Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist (Latin: Bernardus Claraevallensis; 1090 – 20 August 1153) was a French abbot and a major leader in the reform of Benedictine monasticism that caused the formation of the Cistercian order.

"...He was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. According to tradition, Bernard founded the monastery on 25 June 1115, naming it Claire Vallée, which evolved into Clairvaux. There Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary."[1] In the year 1128, Bernard attended the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar,[a] which soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II on 13 February 1130, a schism broke out in the Church. King Louis VI of France convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes in 1130, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rivals for pope. By the end of 1131, the kingdoms of France, England, Germany, Portugal, Castile, and Aragon supported Innocent; however, most of Italy, southern France, and Sicily, with the Latin patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem supported Anacletus. Bernard set out to convince these other regions to rally behind Innocent.

In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. He subsequently denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples elected Pope Eugene III. Having previously helped end the schism within the church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy. He preached at the Council of Vézelay (1146) to recruit for the Second Crusade.

After the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at the age of 63, after 40 years as a monk. He was the first Cistercian placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. In 1830 Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon Bernard the title "Doctor of the Church".

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux - Gutenburg - 13206
St Bernard in "A Short History of Monks and Monasteries" by Alfred Wesley Wishart (1900)
Doctor of the Church
Doctor Mellifluus
Fontaine-lès-Dijon, France
Died20 August,1153 aged 63
Clairvaux, France
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church
Canonized18 January 1174, Rome by Pope Alexander III
Major shrineTroyes Cathedral
Ville-sous-la-Ferté, religious vocations, preachers.
AttributesWhite Cistercian habit, devil on a chain, white dog
PatronageCistercians, Burgundy, beekeepers, candlemakers, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Queens' College, Cambridge, Speyer Cathedral, Knights Templar, Binangonan, Rizal, St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish Binangonan, Rizal

Early life (1090–1113)

Bernard's parents were Tescelin de Fontaine, lord of Fontaine-lès-Dijon, and Alèthe de Montbard, both members of the highest nobility of Burgundy. Bernard was the third of seven children, six of whom were sons. At the age of nine years, he was sent to a school at Châtillon-sur-Seine run by the secular canons of Saint-Vorles. Bernard had a great taste for literature and devoted himself for some time to poetry. His success in his studies won the admiration of his teachers. He wanted to excel in literature in order to take up the study of the Bible. He had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, and he would later write several works about the Queen of Heaven.[2]

Fra bartolomeo 02 Vision of St Bernard with Sts Benedict and John the Evangelist
The Vision of St Bernard, by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504 (Uffizi)

Bernard would expand upon Anselm of Canterbury's role in transmuting the sacramentally ritual Christianity of the Early Middle Ages into a new, more personally held faith, with the life of Christ as a model and a new emphasis on the Virgin Mary. In opposition to the rational approach to divine understanding that the scholastics adopted, Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary. He is often cited for saying that St. Mary Magdalene was the Apostle to the Apostles.

Bernard was only nineteen years of age when his mother died. During his youth, he did not escape trying temptations and around this time he thought of retiring from the world and living a life of solitude and prayer.[3]

In 1098 Saint Robert of Molesme had founded Cîteaux Abbey, near Dijon, with the purpose of restoring the Rule of St Benedict in all its rigour. Returning to Molesme, he left the government of the new abbey to Saint Alberic of Cîteaux, who died in the year 1109. After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. At the age of 22, while Bernard was at prayer in a church, he felt the calling of God to enter the monastery of Cîteaux.[4] In 1113 Saint Stephen Harding had just succeeded Saint Alberic as third Abbot of Cîteaux when Bernard and thirty other young noblemen of Burgundy sought admission into the monastery.[5] Bernard's testimony was so irresistible that 30 of his friends, brothers, and relatives followed him into the monastic life.[4]

Abbot of Clairvaux (1115–28)

Jorg Breu Sr St Bernhard Zwettl
Bernard exorcising a possession, altarpiece by Jörg Breu the Elder, c. 1500

The little community of reformed Benedictines at Cîteaux, which would have so profound an influence on Western monasticism, grew rapidly. Three years later, Bernard was sent with a band of twelve monks to found a new house at Vallée d'Absinthe,[4] in the Diocese of Langres. This Bernard named Claire Vallée, or Clairvaux, on 25 June 1115, and the names of Bernard and Clairvaux would soon become inseparable.[3] During the absence of the Bishop of Langres, Bernard was blessed as abbot by William of Champeaux, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne. From that moment a strong friendship sprang up between the abbot and the bishop, who was professor of theology at Notre Dame of Paris, and the founder of the Abbey of St. Victor, Paris.[2]

The beginnings of Clairvaux Abbey were trying and painful. The regime was so austere that Bernard became ill, and only the influence of his friend William of Champeaux and the authority of the general chapter could make him mitigate the austerities. The monastery, however, made rapid progress. Disciples flocked to it in great numbers and put themselves under the direction of Bernard. The reputation of his holiness soon attracted 130 new monks, including his own father.[4] His father and all his brothers entered Clairvaux to pursue religious life, leaving only Humbeline, his sister, in the secular world. She, with the consent of her husband, soon took the veil in the Benedictine nunnery of Jully-les-Nonnains. Gerard of Clairvaux, Bernard's older brother, became the cellarer of Citeaux. The abbey became too small for its members and it was necessary to send out bands to found new houses.[6] In 1118 Trois-Fontaines Abbey was founded in the diocese of Châlons; in 1119 Fontenay Abbey in the Diocese of Autun; and in 1121 Foigny Abbey near Vervins, in the diocese of Laon. In addition to these victories, Bernard also had his trials. During an absence from Clairvaux, the Grand Prior of the Abbey of Cluny went to Clairvaux and enticed away Bernard's cousin, Robert of Châtillon. This was the occasion of the longest and most emotional of Bernard's letters.[2]

Dehio 212 Cluny
The abbey of Cluny as it would have looked in Bernard's time

In the year 1119, Bernard was present at the first general chapter of the order convoked by Stephen of Cîteaux. Though not yet 30 years old, Bernard was listened to with the greatest attention and respect, especially when he developed his thoughts upon the revival of the primitive spirit of regularity and fervour in all the monastic orders. It was this general chapter that gave definitive form to the constitutions of the order and the regulations of the Charter of Charity, which Pope Callixtus II confirmed on 23 December 1119. In 1120, Bernard wrote his first work, De Gradibus Superbiae et Humilitatis, and his homilies which he entitled De Laudibus Mariae. The monks of the abbey of Cluny were unhappy to see Cîteaux take the lead role among the religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason, the Black Monks attempted to make it appear that the rules of the new order were impracticable. At the solicitation of William of St. Thierry, Bernard defended the order by publishing his Apology which was divided into two parts. In the first part, he proved himself innocent of the charges of Cluny and in the second he gave his reasons for his counterattacks. He protested his profound esteem for the Benedictines of Cluny whom he declared he loved equally as well as the other religious orders. Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny, answered Bernard and assured him of his great admiration and sincere friendship. In the meantime Cluny established a reform, and Abbot Suger, the minister of Louis VI of France, was converted by the Apology of Bernard. He hastened to terminate his worldly life and restore discipline in his monastery. The zeal of Bernard extended to the bishops, the clergy, and lay people. Bernard's letter to the archbishop of Sens was seen as a real treatise, "De Officiis Episcoporum." About the same time he wrote his work on Grace and Free Will.[2]

