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.