Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012 - Litany Lane: Cloister, Matthew 19: 16-22, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Order of Cistercians, Monastic Trappist Beer

Monday, August 20, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:
cloister, Matthew 19: 16-22, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Order of Cistercian, Monastic Trappist Beer

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  cloister   clois·ter  [kloi-ster]

Origin:  1250–1300; Middle English cloistre  < Anglo-French, Old French,  blend of cloison  partition ( see cloisonné) and clostre  (< Latin claustrum  barrier ( Late Latin:  enclosed place); see claustrum)

1. a covered walk, especially in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade usually opening onto a courtyard.
2. a courtyard, especially in a religious institution, bordered with such walks.
3. a place of religious seclusion, as a monastery or convent.
4. any quiet, secluded place.
5. life in a monastery or convent.

verb (used with object)
6. to confine in a monastery or convent.
7. to confine in retirement; seclude.
8. to furnish with a cloister or covered walk.
9. to convert into a monastery or convent.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Ezekiel 24:15-24

15 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
16 'Son of man, at a blow I am about to deprive you of the delight of your eyes. But you are not to lament, not to weep, not to let your tears run down.
17 Groan in silence, do not go into mourning for the dead, knot your turban round your head, put your sandals on your feet, do not cover your beard, do not eat the usual food.'
18 I told this to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening, and the next morning I did as I had been ordered.
19 The people then said to me, 'Will you not explain what meaning these actions have for us?'
20 I replied, 'The word of Yahweh has been addressed to me as follows,
21 "Say to the House of Israel, the Lord Yahweh says this: I am about to profane my sanctuary, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes, the joy of your hearts. Your sons and daughters whom you have left behind will fall by the sword.
22 Then you will do as I have done: you will not cover your beards or eat the usual food;
23 you will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you will not lament or weep but will waste away for your crimes, groaning among yourselves.
24 Thus Ezekiel is a sign for you. You will do exactly what he has done. And when this happens, you will know that I am Lord Yahweh!"


Today's Gospel Reading - Matthew 19:16-22

Moses and Ten Commandments
A man came to Jesus and asked, 'Master, what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?' Jesus said to him, 'Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good. But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.' He said, 'Which ones?' Jesus replied, 'These: You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false witness. Honour your father and your mother. You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' The young man said to him, 'I have kept all these. What more do I need to do?' Jesus said, 'If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

• The Gospel today speaks to us about a young man who asks Jesus which is the way to eternal life. Jesus indicates to him the way of poverty. The young man does not accept the proposal of Jesus because he is very rich. A rich person is protected by the security of the riches which he possesses. He has difficulty to open the hand of his security. Attached to the advantages of his goods, he lives concerned to defend his own interests. A poor person does not have this concern. But there are some poor people who have the mentality of the rich. Many times, the desire for riches creates in them a great dependence and renders the poor, slaves of consumerism, because they seek riches everywhere. They no longer have time to dedicate themselves to the service of neighbour.

• Matthew 19, 16-19: The commandments and eternal life. A person approaches Jesus and asks him: “Master, what good deed should I do to possess eternal life?” Some manuscripts say that it was a young man. Jesus responds abruptly: “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good!” Then he responds to the question and says: “If you wish to enter into life keep the commandments”. The young rich man reacts and asks: “Which commandments?” Jesus very kindly enumerates the commandments which the young man already knew: “You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honour father and mother, love your neighbour as yourself”. The response of Jesus is very significant. The young man had asked what to do to obtain eternal life. He wanted to live close to God! But Jesus recalls only the commandments which refer to respect for the life close to others! He does not mention the first three commandments which define the relationship with God. According to Jesus, we will be well with God only if we are well with our neighbour. It is not worth it to deceive oneself. The door to reach God is our neighbour.

In Mark, the question of the young man is different: “Good Master what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers: “Why do you call me good? No one is good, but God alone.” (Mk 10, 17-18). Jesus deviates the attention from himself toward God, because what is important is to do God’s will, to reveal the project of the Father.

• Matthew 19, 20: What does it serve to observe the commandments? The young man responds: “I have always observed all these things. What more do I need to do?” What follows is strange. The young man wanted to know the way which leads to eternal life. Now, the way of eternal life was and continues to be: to do God’s will, expressed in the commandments. In other words, the young man observed the commandments without knowing for what purpose. If he had known it he would not have asked the question. It is like for many Catholics who do not know why they are Catholics. “I was born a Catholic and this is why I am Catholic!” It is as if was a custom!

• Matthew 19, 21-22: The proposal of Jesus and the response of the young man. Jesus answers: “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven; then come follow me”. But on hearing these words the young man went away very sad because he was very rich. The observance of the commandments is only the first degree of a stairway that goes beyond, much farther and much higher. Jesus asks more! The observance of the commandments prepares the persons to be able to reach the point of giving oneself completely to the neighbour. Mark says that Jesus looked at the young man with love (Mk 10, 21). Jesus asks for very much, but he asks for it with much love. The young man did not accept the proposal of Jesus and goes away, “because he was very rich”.

• Jesus and the option for the poor. A two-fold slavery marked the situation of the people at the time of Jesus: the slavery of the politics of Herod, supported by the Roman Empire and maintained by a whole system which was well organized for exploitation and repression, and the slavery of the official religion, maintained by the religious authority of the time. For this reason the clan, the families, the community, were disintegrating and the majority of the people were excluded, marginalized, homeless, without either a religion or a society. So, for this reason, there were diverse movements which, like Jesus, tried to build up life in the communities: Essens, Pharisees and later on, the Zelots. But in the community of Jesus, there was something new which made it different from the other groups. There was the attitude concerning the poor and the excluded. The communities of the Pharisees lived separated. The word “Pharisee” meant “separated”. This was the attitude concerning the poor and the excluded. The communities of the Pharisees lived separated from the impure people. Some Pharisees considered the people, ignorant and damned (Jn 7, 49), in sin (Jn 9, 34). They could learn nothing from the people (Jn 9,34). On the contrary, Jesus and his community lived in the midst of persons who were excluded, considered impure; tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes, lepers (Ml 2, 16; 1, 41; Lk 7, 37). Jesus recognizes the richness and the values which the poor possess (Mt 11, 25-26; Lk 2 1, 1-4). He proclaims them blessed, because the Kingdom is theirs, of the poor (Lk 6, 20; Mt 5, 3). He defines his mission in this way: “To announce the Good News to the poor” (Lk 4, 18). He himself lives poorly. He possesses nothing for himself, not even a stone where to recline his head (Lk 9, 58). And to anyone who wants to follow him, who wants to live like him, he orders that he choose either God or money! (Mt 6, 24). He orders to choose the poor, as he proposed it to the rich young man! (Mk 10, 21). This different way of accepting the poor and of living with them is a sign of the Kingdom of God.

Personal questions
• Can a person who lives concerned about his wealth or with acquiring the goods which the propaganda of consumerism offers, free himself from all this in order to follow Jesus and live in peace in a Christian community? Is this possible? What do you think?
• What does it mean for us today: “Go, sell all you possess and give it to the poor?” Is it possible to do this concretely? Do you know anybody who has succeeded to do this for the Kingdom?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Bernard of Clairvaux

Feast Day: August 20
Died:  1153
Patron Saint of : Cistercians, Burgundy, beekeepers, candlemakers, Gibraltar, Queens' College, Cambridge, Speyer Cathedral, Knights Templar

St Bernard of Clairvaux
Fra Angelica, 1440
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist (1090 – August 20, 1153) was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order. After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. "Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 km southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. According to tradition, Bernard founded the monastery on 25 June 1115, naming it Claire Vallée, which evolved into Clairvaux. There Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary."[1] In the year 1128, Bernard assisted at the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II a schism broke out in the Church. Louis VI of France convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes in 1130, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rivals for pope. After the council of Étampes, Bernard went to speak with the King of England, Henry I, Beauclerc, about the king's reservations regarding Pope Innocent II. Beauclerc was sceptical because most the bishops of England supported Anacletus II; he convinced him to support Innocent. Germany had decided to support Innocent through Norbert of Xanten, who was a friend of Bernard's. However, Innocent insisted on Bernard's company when he met with Lothair III of Germany. Lothair became Innocent's strongest ally among the nobility. Despite the councils of Étampes, Wurzburg, Clermont, and Rheims all supporting Innocent, there were still large portions of the Christian world supporting Anacletus.

