Solemnity of Our Father St Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (20th August)

Just a few years after Robert of Molesmes left the Black Monks and journeyed a short distance to found a New Monastery, with a few monastic companions, at a marshy place outside Dijon called Cîteaux, thus giving his new monastic enterprise their name – Cistercians – it seemed as if the venture would fail.  TheContinue reading Solemnity of Our Father St Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (20th August)

St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, 28th August

We keep the memory of the greatest convert in the Church after St Paul.  St Augustine – monk, bishop, theologian, preacher, writer – appeals universally to everyone with a God-seeking heart.  Listening to him exultant in his Confessions (Bk X.38) we might make his own new song our own today: Late have I loved you,Continue reading “St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, 28th August”

St Justin the Martyr, 1st June

With the feast of St Justin the Martyr we are taken right to the dynamic first years of the Church’s growth in the Roman Empire.  Justin was born in Samaria around 114AD, and was martyred some time around 165AD, during the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius.  What makes his life and witness truly outstanding is the fact that his writings – those which have survived – are among the earliest apologetic writings which have come down to us.

21st March – The Transitus of St Benedict

Had we not been observing today the 5th Sunday of Lent we would probably have been celebrating the feast known as the Transitus of St Benedict.  We might loosely translate this as the day of his death, but perhaps more precisely we should note that it is his true dies natalis – his birth day!Continue reading “21st March – The Transitus of St Benedict”

19th March – St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This solemnity brings with it two events of immediate significance: the year already begun of special veneration for St Joseph, and, beginning on this day, a special year celebrating the joy of married love, coming five years after PopeFrancis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

12th January – St Aelred of Rievaulx, Cistercian Abbot (1110-1167)

Today we celebrate the memory of one of the formative abbots and teachers in the early Cistercian tradition who, together with Bernard of Clairvaux, Guerric of Igny and William of St Thierry forms a group often known as the Four Evangelists of Cîteaux: St Aelred of Rievaulx.

November – Celebrating the Saints

The month of November has been hallowed by time, tradition and practice as the month in which we pay special reverence to the saints and, of course, to our beloved dead. In our own Cistercian tradition in Ireland we will celebrate, within a few short days, the Solemnity of All Saints (1st November), the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland (6th November), and the Feast of All the Saints who followed the Rule of Saint Benedict (13th November).