Doctor of the Church (1128–46)

Francisco Ribalta - Christ Embracing St Bernard - WGA19350
Christ Embracing St Bernard by Francisco Ribalta

In the year 1128 AD, Bernard participated in the Council of Troyes, which had been convoked by Pope Honorius II, and was presided over by Cardinal Matthew of Albano. The purpose of this council was to settle certain disputes of the bishops of Paris, and regulate other matters of the Church of France. The bishops made Bernard secretary of the council, and charged him with drawing up the synodal statutes. After the council, the bishop of Verdun was deposed. It was at this council that Bernard traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility. Around this time, he praised them in his Liber ad milites templi de laude novae militiae.[7]

Again reproaches arose against Bernard and he was denounced, even in Rome. He was accused of being a monk who meddled with matters that did not concern him. Cardinal Harmeric, on behalf of the pope, wrote Bernard a sharp letter of remonstrance stating, "It is not fitting that noisy and troublesome frogs should come out of their marshes to trouble the Holy See and the cardinals."[2]

Bernard answered the letter by saying that, if he had assisted at the council, it was because he had been dragged to it by force, replying:

Now illustrious Harmeric if you so wished, who would have been more capable of freeing me from the necessity of assisting at the council than yourself? Forbid those noisy troublesome frogs to come out of their holes, to leave their marshes ... Then your friend will no longer be exposed to the accusations of pride and presumption.[2]

This letter made a positive impression on Harmeric, and in the Vatican.


Bernard's influence was soon felt in provincial affairs. He defended the rights of the Church against the encroachments of kings and princes, and recalled to their duty Henri Sanglier, archbishop of Sens and Stephen of Senlis, bishop of Paris. On the death of Honorius II, which occurred on 14 February 1130, a schism broke out in the Church by the election of two popes, Pope Innocent II and Antipope Anacletus II. Innocent II, having been banished from Rome by Anacletus, took refuge in France. Louis VI convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes, and Bernard, summoned there by consent of the bishops, was chosen to judge between the rival popes. He decided in favour of Innocent II. After the council of Étampes, Bernard spoke with King Henry I of England, also known as Henry Beauclerc, about Henry I's reservations regarding Pope Innocent II. Henry I was sceptical because most of the bishops of England supported Antipope Anacletus II; Bernard persuaded him to support Innocent. This caused the pope to be recognized by all the great powers.

He then went with him into Italy and reconciled Pisa with Genoa, and Milan with the pope. The same year Bernard was again at the Council of Reims at the side of Innocent II. He then went to Aquitaine where he succeeded for the time in detaching William X, Duke of Aquitaine, from the cause of Anacletus.[3]

Marten Pepijn - Saint Bernard and the Duke of Aquitaine
Saint Bernard and the Duke of Aquitaine, by Marten Pepijn

Germany had decided to support Innocent through Norbert of Xanten, who was a friend of Bernard's. However, Innocent insisted on Bernard's company when he met with Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor. Lothair II became Innocent's strongest ally among the nobility. Although the councils of Étampes, Würzburg, Clermont, and Rheims all supported Innocent, large portions of the Christian world still supported Anacletus.

In a letter by Saint Bernard to German Emperor Lothair regarding Antipope Anacletus, Bernard wrote, “It is a disgrace for Christ that a Jew sits on the throne of St. Peter’s.” and “Anacletus has not even a good reputation with his friends, while Innocent is illustrious beyond all doubt.”

Bernard wrote to Gerard of Angouleme (a letter known as Letter 126), which questioned Gerard's reasons for supporting Anacletus. Bernard would later comment that Gerard was his most formidable opponent during the whole schism. After persuading Gerard, Bernard traveled to visit William X, Duke of Aquitaine. He was the hardest for Bernard to convince. He did not pledge allegiance to Innocent until 1135. After that, Bernard spent most of his time in Italy persuading the Italians to pledge allegiance to Innocent. He traveled to Sicily in 1137 to convince the king of Sicily to follow Innocent. The whole conflict ended when Anacletus died on 25 January 1138.[8]

In 1132, Bernard accompanied Innocent II into Italy, and at Cluny the pope abolished the dues which Clairvaux used to pay to that abbey. This action gave rise to a quarrel between the White Monks and the Black Monks which lasted 20 years. In May of that year, the pope, supported by the army of Lothair III, entered Rome, but Lothair III, feeling himself too weak to resist the partisans of Anacletus, retired beyond the Alps, and Innocent sought refuge in Pisa in September 1133. Bernard had returned to France in June and was continuing the work of peacemaking which he had commenced in 1130. Towards the end of 1134, he made a second journey into Aquitaine, where William X had relapsed into schism. Bernard invited William to the Mass which he celebrated in the Church of La Couldre. At the Eucharist, he "admonished the Duke not to despise God as he did His servants".[2] William yielded and the schism ended. Bernard went again to Italy, where Roger II of Sicily was endeavouring to withdraw the Pisans from their allegiance to Innocent. He recalled the city of Milan to obedience to the pope as they had followed the deposed Anselm V, Archbishop of Milan. For this, he was offered, and he refused, the archbishopric of Milan. He then returned to Clairvaux. Believing himself at last secure in his cloister, Bernard devoted himself with renewed vigour to the composition of the works which would win for him the title of "Doctor of the Church". He wrote at this time his sermons on the Song of Songs.[b] In 1137, he was again forced to leave his solitude by order of the pope to put an end to the quarrel between Lothair and Roger of Sicily. At the conference held at Palermo, Bernard succeeded in convincing Roger of the rights of Innocent II. He also silenced the final supporters who sustained the schism. Anacletus died of "grief and disappointment" in 1138, and with him the schism ended.[2]

In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran, in which the surviving adherents of the schism were definitively condemned. About the same time, Bernard was visited at Clairvaux by Saint Malachy, Primate of All Ireland, and a very close friendship formed between them. Malachy wanted to become a Cistercian, but the pope would not give his permission. Malachy would die at Clairvaux in 1148.[2]