 At the end of 1131, the kingdoms of France, England, Germany, Castile, and Aragon supported Innocent; however, most of Italy, southern France, and Sicily, with the patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem, supported Anacletus. Bernard set out to convince these other regions to rally behind Innocent. The first person whom he went to was Gerard of Angoulême. He proceeded to write a letter, called Letter 126. This letter questioned Gerard's reasons for supporting Anacletus. Bernard would later comment that Gerard was his most formidable opponent during the whole schism. After convincing Gerard, Bernard traveled to visit the Count of Poitiers. He was the hardest for Bernard to convince. He did not pledge allegiance to Innocent until 1135. After that, Bernard spent most of his time in Italy convincing the Italians to pledge allegiance to Innocent. He traveled to Sicily in 1137 to convince the king of Sicily to follow Innocent. The whole conflict ended when Anacletus died on January 25, 1138.

 In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. Bernard denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples elected as Pope Eugenius III. Having previously helped end the schism within the church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy.

Following the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at age 63, after 40 years spent in the cloister. He was the first Cistercian placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. In 1830, Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon Bernard the title "Doctor of the Church".

Early life (1090–1113)

Bernard's parents were Tescelin, Lord of Fontaines, and Aleth of Montbard, both belonging to the highest nobility of Burgundy. Bernard was the third of a family of seven children, six of whom were sons. At the age of nine years, Bernard was sent to school at Châtillon-sur-Seine, run by the secular canons of Saint-Vorles. Bernard had a great taste for literature and devoted himself for some time to poetry. His success in his studies won the admiration of his teachers. Bernard wanted to excel in literature in order to take up the study of the Bible. He had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, and he would later write several works about the Queen of Heaven.

Bernard would expand upon Anselm of Canterbury's role in transmuting the sacramentally ritual Christianity of the Early Middle Ages into a new, more personally held faith, with the life of Christ as a model and a new emphasis on the Virgin Mary. In opposition to the rational approach to divine understanding that the scholastics adopted, Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary. Bernard played the leading role in the development of the cult of the Virgin, which is one of the most important manifestations of the popular piety of the twelfth century. In early medieval thought, the Virgin Mary had played a minor role, and it was only with the rise of emotional Christianity in the eleventh century that she became the prime intercessor for humanity with the deity. Bernard was only nineteen years of age when his mother died. During his youth, he did not escape trying temptations and around this time he thought of retiring from the world and living a life of solitude and prayer.

In 1098, Saint Robert of Molesme had founded Cîteaux Abbey, near Dijon, with the purpose of restoring the Rule of St Benedict in all its rigour. Returning to Molesme, he left the government of the new abbey to Saint Alberic, who died in the year 1109. In 1113, Saint Stephen Harding had just succeeded him as third Abbot of Cîteaux when Bernard and thirty other young noblemen of Burgundy sought admission into the Cistercian order.

Abbot of Clairvaux (1113–28)

The little community of reformed Benedictines at Cîteaux, which would have so profound an influence on Western monasticism, grew rapidly. Three years later, Bernard was sent with a band of twelve monks to found a new house at Vallée d'Absinthe, in the Diocese of Langres. This Bernard named Claire Vallée, or Clairvaux, on 25 June 1115, and the names of Bernard and Clairvaux would soon become inseparable.[5] During the absence of the Bishop of Langres, Bernard was blessed as abbot by William of Champeaux, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne. From that moment a strong friendship sprang up between the abbot and the bishop, who was professor of theology at Notre Dame of Paris, and the founder of the Abbey of St. Victor.

The beginnings of Clairvaux Abbey were trying and painful. The regime was so austere that Bernard became ill, and only the influence of his friend William of Champeaux and the authority of the general chapter could make him mitigate the austerities. The monastery, however, made rapid progress. Disciples flocked to it in great numbers and put themselves under the direction of Bernard. His father and all his brothers entered Clairvaux to pursue religious life, leaving only Humbeline, his sister, in the secular world. She, with the consent of her husband, soon took the veil in the Benedictine nunnery of Jully-les-Nonnains. Gerard of Clairvaux, Bernard's older brother, became the cellarer of Citeaux. The abbey became too small for its members and it was necessary to send out bands to found new houses. In 1118, Trois-Fontaines Abbey was founded in the diocese of Châlons; in 1119, Fontenay Abbey in the Diocese of Autun and in 1121, Foigny Abbey near Vervins, in the diocese of Laon. In addition to these victories, Bernard also had his trials. During an absence from Clairvaux, the Grand Prior of Cluny went to Clairvaux and enticed away Bernard's cousin, Robert of Châtillon. This was the occasion of the longest and most emotional of Bernard's letters.

In the year 1119, Bernard was present at the first general chapter of the order convoked by Stephen of Cîteaux. Though not yet 30 years old, Bernard was listened to with the greatest attention and respect, especially when he developed his thoughts upon the revival of the primitive spirit of regularity and fervour in all the monastic orders. It was this general chapter that gave definitive form to the constitutions of the order and the regulations of the Charter of Charity which Pope Callixtus II confirmed 23 December 1119. In 1120, Bernard authored his first work, De Gradibus Superbiae et Humilitatis, and his homilies which he entitled De Laudibus Mariae. The monks of the abbey of Cluny were unhappy to see Cîteaux take the lead rôle among the religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason, the Black Monks attempted to make it appear that the rules of the new order were impracticable. At the solicitation of William of St. Thierry, Bernard defended the order by publishing his Apology which was divided into two parts. In the first part, he proved himself innocent of the charges of Cluny and in the second he gave his reasons for his counterattacks. He protested his profound esteem for the Benedictines of Cluny whom he declared he loved equally as well as the other religious orders. Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny, answered Bernard and assured him of his great admiration and sincere friendship. In the meantime Cluny established a reform, and Abbot Suger, the minister of Louis VI of France, was converted by the Apology of Bernard. He hastened to terminate his worldly life and restore discipline in his monastery. The zeal of Bernard extended to the bishops, the clergy, and lay people. Bernard's letter to the archbishop of Sens was seen as a real treatise, "De Officiis Episcoporum." About the same time he wrote his work on Grace and Free Will.

Doctor of the Church (1128–46)

In the year 1128, Bernard participated in the Council of Troyes, which had been convoked by Pope Honorius II, and was presided over by Cardinal Matthew, Bishop of Albano. The purpose of this council was to settle certain disputes of the bishops of Paris, and regulate other matters of the Church of France. The bishops made Bernard secretary of the council, and charged him with drawing up the synodal statutes. After the council, the bishop of Verdun was deposed. It was at this council that Bernard traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility. He later praised them in his De Laude Novae Militiae.

Again reproaches arose against Bernard and he was denounced, even in Rome. He was accused of being a monk who meddled with matters that did not concern him. Cardinal Harmeric, on behalf of the pope, wrote Bernard a sharp letter of remonstrance stating, "It is not fitting that noisy and troublesome frogs should come out of their marshes to trouble the Holy See and the cardinals."

Bernard answered the letter by saying that, if he had assisted at the council, it was because he had been dragged to it by force. In his response Bernard wrote,
Now illustrious Harmeric if you so wished, who would have been more capable of freeing me from the necessity of assisting at the council than yourself? Forbid those noisy troublesome frogs to come out of their holes, to leave their marshes . . . Then your friend will no longer be exposed to the accusations of pride and presumption.
This letter made a positive impression on Harmeric, and in the Vatican.


Bernard's influence was soon felt in provincial affairs. He defended the rights of the Church against the encroachments of kings and princes, and recalled to their duty Henri Sanglier, archbishop of Sens and Stephen of Senlis, bishop of Paris. On the death of Pope Honorius II, which occurred on 14 February 1130, a schism broke out in the Church by the election of two popes, Pope Innocent II and Pope Anacletus II. Innocent II, having been banished from Rome by Anacletus, took refuge in France. King Louis VI convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes, and Bernard, summoned there by consent of the bishops, was chosen to judge between the rival popes. He decided in favour of Innocent II. This caused the pope to be recognized by all the great powers. He then went with him into Italy and reconciled Pisa with Genoa, and Milan with the pope. The same year Bernard was again at the Council of Reims at the side of Innocent II. He then went to Aquitaine where he succeeded for the time in detaching William X of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, from the cause of Anacletus.

