Born: 1091, in his father’s castle at Les Fontaines, Burgundy.
Died: August 21, 1153, Clairvaux, France.
Buried: Clairvaux Abbey, France.
Bernard was the son of Tecelin, a knight and vassal of the Duke of Burgundy.
He was educated at Châtillon, where he was distinguished by his studious and meditative habits. He entered the monastery of Citeaux (the first Cistercian institution) in 1113. Two years later, he was sent, with 12 other monks, to found a daughter monastery in the Valley of Wormwood, about four miles from La Ferté Abbey on the Aube.
He rose to eminence in church politics, and became embroiled in the papal schisms of the 12th Century. He was well known in Rome, and founded 163 monasteries throughout Europe. The Catholic Encyclopedia carries a large article on him.
Bernard was a man of exceptional piety and spiritual vitality. Martin Luther, 400 years later, called him,
the best monk that ever lived, whom I admire beyond all the rest put together.