Contest with Abelard

Towards the close of the 11th century, a spirit of independence flourished within schools of philosophy and theology. This led for a time to the exaltation of human reason and rationalism. The movement found an ardent and powerful advocate in Peter Abelard. Abelard's treatise on the Trinity had been condemned as heretical in 1121, and he was compelled to throw his own book into the fire. However, Abelard continued to develop his teachings, which were controversial in some quarters. Bernard, informed of this by William of St-Thierry, is said to have held a meeting with Abelard intending to persuade him to amend his writings, during which Abelard repented and promised to do so. But once out of Bernard's presence, he reneged.[10] Bernard then denounced Abelard to the pope and cardinals of the Curia. Abelard sought a debate with Bernard, but Bernard initially declined, saying he did not feel matters of such importance should be settled by logical analyses. Bernard's letters to William of St-Thierry also express his apprehension about confronting the preeminent logician. Abelard continued to press for a public debate, and made his challenge widely known, making it hard for Bernard to decline. In 1141, at the urgings of Abelard, the archbishop of Sens called a council of bishops, where Abelard and Bernard were to put their respective cases so Abelard would have a chance to clear his name.[10] Bernard lobbied the prelates on the evening before the debate, swaying many of them to his view. The next day, after Bernard made his opening statement, Abelard decided to retire without attempting to answer.[10] The council found in favour of Bernard and their judgment was confirmed by the pope. Abelard submitted without resistance, and he retired to Cluny to live under the protection of Peter the Venerable, where he died two years later.[3]

Cistercian Order and heresy

Bernard had occupied himself in sending bands of monks from his overcrowded monastery into Germany, Sweden, England, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy. Some of these, at the command of Innocent II, took possession of Tre Fontane Abbey, from which Eugene III would be chosen in 1145. Pope Innocent II died in the year 1143. His two successors, Pope Celestine II and Pope Lucius II, reigned only a short time, and then Bernard saw one of his disciples, Bernard of Pisa, and known thereafter as Eugene III, raised to the Chair of Saint Peter.[11] Bernard sent him, at the pope's own request, various instructions which comprise the Book of Considerations, the predominating idea of which is that the reformation of the Church ought to commence with the sanctity of the pope. Temporal matters are merely accessories; the principles according to Bernard's work were that piety and meditation were to precede action.[12]

Having previously helped end the schism within the Church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. Henry of Lausanne, a former Cluniac monk, had adopted the teachings of the Petrobrusians, followers of Peter of Bruys and spread them in a modified form after Peter's death.[13] Henry of Lausanne's followers became known as Henricians. In June 1145, at the invitation of Cardinal Alberic of Ostia, Bernard traveled in southern France.[14] His preaching, aided by his ascetic looks and simple attire, helped doom the new sects. Both the Henrician and the Petrobrusian faiths began to die out by the end of that year. Soon afterwards, Henry of Lausanne was arrested, brought before the bishop of Toulouse, and probably imprisoned for life. In a letter to the people of Toulouse, undoubtedly written at the end of 1146, Bernard calls upon them to extirpate the last remnants of the heresy. He also preached against Catharism.[11]

Second Crusade (1146–49)

News came at this time from the Holy Land that alarmed Christendom. Christians had been defeated at the Siege of Edessa and most of the county had fallen into the hands of the Seljuk Turks.[15] The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the other Crusader states were threatened with similar disaster. Deputations of the bishops of Armenia solicited aid from the pope, and the King of France also sent ambassadors. In 1144 Eugene III commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade[4] and granted the same indulgences for it which Pope Urban II had accorded to the First Crusade.[16]

Heiligenkreuz.Bernard of Clervaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, true effigy by Georg Andreas Wasshuber (1650–1732)

There was at first virtually no popular enthusiasm for the crusade as there had been in 1095. Bernard found it expedient to dwell upon taking the cross as a potent means of gaining absolution for sin and attaining grace. On 31 March, with King Louis VII of France present, he preached to an enormous crowd in a field at Vézelay, making "the speech of his life"[17]. The full text has not survived, but a contemporary account says that "his voice rang out across the meadow like a celestial organ"[18]

James Meeker Ludlow describes the scene romantically in his book The Age of the Crusades:

A large platform was erected on a hill outside the city. King and monk stood together, representing the combined will of earth and heaven. The enthusiasm of the assembly of Clermont in 1095, when Peter the Hermit and Urban II launched the first crusade, was matched by the holy fervor inspired by Bernard as he cried, "O ye who listen to me! Hasten to appease the anger of heaven, but no longer implore its goodness by vain complaints. Clothe yourselves in sackcloth, but also cover yourselves with your impenetrable bucklers. The din of arms, the danger, the labors, the fatigues of war, are the penances that God now imposes upon you. Hasten then to expiate your sins by victories over the Infidels, and let the deliverance of the holy places be the reward of your repentance." As in the olden scene, the cry "Deus vult! Deus vult!" rolled over the fields, and was echoed by the voice of the orator: "Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood."[19]

When Bernard was finished the crowd enlisted en masse; they supposedly ran out of cloth to make crosses. Bernard is said to have flung off his own robe and began tearing it into strips to make more[16][18]. Others followed his example and he and his helpers were supposedly still producing crosses as night fell.[18]

Unlike the First Crusade, the new venture attracted royalty, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France; Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders; Henry, the future Count of Champagne; Louis's brother Robert I of Dreux; Alphonse I of Toulouse; William II of Nevers; William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey; Hugh VII of Lusignan, Yves II, Count of Soissons; and numerous other nobles and bishops. But an even greater show of support came from the common people. Bernard wrote to the pope a few days afterwards, "Cities and castles are now empty. There is not left one man to seven women, and everywhere there are widows to still-living husbands."[16]

Bernard then passed into Germany, and the reported miracles which multiplied almost at his every step undoubtedly contributed to the success of his mission. Conrad III of Germany and his nephew Frederick Barbarossa, received the cross from the hand of Bernard.[15] Pope Eugenius came in person to France to encourage the enterprise. As in the First Crusade, the preaching led to attacks on Jews; a fanatical French monk named Radulphe was apparently inspiring massacres of Jews in the Rhineland, Cologne, Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, with Radulphe claiming Jews were not contributing financially to the rescue of the Holy Land. The archbishop of Cologne and the archbishop of Mainz were vehemently opposed to these attacks and asked Bernard to denounce them. This he did, but when the campaign continued, Bernard traveled from Flanders to Germany to deal with the problems in person. He then found Radulphe in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery.[20]

The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the Second Crusade he had preached, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him.[11] Bernard considered it his duty to send an apology to the Pope and it is inserted in the second part of his "Book of Considerations." There he explains how the sins of the crusaders were the cause of their misfortune and failures.

Moved by his burning words, many Christians embarked for the Holy Land, but the crusade ended in miserable failure.[4]

Final years (1149–53)

BernhardClairvaux Lactatio SourceUnknown
Bernard receiving milk from the breast of the Virgin Mary. The scene is a legend which allegedly took place at Speyer Cathedral in 1146.