In 1132, Bernard accompanied Innocent II into Italy, and at Cluny the pope abolished the dues which Clairvaux used to pay to that abbey. This action gave rise to a quarrel between the White Monks and the Black Monks which lasted 20 years. In May of that year, the pope, supported by the army of Emperor Lothair III, entered Rome, but Lothair, feeling himself too weak to resist the partisans of Anacletus, retired beyond the Alps, and Innocent sought refuge in Pisa in September 1133. Bernard had returned to France in June and was continuing the work of peacemaking which he had commenced in 1130. Towards the end of 1134, he made a second journey into Aquitaine, where William X had relapsed into schism. Bernard invited William to the Mass which he celebrated in the Church of La Couldre. At the Eucharist, he "admonished the Duke not to despise God as he did His servants". William yielded and the schism ended. Bernard went again to Italy, where Roger II of Sicily was endeavouring to withdraw the Pisans from their allegiance to Innocent. He recalled the city of Milan to obedience to the pope as they had followed the deposed Anselm V, Archbishop of Milan. For this, he was offered, and he refused, the archbishopric of Milan. He then returned to Clairvaux. Believing himself at last secure in his cloister, Bernard devoted himself with renewed vigour to the composition of the works which would win for him the title of "Doctor of the Church". He wrote at this time his sermons on the Song of Songs. In 1137, he was again forced to leave his solitude by order of the pope to put an end to the quarrel between Lothair and Roger of Sicily. At the conference held at Palermo, Bernard succeeded in convincing Roger of the rights of Innocent II. He also silenced the final supporters who sustained the schism. Anacletus died of "grief and disappointment" in 1138, and with him the schism ended.

In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran, in which the surviving adherents of the schism were definitively condemned. About the same time, Bernard was visited at Clairvaux by Saint Malachy, Primate of All Ireland, and a very close friendship formed between them. Malachy wanted to become a Cistercian, but the pope would not give his permission. Malachy would die at Clairvaux in 1148.

Contest with Abelard

Towards the close of the 11th century, a spirit of independence flourished within schools of philosophy and theology. This led for a time to the exaltation of human reason and rationalism. The movement found an ardent and powerful advocate in Peter Abelard. Abelard's treatise on the Trinity had been condemned as heretical in 1121, and he himself had thrown his book into the fire. However, Abelard continued to develop his teachings, which were controversial in some quarters. Bernard, informed of this by William of St-Thierry, is said to have held a meeting with Abelard intending to persuade him to amend his writings, during which Abelard repented and promised to do so. But once out of Bernard's presence, he reneged. Bernard then denounced Abelard to the pope and cardinals of the Curia. Abelard sought a debate with Bernard, but Bernard initially declined, saying he did not feel matters of such importance should be settled by logical analyses. Bernard's letters to William of St-Thierry also express his apprehension about confronting the preeminent logician. Abelard continued to press for a public debate, and made his challenge widely known, making it hard for Bernard to decline. In 1141, at the urgings of Abelard, the archbishop of Sens called a council of bishops, where Abelard and Bernard were to put their respective cases so Abelard would have a chance to clear his name.  Bernard lobbied the prelates on the evening before the debate, swaying many of them to his view. The next day, after Bernard made his opening statement, Abelard decided to retire without attempting to answer.  The council found in favour of Bernard and their judgment was confirmed by the pope. Abelard submitted without resistance, and he retired to Cluny to live under the protection of Peter the Venerable, where he died two years later.

Cistercian Order and Heresy

Bernard had occupied himself in sending bands of monks from his overcrowded monastery into Germany, Sweden, England, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy. Some of these, at the command of Innocent II, took possession of Three Fountains Abbey, from which Pope Eugenius III would be chosen in 1145. Pope Innocent II died in the year 1143. His two successors, Pope Celestine II and Pope Lucius II, reigned only a short time, and then Bernard saw one of his disciples, Bernard of Pisa, and known thereafter as Eugenius III, raised to the Chair of Saint Peter. Bernard sent him, at the pope's own request, various instructions which comprise the Book of Considerations, the predominating idea of which is that the reformation of the Church ought to commence with the sanctity of the pope. Temporal matters are merely accessories; the principles according to Bernard's work were that piety and meditation were to precede action.

Having previously helped end the schism within the Church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. Henry of Lausanne, a former Cluniac monk, had adopted the teachings of the Petrobrusians, followers of Peter of Bruys and spread them in a modified form after Peter's death.[11] Henry of Lausanne's followers became known as Henricians. In June 1145, at the invitation of Cardinal Alberic of Ostia, Bernard traveled in southern France.  His preaching, aided by his ascetic looks and simple attire, helped doom the new sects. Both the Henrician and the Petrobrusian faiths began to die out by the end of that year. Soon afterwards, Henry of Lausanne was arrested, brought before the bishop of Toulouse, and probably imprisoned for life. In a letter to the people of Toulouse, undoubtedly written at the end of 1146, Bernard calls upon them to extirpate the last remnants of the heresy. He also preached against the Cathars.

Second Crusade (1146–49)

News came at this time from the Holy Land that alarmed Christendom. Christians had been defeated at the Siege of Edessa and most of the county had fallen into the hands of the Seljuk Turks. The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the other Crusader states were threatened with similar disaster. Deputations of the bishops of Armenia solicited aid from the pope, and the King of France also sent ambassadors. The pope commissioned Bernard to preach a Second Crusade and granted the same indulgences for it which Pope Urban II had accorded to the First Crusade.

There was at first virtually no popular enthusiasm for the crusade as there had been in 1095. Bernard found it expedient to dwell upon the taking of the cross as a potent means of gaining absolution for sin and attaining grace. On 31 March, with King Louis present, he preached to an enormous crowd in a field at Vézelay. When Bernard was finished the crowd enlisted en masse; they supposedly ran out of cloth to make crosses. Bernard is said to have given his own outer garments to be cut up to make more. Unlike the First Crusade, the new venture attracted royalty, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, then Queen of France; Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders; Henry, the future Count of Champagne; Louis’ brother Robert I of Dreux; Alphonse I of Toulouse; William II of Nevers; William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey; Hugh VII of Lusignan; and numerous other nobles and bishops. But an even greater show of support came from the common people. Bernard wrote to the pope a few days afterwards, "Cities and castles are now empty. There is not left one man to seven women, and everywhere there are widows to still-living husbands."

Bernard then passed into Germany, and the reported miracles which multiplied almost at his every step undoubtedly contributed to the success of his mission. Conrad III of Germany and his nephew Frederick Barbarossa, received the cross from the hand of Bernard.[13] Pope Eugenius came in person to France to encourage the enterprise. As in the First Crusade, the preaching inadvertently led to attacks on Jews; a fanatical French monk named Radulphe was apparently inspiring massacres of Jews in the Rhineland, Cologne, Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, with Radulphe claiming Jews were not contributing financially to the rescue of the Holy Land. The archbishop of Cologne and the archbishop of Mainz were vehemently opposed to these attacks and asked Bernard to denounce them. This he did, but when the campaign continued, Bernard traveled from Flanders to Germany to deal with the problems in person. He then found Radulphe in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery.

The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the Second Crusade he had preached, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard considered it his duty to send an apology to the Pope and it is inserted in the second part of his "Book of Considerations." There he explains how the sins of the crusaders were the cause of their misfortune and failures. When his attempt to call a new crusade failed, he tried to disassociate himself from the fiasco of the Second Crusade altogether.

Final years (1149–53)

The death of his contemporaries served as a warning to Bernard of his own approaching end. The first to die was Suger in 1152, of whom Bernard wrote to Eugenius III, "If there is any precious vase adorning the palace of the King of Kings it is the soul of the venerable Suger". Conrad III and his son Henry died the same year. From the beginning of the year 1153, Bernard felt his death approaching. The passing of Pope Eugenius had struck the fatal blow by taking from him one whom he considered his greatest friend and consoler. Bernard died at age sixty-three on 20 August 1153, after forty years spent in the cloister.  He was buried at the Clairvaux Abbey, but after its dissolution in 1792 by the French revolutionary government, his remains were transferred to the Troyes Cathedral.


St. Bernard of Clairvaux was named a Doctor of the Church in 1830. At the 800th anniversary of his death, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical on Bernard, Doctor Mellifluus, in which he labeled him "The Last of the Fathers." Bernard did not reject human philosophy which is genuine philosophy, which leads to God; he differentiates between different kinds of knowledge, the highest being theological. Three central elements of Bernard's Mariology are how he explained the virginity of Mary, the "Star of the Sea", how the faithful should pray on the Virgin Mary, and how he relied on the Virgin Mary as Mediatrix.

Bernard also held some doctrines which the Reformers would later rekindle at the beginnings of the Protestant movement. Some people have therefore equated him with a Protestant before there were Protestants. In truth he held to a mix of the Reformers' doctrines and the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church of his day.  Bernard fought against the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Also of great importance to the Reformers would be Bernard's conception of justification. Calvin quotes Bernard several times to show the historical valididy of Sola Fide, which Luther described as the article upon which the church stands or falls.  Calvin also quotes him in setting forth his doctrine of a forensic alien righteousness, or as it is commonly called imputed righteousness.


