Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Saint Bernard Of Clairvaux. Doctor Mellifluous. Abbot And Doctor (1091 - 1153).

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Feast Day 20 August.
White Vestments.

as shown in the Church of Heiligenkreuz Abbey
near Baden bei Wien, Lower Austria. 
Portrait (1700) with the true effigy of the Saint 
by Georg Andreas Wasshuber (1650-1732), 
(painted after a statue in Clairvaux 
with the true effigy of the Saint).
Photo: 21 June 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Georges Jansoone.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Church is pleased to honour, during the Octave of the Assumption, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the honey-tongued Doctor (Doctor Mellifluous), whose principal title of glory is to have celebrated with ineffable tenderness and ardent piety, in his Prayers, his books and Sermons, the varied greatness of Mary.

Born in 1091, of a noble Burgundian family, he succeeded, at the age of twenty-two, in winning over to Christ thirty noblemen, who, with him, embraced Monastic life at Citeaux. There, the Cistercian Order, a branch of the old Benedictine trunk, acquired a new vigour, which enabled it to cover the whole of Europe with its shoots.

"The Just", says the Offertory, "shall flourish like the palm-tree, he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus." And in the famous Monastery, which Bernard founded a short time afterwards in the Vale of Clairvaux, on the left bank of the Aube, and whose first Abbot he became (Communion), he, each day, lavished on a community of seven hundred monks the treasures of Doctrine and Wisdom, with which God endowed him and which make his name immortal (Introit, Epistle, Gradual).

Vision of Saint Bernard 
with Saint Benedict and Saint John the Evangelist.
Artist: Fra Bartolomeo (1472–1517).
Date: 1504.
Current location: Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Source/Photographer: Web Gallery of Art:
(Wikimedia Commons)

An austere Monk, a great Christian orator, and a learned Doctor, he was the luminary, mentioned in the Gospel, which enlightened the world.

Pope Eugenius III, who had been trained by him to the Monastic life, solicited and received his counsels; at the Council of Etampes (1130), he put an end to the Schism, which, opposing "Pope" Anacletus to "Pope" Innocent II, troubled the Clergy and people of Rome.

He was consulted by William of Aquitaine, by the Duchess of Lorraine, by the Countess of Brittany, by Henry, son of the King of France, by Peter, son of the King of Portugal, by King Louis VI, King Louis VII, King Conrad of Germany, Lothaire and by the Abbot of Saint Denis. He silenced the famous Doctor, Abelard, at the Council of Laon, and his powerful logic unmasked the errors of Arnold of Brescia and of Peter de Bruys (Gospel). Lastly, he attacked Islam and, by preaching the Second Crusade, at Vezelay, he stirred up the whole of Europe by his overpowering eloquence.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.
Initial "B" from a 13th-Century illuminated manuscript.
This File: 4 July 2005.
User: GDK.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Bernard died at Clairvaux, on 20 August 1153, and his body was laid at the foot of the Altar of the Blessed Virgin. He left one hundred and sixty Monasteries, which he had founded in Europe and Asia. His writings, replete with Doctrines inspired by Divine Wisdom, caused him to be placed among the Doctors of the Church by Pope Pius VIII.

Let us have recourse to the intercession in Heaven of the one who, on Earth, taught us the way of life (Collect), let us ask him to give us his love for the Mother of God, and let us piously recite the Anthem of the Season: Salve Regina, of which the three last invocations, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, are attributed to him.

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