The death of his contemporaries served as a warning to Bernard of his own approaching end. The first to die was Suger in 1152, of whom Bernard wrote to Eugene III, "If there is any precious vase adorning the palace of the King of Kings it is the soul of the venerable Suger". Conrad III and his son Henry died the same year. From the beginning of the year 1153, Bernard felt his death approaching. The passing of Pope Eugenius had struck the fatal blow by taking from him one whom he considered his greatest friend and consoler. Bernard died at age sixty-three on 20 August 1153, after forty years spent in the cloister.[11] He was buried at the Clairvaux Abbey, but after its dissolution in 1792 by the French revolutionary government, his remains were transferred to Troyes Cathedral.


Bernard was named a Doctor of the Church in 1830. At the 800th anniversary of his death, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical on Bernard, Doctor Mellifluus, in which he labeled him "The Last of the Fathers." Bernard did not reject human philosophy which is genuine philosophy, which leads to God; he differentiates between different kinds of knowledge, the highest being theological. The central elements of Bernard's Mariology are how he explained the virginity of Mary, the "Star of the Sea", and her role as Mediatrix.

The first abbot of Clairvaux developed a rich theology of sacred space and music, writing extensively on both.

Bernard, like Thomas Aquinas, denied the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. [21][22] John Calvin quotes Bernard several times[23] in support of the doctrine of Sola Fide,[24] which Martin Luther described as the article upon which the church stands or falls.[25] Calvin also quotes him in setting forth his doctrine of a forensic alien righteousness, or as it is commonly called imputed righteousness.[26]

Temptations and intercessions

One day, to cool down his lustful temptation, Bernard threw himself into ice-cold water. Another time, while sleeping in an inn, a prostitute was introduced naked beside him, and he saved his chastity by running.[4]

Many miracles were attributed to his intercession. One time he restored the power of speech to an old man that he might confess his sins before he died. Another time, an immense number of flies, that had infested the Church of Foigny, died instantly after the excommunication he made on them.[4]

So great was his reputation that princes and Popes sought his advice, and even the enemies of the Church admired the holiness of his life and the greatness of his writings.[4]


Stained glass St Bernard MNMA Cl3273
Stained glass representing Bernard. Upper Rhine, ca. 1450

Bernard was instrumental in re-emphasizing the importance of lectio divina and contemplation on Scripture within the Cistercian order. Bernard had observed that when lectio divina was neglected monasticism suffered. Bernard considered lectio divina and contemplation guided by the Holy Spirit the keys to nourishing Christian spirituality.[27]

Bernard "noted centuries ago: the people who are their own spiritual directors have fools for disciples."[28]


Bernard's theology and Mariology continue to be of major importance, particularly within the Cistercian and Trappist orders.[c] Bernard led to the foundation of 163 monasteries in different parts of Europe. At his death, they numbered 343. His influence led Alexander III to launch reforms that would lead to the establishment of canon law.[29] He was the first Cistercian monk placed on the calendar of saints and was canonized by Alexander III 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VIII bestowed on him the title "Doctor of the Church". He is labeled the "Mellifluous Doctor" for his eloquence. Cistercians honour him as the founder of the order because of the widespread activity which he gave to the order.[11]

His feast day is August 20th.

Saint Bernard's "Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus" is often published in Catholic prayer books.

Bernard is Dante Alighieri's last guide, in Divine Comedy, as he travels through the Empyrean.[30] Dante's choice appears to be based on Bernard's contemplative mysticism, his devotion to Mary, and his reputation for eloquence.[31]

He is also the attributed author of the poems often translated in English hymnals as "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" and "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee".

The Couvent et Basilique Saint-Bernard, a collection of buildings dating from the 12th, 17th and 19th centuries, is dedicated to Bernard and stands in his birthplace of Fontaine-lès-Dijon.[32]


An engraving of The Lactation of Saint Bernard. The Virgin Mary is shooting milk into the eye of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux from her right breast which allegedly miraculously cured an eye affliction.
Sancti Bernardi Opera
Sancti Bernardi Opera (1719)

The modern critical edition is Sancti Bernardi opera (1957–1977), edited by Jean Leclercq.[33][d]

Bernard's works include:

  • De gradibus humilitatis et superbiae [The steps of humility and pride] (in Latin). c. 1120. his first treatise.[34]
  • Apologia ad Guillelmum Sancti Theoderici Abbatem [Apology to William of St. Thierry] (in Latin). Written in the defence of the Cistercians against the claims of the monks of Cluny.[35]
  • De conversione ad clericos sermo seu liber [On the conversion of clerics] (in Latin). 1122. A book addressed to the young ecclesiastics of Paris.[36]
  • De gratia et libero arbitrio [On grace and free choice] (in Latin). c. 1128. in which the Roman Catholic dogma of grace and free will was defended according to the principles of St Augustine.[37]
  • De diligendo Dei [On loving God] (in Latin). Outlines seven stages of ascent leading to union with God.[38]
  • Liber ad milites templi de laude novae militiae [In Praise of the new knighthood] (in Latin). 1129. addressed to Hugues de Payens, first Grand Master and Prior of Jerusalem. This is a eulogy of the Knights Templar order, which had been instituted in 1118, and an exhortation to the knights to conduct themselves with courage in their several stations.[39]
  • De praecepto et dispensatione libri [Book of precepts and dispensations] (in Latin). c. 1144. Answers questions about which parts of Rule of Saint Benedict an abbot can, or cannot, dispense.[40]
  • De consideratione [On consideration] (in Latin). c. 1150. Addressed to Pope Eugene III.[41]
  • Liber De vita et rebus gestis Sancti Malachiae Hiberniae Episcopi [The life and death of Saint Malachy, bishop of Ireland] (in Latin). [42]
  • De moribus et officio episcoporum (in Latin). A letter to Henri Sanglier, Archbishop of Sens on the duties of bishops.[43]

His sermons are also numerous:

  • Most famous are his Sermones super Cantica Canticorum (Sermons on the Song of Songs). Although it has at times been suggested that the sermon form is a rhetorical device in a set of works which were only ever designed to be read, since such finely polished and lengthy literary pieces could not accurately have been recorded by a monk while Bernard was preaching, recent scholarship has tended toward the theory that, although what exists in these texts was certainly the product of Bernard's writing, they likely found their origins in sermons preached to the monks of Clairvaux.[e] Bernard began to write these in 1135 but died without completing the series, with 86 sermons complete. These sermons contain an autobiographical passage, sermon 26, mourning the death of his brother, Gerard.[44][45] After Bernard died, the English Cistercian Gilbert of Hoyland continued Bernard's incomplete series of 86 sermons on the biblical Song of Songs. Gilbert wrote 47 sermons before he died in 1172, taking the series up to Chapter 5 of the Song of Songs. Another English Cistercian abbot, John of Ford, wrote another 120 sermons on the Song of Songs, so completing the Cistercian sermon-commentary on the book.
  • There are 125 surviving Sermones per annum (Sermons on the Liturgical Year).
  • There are also the Sermones de diversis (Sermons on Different Topics).
  • 547 letters survive.[46]

Many letters, treatises, and other works, falsely attributed to him survive, and are now referred to as works by pseudo-Bernard.[2] These include:

  • pseudo-Bernard (pseud. of Guigo I) (c. 1150). L'échelle du cloître [The scale of the cloister] (letter) (in French).[2]
  • pseudo-Bernard. Meditatio [Meditations] (in Latin). This was probably written at some point in the thirteenth century. It circulated extensively in the Middle Ages under Bernard's name and was one of the most popular religious works of the later Middle Ages. Its theme is self-knowledge as the beginning of wisdom; it begins with the phrase "Many know much, but do not know themselves".[47][48][2]
  • pseudo-Bernard. L'édification de la maison intérieure (in French).[2]


  • On consideration, trans George Lewis, (Oxford, 1908)
  • Select treatises of S. Bernard of Clairvaux: De diligendo Deo & De gradibus humilitatis et superbiae, (Cambridge: CUP, 1926)
  • On loving God, and selections from sermons, edited by Hugh Martin, (London: SCM Press, 1959) [reprinted as (Westport, CO: Greenwood Press, 1981)]
  • Cistercians and Cluniacs: St. Bernard's Apologia to Abbot William, trans M Casey. Cistercian Fathers series no. 1, (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1970)
  • The works of Bernard of Clairvaux. Vol.1, Treatises, 1, edited by M. Basil Pennington. Cistercian Fathers Series, no. 1. (Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1970) [contains the treatises Apologia to Abbot William and On Precept and Dispensation, and two shorter liturgical treatises]
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs, 4 vols, Cistercian Fathers series nos 4, 7, 31, 40, (Spencer, MA: Cistercian Publications, 1971–80)
  • Letter of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux on revision of Cistercian chant = Epistola S[ancti] Bernardi de revisione cantus Cisterciensis, edited and translated by Francis J. Guentner, (American Institute of Musicology, 1974)
  • Treatises II : The steps of humility and pride on loving God, Cistercian Fathers series no. 13, (Washington: Cistercian Publications, 1984)
  • Five books on consideration: advice to a Pope, translated by John D. Anderson & Elizabeth T. Kennan. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 37. (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1976)
  • The Works of Bernard of Clairvaux. Volume Seven, Treatises III: On Grace and free choice. In praise of the new knighthood, translated by Conrad Greenia. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 19, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1977)
  • The life and death of Saint Malachy, the Irishman translated and annotated by Robert T. Meyer, (Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 1978)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, Homiliae in laudibus Virginis Matris, in Magnificat: homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary translated by Marie-Bernard Saïd and Grace Perigo, Cistercian Fathers Series no. 18, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1979)
  • Sermons on Conversion: on conversion, a sermon to clerics and Lenten sermons on the psalm "He Who Dwells"., Cistercian Fathers Series no. 25, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1981)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, Song of Solomon, translated by Samuel J. Eales, (Minneapolis, MN: Klock & Klock, 1984)
  • St. Bernard's sermons on the Blessed Virgin Mary, translated from the original Latin by a priest of Mount Melleray, (Chumleigh: Augustine, 1984)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, The twelve steps of humility and pride; and, On loving God, edited by Halcyon C. Backhouse, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985)
  • St. Bernard's sermons on the Nativity, translated from the original Latin by a priest of Mount Melleray, (Devon: Augustine, 1985)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux : selected works, translation and foreword by G.R. Evans; introduction by Jean Leclercq; preface by Ewert H. Cousins, (New York: Paulist Press, 1987) [Contains the treatises On conversion, On the steps of humility and pride, On consideration, and On loving God; extracts from Sermons on The song of songs, and a selection of letters]
  • Conrad Rudolph, The 'Things of Greater Importance': Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia and the Medieval Attitude Toward Art, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990) [Includes the Apologia in both Leclercq's Latin text and English translation]
  • Love without measure: extracts from the writings of St Bernard of Clairvaux, introduced and arranged by Paul Diemer, Cistercian studies series no. 127, (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Cistercian Publications, 1990)
  • Sermons for the summer season: liturgical sermons from Rogationtide and Pentecost, translated by Beverly Mayne Kienzle; additional translations by James Jarzembowski, (Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 1991)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, On loving God, Cistercian Fathers series no. 13B, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1995)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, The parables & the sentences, edited by Maureen M. O'Brien. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 55, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2000)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, On baptism and the office of bishops, on the conduct and office of bishops, on baptism and other questions: two letter-treatises, translated by Pauline Matarasso. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 67, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2004)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for Advent and the Christmas season translated by Irene Edmonds, Wendy Mary Beckett, Conrad Greenia; edited by John Leinenweber; introduction by Wim Verbaal. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 51, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2007)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for Lent and the Easter Season, edited by John Leinenweber and Mark Scott, OCSO. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 52, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2013)

See also


  1. ^ André de Montbard, one of the founders of the Knights Templar, was a half-brother of Bernard's mother.
  2. ^ Other mystics such as John of the Cross also found their language and symbols in Song of Songs.[9]
  3. ^ His texts are prescribed readings in Cistercian congregations.
  4. ^ For a research guide see McGuire (2013).
  5. ^ For a history of the debate over the Sermons, and an attempted solution, see Leclercq, Jean. "Introduction". In Walsh (1976), pp. vii–xxx.


  1. ^ Smith, William (2010). Catholic Church Milestones: People and Events That Shaped the Institutional Church. Indianapolis: Left Coast. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-60844-821-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Gildas 1907.
  3. ^ a b c d Bunson, Bunson & Bunson 1998, p. 129.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pirlo 1997.
  5. ^ McManners 1990, p. 204.
  6. ^ "Expositio in Apocalypsim". Cambridge Digital Library (manuscript). Cambridge Digital Library. MS Mm.5.31. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  7. ^ Durant (1950) p.593.
  8. ^ Cristiani, Léon. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153. Translated by Bouchard, M. Angeline. Boston: St. Paul Editions. OCLC 2874038.
  9. ^ Cunningham & Egan 1996, p. 128.
  10. ^ a b c Evans 2000, pp. 115–123.
  11. ^ a b c d e Bunson, Bunson & Bunson 1998, p. 130.
  12. ^ McManners 1990, p. 210.
  13. ^ Alphandéry 1911, pp. 298–299.
  14. ^ McManners 1990, p. 211.
  15. ^ a b Riley-Smith 1991, p. 48.
  16. ^ a b c Durant (1950) p.594.
  17. ^ NORWICH, JOHN JU (2012). The Popes: A History. London: Vintage. ISBN 9780099565871.
  18. ^ a b c NORWICH, JOHN JU (2012). The Popes: A History. London: Vintage. ISBN 9780099565871.
  19. ^ Ludlow 1896, pp. 164-167.
  20. ^ Durant (1950) p. 391.
  21. ^ James 1998, ep. 174.
  22. ^ Most 1996.
  23. ^ Lane, Anthony N. S. (1999). John Calvin: student of the church fathers. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. p. 100. ISBN 9780567086945.
  24. ^ Calvin 1960, bk.3 ch.2 §25, bk.3 ch.12 §3.
  25. ^ Luther 1930, p. 130.
  26. ^ Calvin 1960, bk.3 ch.11 §22, bk.3 ch.25 §2.
  27. ^ Cunningham & Egan 1996, pp. 91–92.
  28. ^ Cunningham & Egan 1996, p. 21.
  29. ^ Duffy 1997, p. 101.
  30. ^ Paradiso, cantos XXXI–XXXIII
  31. ^ Botterill 1994.
  32. ^ "Monuments historiques : Couvent et Basilique Saint-Bernard", Mérimée (in French), Ministère de la Culture, retrieved 2017-07-21
  33. ^ SBOp.
  34. ^ PL, 182, cols. 939–972c.
  35. ^ PL, 182, cols. 893–918a.
  36. ^ PL, 182, cols. 833–856d.
  37. ^ PL, 182, cols. 999–1030a.
  38. ^ PL, 182, cols. 971–1000b.
  39. ^ PL, 182, cols. 917–940b.
  40. ^ PL, 182, cols. 857–894c.
  41. ^ PL, 182, cols. 727–808a.
  42. ^ PL, 182, cols. 1073–1118a.
  43. ^ Ep. 42 (PL, 182, cols. 807–834a).
  44. ^ Verbaal 2004.
  45. ^ PL, 183, cols. 785–1198A.
  46. ^ SBOp, v. 7–8.
  47. ^ PL, 184, cols. 485–508.
  48. ^ Bestul 2012, p. 164.