Bernard was instrumental in re-emphasizing the importance of Lectio Divina and contemplation on Scripture within the Cistercian order. Bernard had observed that when Lectio Divina was neglected monasticism suffered. Bernard considered Lectio Divina and contemplation guided by the Holy Spirit the keys to nourishing Christian spirituality.


Bernard's theology and Mariology continue to be of major importance, particularly within the Cistercian and Trappist orders. Bernard led to the foundation of 163 monasteries in different parts of Europe. At his death, they numbered 343. His influence led Pope Alexander III to launch reforms that would lead to the establishment of canon law. He was the first Cistercian monk placed on the calendar of saints and was canonized by Pope Alexander III 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VIII bestowed on him the title of Doctor of the Church. He is fondly remembered as the "Mellifluous Doctor" (the Honey-Sweet(-voiced) Doctor) for his eloquence. The Cistercians honour him as only the founders of orders are honoured, because of the widespread activity which he gave to the order.  The works of Bernard are as follows:
  • De Gradibus Superbiae, his first treatise.
  • Homilies on the Gospel, Missus est, written in 1120.
  • "Apology to William of St. Thierry" against the claims of the monks of Cluny.
  • "On the Conversion of Clerics," a book addressed to the young ecclesiastics of Paris written in 1122.
  • De Laude Novae Militiae, addressed to Hugues de Payens, first Grand Master and Prior of Jerusalem (1129). This is a eulogy of the military order instituted in 1118, and an exhortation to the knights to conduct themselves with courage in their several stations.
  • De Amore Dei" wherein Bernard argues that the manner of loving God is to love without measure and gives the different degree of this love.
  • "Book of Precepts and Dispensations" (1131), which contains answers to questions upon certain points of the Rule of St Benedict from which the abbot can, or cannot, dispense.
  • De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio in which the Roman Catholic dogma of grace and free will was defended according to the principles of St Augustine.
  • De Consideratione ("On Consideration"), addressed to Pope Eugenius III.
  • De Officiis Episcoporum, addressed to Henry, Archbishop of Sens.
 His sermons are also numerous:
  • On Psalm 90, Qui habitat, written about 1125.
  • "On the Song of Songs". [with an autobiographical passage, sermon 26, mourning the death of his brother, Gerard][28]
  • There are also 86 "Sermons for the Whole Year."
  • 530 letters survive.
Many letters, treatises, and other works, falsely attributed to him survive, such as the l'Echelle du Cloître, les Méditations, and l'Edification de la Maison intérieure. Saint Bernard's Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus is often published in Catholic prayer books. Saint Bernard's views on the Virgin Mary also influenced other saints, e.g., in the classic text on Mariology, "The Glories of Mary", Saint Alphonsus Liguori based his analysis of Mary as the "Gate to Heaven" on Saint Bernard's statement:
No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as though through a door.
Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" places him as the last guide for Dante, as he travels through the Empyrean (Paradiso, cantos XXXI–XXXIII). Dante's choice appears to be based on Bernard's contemplative mysticism, his devotion to Mary, and his reputation for eloquence. He is also the attributed author of the poem often translated in English hymnals as "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded".


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Blessed Jean Eudes". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

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Today's Snippets (2):  Order of Cistercians and Trappist Beer

Today's Snippet I :  Order of Cistercians (Trappists)

Order of Cistercians Coat of Arms
The Order of Cistercians, OCist. Latin: Ordo Cisterciensis or, alternatively, OCSO for the Trappists (Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance) is a Roman Catholic religious order of cloiastered monks and nuns. They are sometimes also called the Bernardines or the White Monks, in reference to the colour of the habit, over which a black scapular is worn. The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labour and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.

The term Cistercian (French Cistercien), derives from Cistercium, the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. The best known of them were Robert of Molesme, Alberic of Citeaux and the English monk Stephen Harding, who were the first three abbots. Bernard of Clairvaux entered the monastery in the early 1110s with 30 companions and helped the rapid proliferation of the order. By the end of the 12th century, the order had spread throughout France and into England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life exactly as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially field-work, a special characteristic of Cistercian life. Cistercian architecture is considered one of the most beautiful styles of medieval architecture. Additionally, in relation to fields such as agriculture, hydraulic engineering and metallurgy, the Cistercians became the main force of technological diffusion in medieval Europe. The Cistercians were adversely affected in England by the Protestant Reformation, the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII, the French Revolution in continental Europe, and the revolutions of the 18th century, but some survived and the order recovered in the 19th century. In 1891 certain abbeys formed a new Order called Trappists (Ordo Cisterciensium Strictioris Observantiae – OCSO), which today exists as an order distinct from the Common Observance.



Citeaux Abbey, Dijon France
In 1098, a Benedictine abbot, Robert of Molesme, left his monastery in Burgundy with around twenty supporters, who felt that the Cluniac communities had abandoned the rigours and simplicity of St Benedict's Rule.  The abbey church at Cluny, the largest in Europe, had become wealthy from rents, tithes, feudal rights and pilgrims who passed through Cluniac houses on the Way of St. James. The massive endowments, powers and responsibilities of the Cluniac abbots had drawn them into the affairs of the secular world, and their monks had abandoned manual labour to serfs to serve as administrative officials or "choir monks". On March 21, 1098, Robert's small group acquired a plot of marshland just south of Dijon called Cîteaux (Latin: "Cistercium". Cisteaux means reeds in old French), given to them expressly for the purpose of founding their Novum Monasterium. Robert's followers included the Benedictine monks Alberic, a former hermit from the nearby forest of Colan, and Stephen Harding, a member of an Anglo-Saxon noble family which had been ruined as a result of the Norman conquest of England. During the first year, the monks set about constructing lodging areas and farming the lands of Cîteaux, making use of a nearby chapel for Mass. In Robert's absence from Molesme, however, the abbey had gone into decline, and Pope Urban II, a former Cluniac monk, ordered him to return.

The remaining monks of Cîteaux elected Prior Alberic as their abbot, under whose leadership the abbey would find its grounding. Robert had been the idealist of the order, and Alberic was their builder. Upon assuming the role of abbot, Alberic moved the site of the fledgling community near a brook a short distance away from the original site. Alberic discontinued the use of Benedictine black garments in the abbey and clothed the monks in white cowls (undyed wool). He returned the community to the original Benedictine ideal of work and prayer, dedicated to the ideal of charity and self sustenance. Alberic also forged an alliance with the Dukes of Burgundy, working out a deal with Duke Odo the donation of a vineyard (Meursault) as well as stones with which they built their church. The church was sanctified and dedicated to the Virgin Mary on November 16, 1106 by the Bishop of Chalon sur Saône.[8] On January 26, 1108 Alberic died and was soon succeeded by Stephen Harding, the man responsible for carrying the order into its crucial phase.

Constitution and rule

The order was fortunate that Stephen was an abbot of extraordinary gifts, and he framed the original version of the Cistercian "constitution" or rule: the Carta Caritatis (Charter of Charity). Although this was revised on several occasions to meet contemporary needs, from the outset it emphasised a simple life of work, love, prayer and self-denial. Although the Cistercians originally regarded themselves as the "perfect", reformed Benedictines, they distinguished themselves from the monks of Benedictine houses by wearing white habits instead of black. Cistercian abbeys also refused to admit children, allowing adults to choose their religious vocation for themselves – a practice later emulated by many of the older Benedictine houses.

Stephen also acquired farms for the abbey to ensure its survival and ethic, the first of which was Clos Vougeot. In terms of receiving grants of land, the order would accept only undeveloped land (or in some cases, they accepted developed land and relocated the serfs elsewhere). They developed this land by their own labour, or by that of illiterate peasant lay brothers known as conversi. Stephen handed over the west wing of Cîteaux to a large group of lay brethren to cultivate the farms. These lay brothers were bound by vows of chastity and obedience to their abbot, but were otherwise permitted to follow a less demanding form of Cistercian life. Their incorporation into the order represents a compassionate outreach to the illiterate peasantry, as well as a source of labour on "unmanorialized" Cistercian lands.


The lines of the Cistercian polity were adumbrated by Alberic, but it received its final form in the Carta Caritatis.  This document arranged the relations between the various houses of the Cistercian order, and exercised a great influence also upon the future course of western monachism. From one point of view, it may be regarded as a compromise between the primitive Benedictine system, in which each abbey was autonomous and isolated, and the complete centralization of Cluny, where the Abbot of Cluny was the only true superior in the body.

