“This is our calling : looking for God”
Guillaume de St Thierry,
12th century Cistercian monk.
Jesus Christ loved us to the ultimate limits of love… our whole lives are devoted to learning from Him about love. In 1098 three Benedictine monks, Robert, Albéric and Etienne, along with other brothers from their monastery at Molesmes, founded a new monastery in Cîteaux, Burgundy. They wanted to go back to the original teachings of St Benedict and renew their lives in poverty and simplicity, in a place apart from the world.
This was the beginning of the Cistercian monastic order. Thanks to Bernard of Clairvaux (St Bernard) and other leading Abbots of the time, the Cistercians spread across Europe. By 1153 there were 340 monasteries.
“A substantial spiritual heritage was engendered through the lives and labours of innumerable brothers and sisters that found expression in writing, chant, architecture and crafts and in the skilful management of their lands” (Constitutions of the Cistercian Order).
Our Cistercian life is based on the three principles of the Rule of St Benedict : liturgical prayer, lectio divina (reading of Biblical and other sacred texts) and work. Our monastic life is guided by the love of God’s word, our attachment to Jesus in his humanity, our filial love for Mary, His mother and ours, and the willingness to search inside ourselves for the hidden presence of God and live in the grace of that love. These are the essentials of our spiritual life.
We live all of this in community, shoulder-to-shoulder with brothers and sisters, sharing these common aims in a lifelong commitment.
“When God loves us, all he wants is for us to love Him, and he wants this only because he knows that that Love will make us happy” St Bernard of Clairvaux.
For more than nine centuries, Cistercian monks and nuns have consecrated themselves to this charter of divine love.
“We have to risk everything in the smallest everyday things”
Brother Christophe, Tibhirine monastery.
… Come and see !