  • Wikisource Alphandéry, Paul D. (1911). "Henry of Lausanne" . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 298–299.
  • Bernard of Clairvaux (1976). On the Song of Songs II. Cistercian Fathers series. 7. Translated by Walsh, Kilian. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. OCLC 2621974.
  • Bernard of Clairvaux (1998). The letters of St Bernard of Clairvaux. Cistercian Fathers series. 62. Translated by James, Bruno Scott. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. ISBN 9780879071622.
  • Bernard of Clairvaux. Mabillon, Jean, ed. Opera omnia. Patrologia Latina (in Latin). 182–185. Paris: Jacques Paul Migne. 6 tomes in 4 volumes.
  • Bernard of Clairvaux (1957–1977). Leclerq, Jean; Talbot, Charles H.; Rochais, Henri Marie, eds. Sancti Bernardi Opera (in Latin). 8 volumes in 9. Rome: Éditions cisterciennes. OCLC 654190630.
  • Bestul, Thomas H (2012). "Meditatio/Meditation". In Hollywood, Amy; Beckman, Patricia Z. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521863650.
  • Botterill, Steven (1994). Dante and the Mystical Tradition: Bernard of Clairvaux in the Commedia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bunson, Matthew; Bunson, Margaret & Bunson, Stephen (1998). Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor.
  • Calvin, John (1960). McNeill, John T., ed. Institutes of the Christian Religion. 1. Translated by Battles, Ford Lewis. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. OCLC 844778472.
  • Cantor, Norman (1994). The Civilization of the Middle Ages. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0-06-092553-1.
  • Cunningham, Lawrence S.; Egan, Keith J. (1996). "Meditation and contemplation". Christian spirituality: themes from the tradition. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3660-5.
  • Duffy, Eamon (1997). Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes.
  • Evans, Gillian R. (2000). Bernard of Clairvaux (Great Medieval Thinkers). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512525-8.
  • Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bernard, Saint" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 795–798.
  •  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGildas, Marie (1907). "St. Bernard of Clairvaux" . In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 2. New York: Robert Appleton.
  • Gilson, Etienne (1940). The mystical theology of St Bernard. London: Sheed & Ward.
  • Ludlow, James Meeker (1896). The Age of the Crusades. Ten epochs of church history. 6. New York: Christian Literature. OCLC 904364803.
  • Luther, Martin (1930). D. Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesammtausgabe (in German and Latin). 40. Weimar: Herman Böhlau.
  • McGuire, Brian Patrick (2013-09-30). "Bernard of Clairvaux". Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/OBO/9780195396584-0088. (Subscription required (help)). Missing or empty |url= (help)
  • McManners, John (1990). The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822928-3.
  • Most, William G. (1996). "Mary's Immaculate Conception". Irondale, AL: Eternal Word Television Network. Archived from the original on 1998-02-19. Retrieved 2015-02-23. Adapted from Most, William G. (1994). Our Lady in doctrine and devotion. Alexandria, VA: Notre Dame Institute Press. OCLC 855913595.
  • Pirlo, Paolo O. (1997). "St. Bernard". My first book of saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 186–188. ISBN 971-91595-4-5.
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan (1991). The Atlas of the Crusades. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2186-4.
  • Runciman, Steven (1987). The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100–1187. A History of the Crusades. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-34771-8.
  • Verbaal, Wim (2004). "Preaching the dead from their graves: Bernard of Clairvaux's Lament on his brother Gerard". In Donavin, Georgiana; Nederman, Cary; Utz, Richard. Speculum sermonis: interdisciplinary reflections on the medieval sermon. Disputatio. 1. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 113–139. doi:10.1484/M.DISPUT-EB.3.1616. ISBN 9782503513393.

Further reading

External links

Abbey of Fontenay

The Abbey of Fontenay is a former Cistercian abbey located in the commune of Marmagne, near Montbard, in the département of Côte-d'Or in France. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, and built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

Of the original complex comprising church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium, refectory, dovecote and forge, all remain intact except the refectory and are well maintained. The Abbey of Fontenay, along with other Cistercian abbeys, forms a connecting link between Romanesque and Gothic architectures.

Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

"Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid" (Oh God, how much heartache) is a German hymn in 18 stanzas attributed to Martin Moller (1587). It is often catalogued as a paraphrase of the Latin "Jesu dulcis memoria", a medieval hymn attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, but only a few lines refer directly to this song. The hymn is sung to an anonymous tune of "Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht", which first appeared in Wolflein Lochamer's Lochamer-Liederbuch, printed in Nürnberg around 1455.Johann Sebastian Bach used it as the base for his chorale cantata Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 3, composed in Leipzig for the second Sunday after Epiphany, 14 January 1725. He used the first stanza in the opening movement of his church cantata Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58, for the Sunday after New Year's Day, 5 January 1727.

Bach used the final three stanzas to conclude his cantata Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153, already for the Sunday after New Year's Day, 2 January 1724, and the first stanza as movement 4 of Sie werden euch in den Bann tun, BWV 44, for Exaudi, the Sunday after Ascension, 21 May 1724.

Baldwin (archbishop of Pisa)

Baldwin (died 6 October 1145) was a Cistercian monk and later Archbishop of Pisa, a correspondent of Bernard of Clairvaux, and a reformer of the Republic of Pisa. Throughout his episcopate, he greatly expanded the authority of his diocese, making it the most powerful institution in Liguria and Sardinia, and notably increased its landholdings.