On the one hand, Citeaux maintained the independent organic life of the houses: each abbey had its own abbot elected by its own monks, its own community belonging to itself and not to the order in general, and its own property and finances administered without interference from outside.

On the other hand, all the abbeys were subjected to the General Chapter, the constitutional body which exercised vigilance over the order. The abbots met annually at the General Chapter in mid-September at Cîteaux. The Cistercian constitution attached particular importance to attendance at this meeting, which was compulsory, and absence without leave was severely punished. The Abbot of Cîteaux was the president of the chapter. He had a predominant influence and the power of enforcing everywhere exact conformity to Cîteaux in all details of the exterior life observance, chant, and customs. The principle was that Cîteaux should always be the model to which all the other houses had to conform. In case of any divergence of view at the chapter, the side taken by the Abbot of Cîteaux was always to prevail.

High and Late Middle Ages

Migration of Cistercian Order: 1111–52 

Migration of Cistercian Order
By 1111 the ranks had grown sufficiently at Cîteaux, and Stephen sent a group of 12 monks to start a "daughter house", a new community dedicated to the same ideals of the strict observance of Saint Benedict. It was built in Chalon sur Saône in La Ferté on May 13, 1113.

That same year, a charismatic young Burgundinian nobleman named Bernard arrived at Cîteaux with 35 of his relatives and friends to join the monastery. A supremely eloquent, strong-willed mystic, Bernard was to become the most admired churchman of his age. In 1115, Count Hugh of Champagne gave a tract of wild, afforested land known as a refuge for robbers, forty miles east of Troyes, to the order. Bernard led twelve other monks to found the Abbey of Clairvaux, and began clearing the ground and building a church and dwelling. The abbey soon attracted a strong flow of zealous young men. At this point, Cîteaux had four daughter houses, being Pontigny, Morimond, La Ferté and Clairvaux. Other French daughter houses of Cîteaux would include Preuilly, La Cour-Dieu, Bouras, Cadouin and Fontenay.

Migration of Cistercian Order: Wales

With Saint Bernard's membership, the Cistercian order began a notable epoch of international expansion; and as his fame grew, the Cistercian movement grew with it. In November 1128, with the aid of William Giffard, Bishop of Winchester, Waverly Abbey was founded in Surrey, England.  Five houses were founded from Waverly Abbey before 1152, and some of these had themselves produced offshoots.

Tintern Abbey Ruins, built in 1131, Wales
The Norman invasion of Wales opened the church in Wales to fresh and invigorating streams of continental reform, as well as the new monastic orders. The Benedictine houses were established in the Normanised fringes and in the shadow of Norman castles, and because they were seen as instruments of conquest, they failed to make any real impression on the local Welsh population. The Cistercians, in contrast, sought out solitude in the mountains and moorlands, and were highly successful. Thirteen Cistercian monasteries, all in remote sites, were founded in Wales between 1131 and 1226. The first of these was Tintern Abbey, which was sited in a remote river valley, and depended largely on its agricultural and pastoral activities for survival. Other abbeys, such as at Neath, Strata Florida, Conwy and Valle Crucis became among the most hallowed names in the history of religion in medieval Wales. Their austere discipline seemed to echo the ideals of the Celtic saints, and the emphasis on pastoral farming fit well into the Welsh stock-rearing economy.

In Yorkshire, Rievaulx Abbey was founded from Clairvaux in 1131, on a small property "in a place of horror and dreary solitude". This land was donated by Walter Espec, with the support of Thurstan, Archbishop of York. By 1143, three hundred monks had entered Rievaulx, including the famous St Ælred, who became known as the "St Bernard of England". From Rievaulx was founded Melrose Abbey, the earliest Cistercian monastery in Scotland. Located in Roxburghshire, it was built in 1136 by King David I of Scotland, and completed in less than ten years. Another important offshoot of Rievaulx was Revesby Abbey in Lincolnshire.

Fountains abbey was founded in 1132 by Benedictine monks from St Mary's Abbey, York, who desired a return to the austere Rule of St Benedict. After many struggles and great hardships, St Bernard agreed to send a monk from Clairvaux to instruct them, and in the end they prospered exceedingly. Before 1152, Fountains had many offshoots, of which Newminster Abbey (1137) and Meaux Abbey (1151) are the most famous.

Migration of Cistercian Order: Ireland

Mellifont Abbey, 1st Cistercian monastery built  in Ireland
In the spring of 1140, Saint Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, visited Clairvaux, becoming a personal friend of St Bernard and an admirer of the Cistercian rule. He left four of his companions to be trained as Cistercians, and returned to Ireland to introduce Cistercianism there. St Bernard viewed the Irish at this time as being in the "depth of barbarism":
... never had he found men so shameful in their morals, so wild in their rites, so impious in their faith, so barbarous in their laws, so stubborn in discipline, so unclean in their life. They were Christians in name, in fact they were pagans.
Mellifont Abbey was founded in County Louth in 1142. Thence were founded the affiliated monasteries of Bective Abbey in County Meath (1147), Inislounaght Abbey in County Tipperary (1147–1148), Baltinglass in County Wicklow (1148), Monasteranenagh in County Limerick (1148), Kilbeggan in County Westmeath (1150) and Boyle in County Roscommon (1161). Malachy's intensive pastoral activity was highly successful:
Barbarous laws disappeared, Roman laws were introduced: everywhere ecclesiastical customs were received and the contrary rejected... In short all things were so changed that the word of the Lord may be applied to this people: Which before was not my people, now is my people.
As in Wales, there was no significant tradition of Benedictine monasticism in Ireland on which to draw; although in the Irish case, this represented an insecure foundation for Cistercian expansion. Irish Cistercianism would eventually become isolated from the disciplinary structures of the order, leading to decline in the 13th century.

Migration of Cistercian Order: Europe

Meanwhile, the Cistercian influence in the Church more than kept pace with this material expansion. St Bernard had established the unique position as mentor of popes and kings, and in 1145, King Louis VII's brother, Henry of France, entered Clairvaux. That same year, Bernard saw one of his monks ascend the papal chair as Pope Eugene III.  Eugene was an Italian of humble background, who had first been drawn to monasticism at Clairvaux by the magnetism of Bernard. At the time of his election, he was Abbot of Saints Vincenzo and Anastasio outside Rome. When news of the fall of Edessa reached him in Viterbo, he addressed the papal bull Quantum praedecessores to Louis VII, with the result that a European monarch took up a crusade for the first time.

A great reinforcement to the order was the merger of the Savigniac houses with the Cistercians, at the instance of Eugene III. Thirteen English abbeys, of which the most famous were Furness Abbey and Jervaulx Abbey, thus adopted the Cistercian rule. In Dublin, the two Savigniac houses of Erenagh and St Mary's became Cistercian. It was in the latter case that medieval Dublin acquired a Cistercian monastery in the very unusual suburban location of Oxmantown, with its own private harbour called The Pill.

By 1152, there were 54 Cistercian monasteries in England, some few of which, had been founded directly from the Continent. Overall, there were 333 Cistercian abbeys in Europe – so many that a halt was put to this expansion. Nearly half of these houses had been founded, directly or indirectly, from Clairvaux, so great was St Bernard's influence and prestige. He has come almost to be regarded as the founder of the Cistercians, who have often been called Bernardines. Bernard died in 1153, one month after his pupil Eugene III.

Later expansion - Iberian Penisula

The royal Alcobaça Monastery, founded in Portugal in 1153
From its solid base, the order spread all over western Europe: into Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Croatia, Italy (where the Certosa di Pavia is their most famous edifice), Sicily, Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Portugal. One of the most important libraries of the Cistercians was in Salem, Germany.In 1153, the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques (Afonso, I), founded the Cistercian Alcobaça Monastery. The original church was replaced by the present construction from 1178, although construction progressed slowly due to attacks by the Moors. As with many Cistercian churches, the first parts to be completed was the eastern parts necessary for the priest-monks: the high altar, side altars and choir stalls. The abbey's church was consecrated in 1223. Two further building phases followed in order to complete the nave, leading to the final consecration of the medieval church building in 1252.

