanted to be “poor with the poor Christ” and are said to have been “lovers of the brethren and the place.” We pray that we may be true to their example and beg their prayerful intercession as we strive to persevere worthily in this place.

A recent photograph taken at the Abbey by K'een Trainor.