Pope Innocent II named Baldwin a cardinal-priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere no later than in 1137, when he appears for the first time in this dignity. Later that year, he was in the Mezzogiorno, probably in the trail of the Emperor Lothair II. According to Peter the Deacon, he and a son of Pier Leoni (filium Petri Leonis) were at Montecassino to pacify a revolt when, in July, he participated in a debate over the rule of Cassinese monasticism in the presence of the emperor.

He was then elected to succeed Uberto as archbishop of his native city and, as the pope was then living there in exile, was consecrated by Innocent himself.In a letter of 22 April 1138, Innocent conferred on Baldwin the apostolic legateship over Porto Torres, Populonia, Galtelli, and Civita on Sardinia. On 19 July 1139, at the exhortation of Bernard of Clairvaux and Otto of Freising, the emperor-elect Conrad III bestowed on him the countship of Pisa, making him the chief secular as well as ecclesiastical authority in the city and its countryside (contado, "county"). The whole of that year, however, he spent in Logudoro arranging matters on the island.

From 1140 to 1142, Baldwin was in conflict over the comnital rights in and around Pisa. From 1138, he had been in a war with the Diocese of Lucca over jurisdiction. He was captured and freed, upon which he conquered the castrum Aghinolgum (Montignoso).

On 10 November 1144, Baldwin sent aid to Gonario II of Torres in a war against Comita II of Arborea. In 1145, he was created apostolic legate over all Sardinia and Corsica. He established the legatine seat in Torres, and excommunicating Comita — for oppressing the people and warring against Pisa — and transferring to Gonario the supreme secular authority on the island and personal authority in Arborea. Bernard of Clairvaux even weighed into island politics and sent a letter to Pope Eugene III justifying Baldwin's actions. Baldwin died later that very year and Montignoso was returned to Lucca.

Bornem Abbey

Bornem Abbey is the only Cistercian abbey of Common Observance in the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels. The current Abbey is the successor of the former St. Bernard's Abbey, Hemiksem, destroyed in the French Revolution. Both are built in honour of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

Bridal theology

Within the Christian tradition, bridal theology, also referred to as mystical marriage, is the New Testament portrayal of communion with Jesus as a marriage, and God's reign as a wedding banquet. This tradition in turn traces back to the Old Testament. This theology has influenced the works of Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Ávila, Gregory the Great and Bernard of Clairvaux. A similar concept existed in Valentinian Gnosticism with the notion of the bridal chamber, which involved a marriage to one's heavenly counterpart. Some mystics take this 'marriage' as a symbol of Union with God and hence, no negative connotations are sharpened for orthodox thinkers.

In a cult, originating in the '60s, that is known as The Family International, a particularly radical form of bridal theology is taught: members of the group of both sexes are encouraged to masturbate while visualizing themselves as women having sex with Jesus. This is known within the cult as the "Loving Jesus revelation"; however, it does not accurately reflect mainstream conceptions of bridal theology, and is not accepted beyond the cult of its origin.

Christianity in the 12th century

Christianity in the 12th century was marked by scholastic development and monastic reforms in the western church and a continuation of the Crusades, namely with the Second Crusade in the Holy Land.

Clementsville, Kentucky

Clementsville is an unincorporated community in western Casey County, Kentucky, United States. The community was named for settler Henry Clements. This community grew up around the third-oldest Roman Catholic settlement in the Archdiocese of Louisville where seven Catholic families, originally from Maryland, migrated from Washington County, Kentucky to the Casey Creek region (an area close to Clementsville) in 1802 and established what would later become the church and parish of Saint Bernard Catholic Church (so named for St. Bernard of Clairvaux). A large majority of the present-day residents of Clementsville and its surrounding area in this western part of the county are direct descendents of these seven original families and St. Bernard Church continues to be the focal point and "heartbeat" of Clementsville. St. Bernard hosts the annual St. Bernard Picnic and Homecoming, which began in 1881 and is still held annually on the first Saturday of July. It is also the home to the annual Clementsville Variety Show, billed as "the longest running entertainment show in the area" and held every year the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Kentucky historian John A. Lyons featured St. Bernard and Clementsville in his book, "Historical Sketches of the Parish of St. Bernard of Clairvaux on Casey Creek, Clementsville, Kentucky". Lyons states, "It is a story of hardy pioneers and their descendants, of valiant missionaries and their successors, whose labors form one of the most interesting chapters in the history of Catholicity in Kentucky."

Other than St. Bernard, Clementsville is home to J & B Grocery (formerly Frank's Grocery), a longtime fixture in the area where most locals shop and eat on a daily basis. The Clementsville area is also the only place in Casey County that has an airplane landing strip. The landing strip is located directly across from a pumping station of Columbia Gas Transmission, a natural gas pipeline that gathers gas in the Gulf of Mexico and transports it to New York.

Doctor Mellifluus

Doctor Mellifluus is an encyclical of Pope Pius XII on the Doctor of the Church Bernard of Clairvaux, given at Rome, St. Peter's, on the 24th of May, on the feast of Pentecost, 1953, in the 15th year of his pontificate. In issuing it in anticipation of the eight centenary of Bernard's death, Pius took the occasion to highlight Bernard's contributions to practical spirituality.


Fontaine-lès-Dijon is a commune in the Côte-d'Or department in eastern France.

It is known for the Couvent et Basilique Saint-Bernard, a collection of buildings on the site of the birthplace of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

Guigo I

Guigo I also known as Guigues du Chastel, Guigo de Castro and Guigo of Saint-Romain, was a Carthusian monk and the 5th prior of Grande Chartreuse monastery in the 12th century. He was born in 1083 near the Chateau of Saint-Romain, and entered the Grande Chartreuse in 1106.

Still a young man, his abilities led him to be elected prior in 1109 (aged 26). It was during his priorate that the original community slowly began to expand. Guigo was called on to compose the first Customs (Consuetudines) of the new hermits sometime between 1121 and 1128. Between 1109 and 1120 he also wrote the Meditations, 476 proverb-like sayings that characterized the wisdom of solitary, monastic life. In addition, some letters and a hagiographical piece survive. He was also a spiritual leader; Bernard of Clairvaux visited the Grande Chartreuse, probably in the 1120s, and wrote several letters to Guigo.He ruled the community until his death in 1136.

He was a man of considerable learning, was known for his eloquence and great memory. He was a close friend of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and of Peter the Venerable, both of whom wrote of Guigo's sanctity.The treatise De vita contemplativa, also known as De Contemplatione has sometimes been attributed to Guigo I. However, it cannot have been written by Guigo I, because it refers to several writings of thirteenth-century scholastic theology, including Hugh of Balma's Viae Syon Lugent. It is acknowledged to be a late thirteenth-century text, with its author generally known as Guigo de Ponte.

Henry I (archbishop of Mainz)

Henry (Heinrich; c. 1080; died 1 or 3 September 1153 in Einbeck) was archbishop of Mainz from 1142 to 1153.