As a consequence of the wars between the Christians and Moors on the Iberian Peninsula, the Cistercians established a military branch of the order in Castile in 1157: the Order of Calatrava. Membership of the Cistercian Order had included a large number of men from knightly families, and when King Alfonso VII began looking for a military order to defend the Calatrava, which had been recovered from the Moors a decade before, the Cistercian Abbot Raymond of Fitero offered his help. This apparently came at the suggestion of Diego Valasquez, a monk and former knight who was "well acquainted with military matters", and proposed that the lay brothers of the abbey were to be employed as "soldiers of the Cross" to defend Calatrava. The initial successes of the new order in the Spanish Reconquista were brilliant, and the arrangement was approved by the General Chapter at Cîteaux and successive popes, giving the Knights of Calatrava their definitive rule in 1187. This was modeled upon the Cistercian rule for lay brothers, which included the three monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; specific rules of silence; abstinence on four days a week; the recitation of a fixed number of Pater Nosters daily; to sleep in their armour; and to wear, as their full dress, the Cistercian white mantle with the scarlet cross fleurdelisée.

Calatrava was not subject to Cîteaux, but to Fitero's mother-house, the Cistercian Abbey of Morimond in Burgundy. By the end of the 13th century, it had become a major autonomous power within the Castilian state, subject only to Morimond and the Pope; with abundant resources of men and wealth, lands and castles scattered along the borders of Castile, and feudal lordship over thousands of peasants and vassals.[37] On more than one occasion, the Order of Calatrava brought to the field a force of 1200 to 2000 knights – considerable in medieval terms. Over time, as the Reconquista neared completion, the canonical bond between Calatrava and Morimond relaxed more and more, and the knights of the order became virtually secularized, finally undergoing dissolution in the 18th-19th centuries.

The first Cistercian abbey in Bohemia was founded in Sedlec near Kutná Hora in 1158. In the late 13th century and early 14th century, the Cistercian order played an essential role in the politics and diplomacy of the late Přemyslid and early Luxembourg state, as reflected in the Chronicon Aulae Regiae. This chronicle was written by Otto and Peter of Zittau, abbots of the Zbraslav abbey (Latin: Aula Regia, "Royal Hall"), founded in 1292 by the King of Bohemia and Poland, Wenceslas II. The order also played the main role in the early Gothic art of Bohemia; one of the outstanding pieces of Cistercian architecture is the Alt-neu Shul, Prague. The first abbey in the present day Romania was founded on 1179, at Igris (Egres), and the second on 1204, the Cârţa Monastery.

Following the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the 1170s, the English improved the standing of the Cistercian Order in Ireland with nine foundations: Dunbrody Abbey, Inch Abbey, Grey Abbey, Comber Abbey, Duiske Abbey, Abington, Abbeylara and Tracton. This last abbey was founded in 1225 from Whitland Abbey in Wales, and at least in its earliest years, its monks were Welsh-speaking. By this time, another ten abbeys had been founded by Irishmen since the invasion, bringing the total number of Cistercian houses in Ireland to 31. This was almost half the number of those in England, but it was about thrice the number in each of Scotland and Wales. Most of these monasteries enjoyed either noble, episcopal or royal patronage. In 1269, the Archbishop of Cashel joined the order and established a Cistercian house at the foot of the Rock of Cashel in 1272. Similarly, the Irish-establishment of Abbeyknockmoy in County Galway was founded by King of Connacht, Cathal Crobhdearg Ua Conchobair, who died a Cistercian monk and was buried there in 1224.

By the end of the 13th century, the Cistercian houses numbered 500. At the order's height in the 15th century, it would have nearly 750 houses. It often happened that the number of lay brothers became excessive and out of proportion to the resources of the monasteries, there being sometimes as many as 200, or even 300, in a single abbey. On the other hand, at any rate in some countries, the system of lay brothers in course of time worked itself out; thus in England by the close of the 14th century it had shrunk to relatively small proportions, and in the 15th century the régime of the English Cistercian houses tended to approximate more and more to that of the Black Monks. One of the more famous Cistercians was Roger, the writer of the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja.

Decline and attempted reforms

For a hundred years, till the first quarter of the 13th century, the Cistercians supplanted Cluny as the most powerful order and the chief religious influence in western Europe. But then in turn their influence began to wane, as the initiative passed to the mendicant orders, in Ireland, Wales and elsewhere.

However, some of the reasons of Cistercian decline were internal. Firstly, there was the permanent difficulty of maintaining the initial fervour of a body embracing hundreds of monasteries and thousands of monks, spread all over Europe. As the very raison d'être of the Cistercian Order consisted in its being a reform – a return to primitive monachism with its field-work and severe simplicity – any failures to live up to the ideal proposed was more detrimental among Cistercians than among mere Benedictines, who were intended to live a life of self-denial but not of great austerity.

Relaxations were gradually introduced in regard to diet and to simplicity of life, and also in regard to the sources of income, rents and tolls being admitted and benefices incorporated, as was done among the Benedictines; the farming operations tended to produce a commercial spirit; wealth and splendour invaded many of the monasteries, and the choir monks abandoned field-work. The later history of the Cistercians is largely one of attempted revivals and reforms. For a long time, the General Chapter continued to battle bravely against the invasion of relaxations and abuses.

In Ireland, the information on the Cistercian Order after the Anglo-Norman invasion gives a rather gloomy impression. Absenteeism among Irish abbots at the General Chapter became a persistent and much criticised problem in the 13th century, and escalated into the conspiratio Mellifontis, a "rebellion" by the abbeys of the Mellifont filiation. Visitors were appointed to reform Mellifont in its head and members on account of the multa enormia that had arisen there, but in 1217 the abbot refused their admission and barred the abbey gate with a crowd of lay brothers. There was also trouble at Jerpoint, and alarmingly, the abbots of Baltinglass, Killenny, Kilbeggan and Bective supported the actions of the "revolt".

In 1228, the General Chapter sent the Abbot of Stanley in Wiltshire, Stephen of Lexington, on a well-documented visitation to reform the Irish houses. A graduate of both Oxford and Paris, and a future Abbot of Clairvaux (to be appointed in 1243), Stephen was one of the outstanding figures in 13th century Cistercian history. He found his life threatened, his representatives attacked and his party harassed, while the three key houses of Mellifont, Suir and Maigue had been fortified by their monks to hold out against him. However, with the help of his assistants, the core of obedient Irish monks and the aid of both English and Irish secular powers, he was able to envisage the reconstruction of the Cistercian province in Ireland. Stephen dissolved the Mellifont filiation altogether, and subjected 15 monasteries to houses outside Ireland. In breadth and depth, his instructions constituted a radical reform programme:
"They were intended to put an end to abuses, restore the full observance of the Cistercian way of life, safeguard monastic properties, initiate a regime of benign paternalism to train a new generation of religious, isolate trouble-makers and institute an effective visitation system".
The arrangement lasted almost half a century, and in 1274, the filiation of Mellifont was reconstituted. By this time, however, "the Cistercian order as a whole had experienced a gradual decline and its central organisation was noticeably weakened."

In 1335, the French cardinal Jacques Fournier, a former Cistercian monk and the son of a miller, was elected and consecrated Pope Benedict XII.[50] The maxim attributed to him, "the pope must be like Melchizedech who had no father, no mother, nor even a family tree", is revealing of his character. Benedict was shy of personal power and was devoted exclusively to restoring the authority of the Church. As a Cistercian, he had a notable theological background and, unlike his predecessor John XXII, he was a stranger to nepotism and scrupulous with his appointments. He promulgated a series of regulations to restore the primitive spirit of the Cistercian Order.

By the 15th century, however, of all the orders in Ireland, the Cistercians had most comprehensively fallen on evil days. The General Chapter lost virtually all its power to enforce its will in Ireland, and the strength of the order which derived from this uniformity declined. In 1496, there were efforts to establish a strong national congregation to assume this role in Ireland, but monks of the English and Irish "nations" found themselves unable to cooperate for the good of the order. The General Chapter appointed special reformatores, but their efforts proved fruitless. One such reformer, Abbot John Troy of Mellifont, despaired of finding any solution to the ruin of the order. According to his detailed report to the General Chapter, the monks of only two communities, Dublin and Mellifont, kept the rule or even wore the habit. He identified the causes of this decline as the ceaseless wars and hatred between the two nations; a lack of leadership; and the control of many of the monasteries by secular dynasties who appointed their own relatives to positions.

In the 15th century, various popes endeavoured to promote reforms. All these efforts at a reform of the great body of the order proved unavailing; but local reforms, producing various semi-independent offshoots and congregations, were successfully carried out in many parts in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries.

King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries

Ruins of the Fountains of Abbey, Yorkshire
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former members and functions. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority; and by the First Suppression Act (1536) and the Second Suppression Act (1539).

The English Reformation was disastrous for the Cistercians in England, as Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries saw the confiscation of church land throughout the country.  Laskill, an outstation of Rievaulx Abbey and the only medieval blast furnace so far identified in Great Britain, was one of the most efficient blast furnaces of its time. Slag from contemporary furnaces contained a substantial concentration of iron, whereas the slag of Laskill was low in iron content, and is believed to have produced cast iron with efficiency similar to a modern blast furnace. The monks may have been on the verge of building dedicated furnaces for the production of cast iron, but the furnace did not survive Henry's Dissolution in the late 1530s, and the type of blast furnace pioneered there did not spread outside Rievaulx. Some historians believe that the suppression of the English monasteries may have stamped out an industrial revolution.

Post Protestant Reformation

In the 17th century another great effort at a general reform was made, promoted by the pope and the king of France; the general chapter elected Richelieu (commendatory) abbot of Cîteaux, thinking he would protect them from the threatened reform. In this they were disappointed, for he threw himself wholly on the side of reform. So great, however, was the resistance, and so serious the disturbances that ensued, that the attempt to reform Cîteaux itself and the general body of the houses had again to be abandoned, and only local projects of reform could be carried out.

In the 16th century had arisen the reformed Congregation of the Feuillants, which spread widely in France and Italy, in the latter country under the name of Improved Bernardines. The French congregation of Sept-Fontaines (1654) also deserves mention. In 1663 de Rancé reformed La Trappe.

The Reformation, the ecclesiastical policy of Joseph II, the French Revolution, and the revolutions of the 18th century, almost wholly destroyed the Cistercians; but some survived, and since the beginning of the last half of the 19th century there has been a considerable recovery. Mahatma Gandhi visited a Trappist abbey near Durban in 1895, and wrote an extensive description of the order:
The settlement is a quiet little model village, owned on the truest republican principles. The principle of liberty, equality, and fraternity is carried out in its entirety. Every man is a brother, every woman a sister. The monks number about 120 on the settlement, and the nuns, or the sisters as they are called, number about sixty... None may keep any money for private use. All are equally rich or poor... A Protestant clergyman said to his audience that Roman Catholics were weakly, sickly, and sad. Well, if the Trappists are any criterion of what a Roman Catholic is, they are, on the contrary, healthy and cheerful. Wherever we went, a beaming smile and a lowly bow greeted us, we saw a brother or a sister. Even while the guide was decanting on the system he prized so much, he did not at all seem to consider the self-chosen discipline a hard yoke to bear. A better instance of undying faith and perfect implicit obedience could not well be found anywhere else.
In 1892, the Trappist Observance left the Cistercians and founded a new Order. Today, there are two Cistercian Orders:
  • The Common Observance, with about 30 monasteries and 800 choir monks, the large majority being in Austria, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Vietnam and Eritrea; they represent the main body of the order and follow a mitigated rule of life; in Asia they run farms, in other parts of the world they work in schools and parishes;
  • The Strict Observance, or Trappists, with nearly 100 monasteries, about 1,566 solemnly professed choir monks and 150 solemnly professed non-choir monks (lay brothers). Including those in monastic formation and oblates there are 2,132.

 Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance - Trappists and Trappistines

Le Trappe monastery in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France,
The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.: Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae) is a Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monastics who follow the Rule of St. Benedict. A branch of the Order of Cistercians, they have communities of both monks and nuns, commonly referred to as Trappists and Trappistines, respectively.  The order takes the name of "Trappist" from La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe in Normandy in France. A reform movement began there in 1664, in reaction to the relaxation of practices in many Cistercian monasteries. Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé, originally the commendatory abbot of La Trappe, led the reform. As commendatory abbot, de Rancé was a layman who obtained income from the monastery but had no religious obligations. After a conversion of life between 1660 and 1662, de Rancé formally joined the abbey and became its regular abbot in 1663. In 1892 the reformed "Trappists" broke away from the Cistercian order and formed an independent monastic order with the approval of the Pope.

The life of the Trappists is guided by the Rule of St. Benedict, written in the sixth century. The Rule describes ideals and values of a monastic life. "Strict Observance" refers to the Trappists' goal of following closely St. Benedict's Rule, and taking the three vows described in his Rule (c. 58): stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience. Benedict's insistence on lack of speech has some impact on their way of life, though, contrary to popular belief, they do not take a vow of silence. Trappist monks generally only speak when necessary; thus idle talk is strongly discouraged. According to St. Benedict, speech disturbs a disciple's quietude and receptivity, and may tempt one to exercise one's own will instead of the will of God. Speech which leads to unkind amusement or laughter is seen as evil and is banned. A Trappist Sign Language, distinct from other forms of monastic sign language, was developed to render speaking unnecessary. Meals are usually taken in contemplative silence as members of the order are supposed to listen to a reading.

The Trappists have received particular attention in recent years because of the popularity of the writings of Thomas Merton, a member of the order. More recently, the critically acclaimed film Of Gods and Men and the popularity of Trappist beers, such as Chimay, Westmalle, and a few others, has brought additional publicity to the order. 

The 48th chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict states "for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands". Following this rule, most Trappist monasteries produce goods which are sold to provide income for the monastery. The goods produced range from cheese, bread and other foodstuffs to clothing and coffins. As the order does not require abstention from alcohol, some monasteries produce and sell alcoholic beverages. Monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands, such as Orval Abbey and Westvleteren Abbey, brew beer both for the monks and for sale to the general public. Trappist beers contain residual sugars and living yeast, and, as bottle-conditioned beers do, will improve with age. These have become quite famous and are considered by many beer critics to be amongst the finest in the world.[9]

There are nearly 170 Trappist monasteries and convents in the world, homes to approximately 2,100 Trappist monks and 1,800 Trappistine nuns.

Cistercian and Trappistine Nuns

Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs, Paris 1710
There has also always been a large number of Cistercian nuns; the first community was founded in the Diocese of Langres in 1125; at the period of their widest extension there are said to have been 900 monasteries, and the communities were very large. The nuns were devoted to contemplation and also did field-work. In Spain and France certain Cistercian abbesses had extraordinary privileges. Numerous reforms took place among the nuns. The best known of all Cistercian women's communities was probably the Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs, reformed by Mother Marie Angélique Arnauld, and associated with the story of the Jansenist controversy. The abbey was established in 1204, but became famous when its discipline was reformed in 1609 by its abbess, Mother Marie Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661). The Arnauld family became its patrons and the abbey's subsequent history was directed by a number of the members of that family. In 1625 most of the nuns moved to a new Port-Royal in Paris, which subsequently became Port-Royal de Paris (or, more commonly, Port-Royal) while the older one was known as Port-Royal des Champs ("Port-Royal of the fields").At the original site, several schools were founded, which became known as the "Little Schools of Port-Royal" (Les Petites-Ecoles de Port-Royal). These schools became famous for the high quality of the education they gave. Playwright Jean Racine was a product of Port-Royal education. In 1634 Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, Abbé de Saint-Cyran, became spiritual director of the abbey; he was a companion of Jansenius and the implementer of Jansenism in France. From that point forward, the abbeys and schools of Port-Royal became intimately associated with that school of theology. 

La logique, ou l'art de penser, the Logique de Port-Royal, was an important textbook on logic first published anonymously in 1662 by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, two prominent members of the Jansenist movement; Blaise Pascal likely contributed considerable portions of the text. As it was written in the vernacular, it became quite popular and was in use, as a paradigm of traditional term logic, into the twentieth century, introducing the reader to logic, and exhibiting strong Cartesian elements in its metaphysics and epistemology (Arnauld having been one of the main philosophers whose objections were published, with replies, in Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.

The atmosphere of serious study and Jansenist piety attracted a number of prominent cultural figures to the movement, including theologian and mathematician Blaise Pascal. Pascal defended the schools publicly against the Jesuits in the Jansenist controversies which agitated the French Roman Catholic Church, writing his Provincial Letters in 1657. Perhaps even more striking, several important persons of the court were close to Jansenism, such as the Duke of Luynes or the Duke of Liancourt. Members of the Arnauld family have managed to have important jobs such as Simon Arnauld de Pomponne, Minister of Louis XIV. The Jesuits, on the other hand, enjoyed predominance in political and theological power in France and Europe, providing a personal confessor to the King, etc.