In his early years as archbishop he was assisted by Anselm of Havelberg. He supported Friedrich von Staufen as successor to Konrad III of Germany.At the time of the Second Crusade, he tried to prevent a repetition of the 1096 violence against the Jews of Mainz. He called in Bernard of Clairvaux, to counter inflammatory preaching by a monk, Radulphe. He took part in the Wendish Crusade of 1147.

He was a supporter and correspondent of Hildegard of Bingen. He consecrated the church of her convent at Rupertsberg in 1152. He has been portrayed showing her works to Pope Eugene III and Bernard of Clairvaux.He was archchancellor of Germany, ex officio, but also of Burgundy at the end of his life.

Henry of France, Archbishop of Reims

Henry of France (circa 1121 – 13 November 1175), Bishop of Beauvais (1149–1161), then Archbishop of Reims (1161–1175), was the third son of Louis the Fat, King of France and his second wife Adélaide de Maurienne.

As the third son of the King (and, on his mother's side, the great nephew of Pope Calixtus II) Henry was destined for a place in the church from an early age, tonsured at the age of thirteen and ordained two years later. He advanced by stages through the church hierarchy (becoming abbot of several royal monasteries, holding various dignities which were in the King's gift), probably with a view to preparing him for a position of the highest rank, befitting the son of a king. In 1146, however, he was converted from his life as a very wealthy "secular" cleric by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and entered Clairvaux Abbey as an ordinary monk. Pope Eugenius III, himself a former Cistercian monk, speaks of Henry in 1147 as humbly washing dishes at Clairvaux. His position as abbot of the collegiate churches was bestowed upon his younger brother Philip.In 1149, on the death of Bishop Odo III of Beauvais, the cathedral chapter, persuaded by Bernard of Clairvaux, elected Henry as their bishop. Henry was ill-prepared for the political responsibilities of his new office, and came into conflict with the burghers of the city. King Louis backed the town, while Henry was supported by his younger brother Robert, Count of Dreux. The conflict was finally settled by Pope Eugenius III in 1151.

In 1161 Henry became Archbishop of Reims, succeeded at Beauvais by Bartholomew of Montcornet. Henry organised an important church council at Reims in 1164. He again found himself in conflict with the populace of his city, but was supported by his brother Louis. The revolt was suppressed and Archbishop Henry devoted himself to beautifying and fortifying Reims, which included building the castles of Septsaulx and Cormicy.


Macharaviaya is a municipality in the province of Málaga in the mountains of the autonomous community of Andalusia in the south of Spain. It is located in the comarca of La Axarquía.

The village was built upon the ruins of an old Moorish settlement. Its name is derived from Andalusian Arabic Machxar Abu Yahya, meaning "Abu Yahya's Court". It was the home of the noble Gálvez family, whose descendant Matías de Gálvez y Gallardo had been the viceroy of New Spain. His son Bernardo, who was born in the village, became Governor of Louisiana and captured Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola from the British during the American Revolution. The historical centre of the village has a preservation order on it. Some Spanish and foreign artists, ceramicists, painters and writers live among the villagers.

Every year in August, Macharaviaya hosts a festival honoring the patron saint of the village, Bernard of Clairvaux.

Mariology of the saints

Throughout history Roman Catholic Mariology has been influenced by a number of saints who have attested to the central role of Mary in God's plan of salvation. The analysis of Early Church Fathers continues to be reflected in modern encyclicals. Irenaeus vigorously defended the title of "Theotokos" or Mother of God. The views of Anthony of Padua, Robert Bellarmine and others supported the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which was declared a dogma in 1850.

Writings of the saints have contributed to both popular piety and a greater understanding of Mary's role in salvation history.


Memorare ("Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary") is a Roman Catholic prayer seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Memorare, from the Latin "Remember", is frequently misattributed to the 12th-century Cistercian monk Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, apparently due to confusion with its 17th-century popularizer, Father Claude Bernard, who stated that he learned it from his own father. It first appears as part of a longer 15th-century prayer, "Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria."

Prince of Darkness (Satan)

The Prince of Darkness is a term used in John Milton's poem Paradise Lost referring to Satan as the embodiment of evil. It is an English translation of the Latin phrase princeps tenebrarum, which occurs in the Acts of Pilate, written in the fourth century, in the 11th-century hymn Rhythmus de die mortis by Pietro Damiani, and in a sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux from the 12th century.

Second Crusade

The Second Crusade (1147–1149) was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa in 1144 to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade (1096–1099) by King Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098. While it was the first Crusader state to be founded, it was also the first to fall.

The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe. After crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. The main Western Christian source, Odo of Deuil, and Syriac Christian sources claim that the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos secretly hindered the crusaders' progress particularly in Anatolia, where he is alleged to have deliberately ordered Turks to attack them. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and participated in 1148 in an ill-advised attack on Damascus. The crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately have a key influence on the fall of Jerusalem and give rise to the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century.

The only significant Christian success of the Second Crusade came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Travelling from England, by ship, to the Holy Land, the army stopped and helped the smaller (7,000) Portuguese army in the capture of Lisbon, expelling its Moorish occupants.

Simon I, Duke of Lorraine

Simon I (1076 – 13 or 14 January 1139) was the duke of Lorraine from 1115 to his death, the eldest son and successor of Theodoric II and Hedwig of Formbach.

Continuing the policy of friendship with the Holy Roman Emperor, he accompanied the Emperor Henry V to the Diet of Worms of 1122, where the Investiture Controversy was resolved.

He had stormy relations with the episcopates of his realm: fighting with Stephen of Bar, bishop of Metz, and Adalberon, archbishop of Trier, both allies of the count of Bar, whose claim to Lorraine against Simon's father had been quashed by Henry V's father Henry IV. Though Adalberon excommunicated him, Pope Innocent II lifted it. He was a friend of Bernard of Clairvaux and he built many abbeys in his duchy, including that of Sturzelbronn in 1135. There was he interred after his original burial in Saint-Dié.

The Virgin appearing to St. Bernard

The Virgin appearing to St. Bernard is a painting by the Italian artist Pietro Perugino, the main painter of the Umbrian school that was based in Perugia. The panel was executed as an altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi in Florence. It was later acquired in 1829/30 for King Ludwig I of Bavaria from the Capponi in Florence, and eventually made it to the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The work has been called "one of the high points of European painting in the late 15th century."The painting shows St Bernard of Clairvaux, deep in his studies, being interrupted by a fully corporeal vision of the Virgin Mary, who appears to him in the clear light of day. Four saints surround them. There is a seemingly effortless, perfect symmetry about the composition, yet there is nothing static or artificial about it in any way. The position of the Virgin and St. Bernard's prie-dieu are both slightly off balance, but not enough to ruin the serene harmony of the picture. The faces of the various figures contribute to this quiet beauty, without showing much individualism or realism. Likewise, the colours are bright and radiant, without being flashy.

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