Nuns being forcibly removed from the abbey in 1709.
As a result of the Jesuit attacks on Jansenism, the schools of Port-Royal were regarded as tainted with heresy. Louis XIV wanting peace in the church, the elementary schools were forcibly closed by papal bull in 1660, following the formulary controversy. In 1661, the monastery was forbidden to accept novices, heralding its eventual dissolution. The abbey itself was abolished by a bull from Pope Clement XI in 1708, the remaining nuns forcibly removed in 1709, most of the buildings themselves razed in 1710. The chapel, containing Mère Angélique's tomb, as well as some buildings, still exist in the vast grounds of what eventually became Paris' leading maternity hospital, known as Port-Royal Hospital. A celebrated history of Port-Royal and its influence was written by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve in 1837-1859.

Today, hhe nuns have also followed the split in observances followed by the monks. Those who follow the reform of De Rancé are called Trappistines. As with the men, the houses of this branch outnumber those of the Original Observance.

Technological and EducationalInfluence

Cistercian Architecture

Cistercian architecture is a style of architecture associated with the churches, monasteries and abbeys of the Roman Catholic Cistercian Order. Cistercian architecture has made an important contribution to European civilization. Architecturally speaking, the Cistercian monasteries and churches, owing to their pure style, may be counted among the most beautiful relics of the Middle Ages. Cistercian foundations were primarily constructed in Romanesque and Gothic architecture during the Middle Ages; although later abbeys were also constructed in Renaissance and BaroqueIt was headed by Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1154), who believed that churches should avoid superfluous ornamentation so as not to distract from the religious life. Cistercian architecture was simple and utilitarian, and though images of religious subjects were allowed in very limited instances (such as the crucifix), many of the more elaborate figures that commonly adorned medieval churches were not; their capacity for distracting monks was criticised in a famous letter by Bernard. Early Cistercian architecture shows a transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Later abbeys were also constructed in Renaissance and Baroque styles, though by then simplicity is rather less evident.

In terms of construction, buildings were made where possible of smooth, pale, stone. Columns, pillars and windows fell at the same base level, and if plastering was done at all, it was kept extremely simple. The sanctuary kept a simple style of proportion of 1:2 at both elevation and floor levels. To maintain the appearance of ecclesiastical buildings, Cistercian sites were constructed in a pure, rational style; and may be counted among the most beautiful relics of the Middle Ages.

Most Cistercian abbeys and churches were built in remote valleys far from cities and populated areas, and this isolation and need for self-sustainability bred an innovativeness among the Cistercians. Many Cistercian establishments display early examples of hydraulic engineering and waterwheels. After stone, the two most important building materials were wood and metal. The Cistercians were careful in the management and conservation of their forests; they were also skilled metallurgists, and their skill with metal has been associated directly with the development of Cistercian architecture, and the spread of Gothic architecture as a whole.

Theological principle

Cistercian concept "architecture of light"

In the mid-12th century, one of the leading churchmen of his day, the Benedictine Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis, united elements of Norman architecture with elements of Burgundinian architecture (rib vaults and pointed arches respectively), creating the new style of Gothic architecture. This new "architecture of light" was intended to raise the observer "from the material to the immaterial"– it was, according to the 20th century French historian Georges Duby, a "monument of applied theology". Although St Bernard saw much of church decoration as a distraction from piety, and the builders of the Cistercian monasteries had to adopt a style that observed the numerous rules inspired by his austere aesthetics, the order itself was receptive to the technical improvements of Gothic principles of construction and played an important role in its spread across Europe.

This new Cistercian architecture embodied the ideals of the order, and was in theory at least utilitarian and without superfluous ornament. The same "rational, integrated scheme" was used across Europe to meet the largely homogeneous needs of the order. Various buildings, including the chapter-house to the east and the dormitories above, were grouped around a cloister, and were sometimes linked to the transept of the church itself by a night stair. Usually Cistercian churches were cruciform, with a short presbytery to meet the liturgical needs of the brethren, small chapels in the transepts for private prayer, and an aisled nave that was divided roughly in the middle by a screen to separate the monks from the lay brothers.

Engineering and construction

Rose Window, Catherine Window, Strasbourg Cathedral.
The building projects of the Church in the High Middle Ages showed an ambition for the colossal, with vast amounts of stone being quarried, and the same was true of the Cistercian projects. Foigny Abbey was 98 metres (322 ft) long, and Vaucelles Abbey was 132 metres (433 ft) long. Monastic buildings came to be constructed entirely of stone, right down to the most humble of buildings. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Cistercian barns consisted of a stone exterior, divided into nave and aisles either by wooden posts or by stone piers.

The Cistercians acquired a reputation in the difficult task of administering the building sites for abbeys and cathedrals. St Bernard's own brother, Achard, is known to have supervised the construction of many abbeys, such as Himmerod Abbey in the Rhineland. Others were Raoul at Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes, who later became abbot there; Geoffrey d'Aignay, sent to Fountains Abbey in 1133; and Robert, sent to Mellifont Abbey in 1142. On one occasion the Abbot of La Trinité at Vendôme loaned a monk named John to the Bishop of Le Mans, Hildebert de Lavardin, for the building of a cathedral; after the project was completed, John refused to return to his monastery.

The Cistercians "made it a point of honour to recruit the best stonecutters", and as early as 1133, St Bernard was hiring workers to help the monks erect new buildings at Clairvaux. It is from the 12th century Byland Abbey in Yorkshire that the oldest recorded example of architectural tracing is found. Tracings were architectural drawings incised and painted in stone, to a depth of 2–3 mm, showing architectural detail to scale. The first tracing in Byland illustrates a west rose window, while the second depicts the central part of that same window. Later, an illustration from the latter half of the 16th century would show monks working alongside other craftsmen in the construction of Schönau Abbey.

Architectural Legacy

Royal Abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet, Spain
The Cistercian abbeys of Fontenay in France, Fountains in England, Alcobaça in Portugal, Poblet in Spain and Maulbronn in Germany are today recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The abbeys of France and England are fine examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The architecture of Fontenay has been described as "an excellent illustration of the ideal of self-sufficiency" practised by the earliest Cistercian communities. The abbeys of 12th century England were stark and undecorated – a dramatic contrast with the elaborate churches of the wealthier Benedictine houses – yet to quote Warren Hollister, "even now the simple beauty of Cistercian ruins such as Fountains and Rievaulx, set in the wilderness of Yorkshire, is deeply moving".

In the purity of architectural style, the beauty of materials and the care with which the Alcobaça Monastery was built, Portugal possesses one of the most outstanding and best preserved examples of Early Gothic. Poblet Monastery, one of the largest in Spain, is considered similarly impressive for its austerity, majesty, and the fortified royal residence within.

The fortified Maulbronn Abbey in Germany is considered "the most complete and best-preserved medieval monastic complex north of the Alps". The Transitional Gothic style of its church had a major influence in the spread of Gothic architecture over much of northern and central Europe, and the abbey's elaborate network of drains, irrigation canals and reservoirs has since been recognised as having "exceptional" cultural interest.

In Poland, the former Cistercian monastery of Pelplin Cathedral is an important example of Brick Gothic. Wąchock abbey is one of the most valuable examples of Polish Romanesque architecture. The largest Cistercian complex, the Abbatia Lubensis (Lubiąż, Poland), is a masterpiece of baroque architecture and the second largest Christian architectural complex in the world.

Cistercian Art

Illuminated Manuscript, Capuchin's Bible, 1180
Tree of Jesse forms L "Liber generationis
The mother house of the order, Cîteaux, had developed the most advanced style of painting in France, at least in illuminated manuscripts, during the first decades of the 12th century, playing an important part in the development of the image of the Tree of Jesse. However, as Bernard of Clairvaux, who had a personal violent hostility to imagery, increased in influence in the order, painting and decoration gradually diminished in Cistercian manuscripts, and they were finally banned altogether in the order, probably from the revised rules approved in 1154. Any wall paintings that may have existed were presumably destroyed. Crucifixes were allowed, and later some painting and decoration crept back in. Bernard's outburst in a letter against the fantastical decorative motifs in Romanesque art is famous:

...But these are small things; I will pass on to matters greater in themselves, yet seeming smaller because they are more usual. I say naught of the vast height of your churches, their immoderate length, their superfluous breadth, the costly polishings, the curious carvings and paintings which attract the worshipper's gaze and hinder his attention.... But in the cloister, under the eyes of the Brethern who read there, what profit is there in those ridiculous monsters, in the marvellous and deformed comeliness, that comely deformity? To what purpose are those unclean apes, those fierce lions, those monstrous centaurs, those half-men, those striped tigers, those fighting knights, those hunters winding their horns? Many bodies are there seen under one head, or again, many heads to a single body. Here is a four-footed beast with a serpent's tail; there, a fish with a beast's head. Here again the forepart of a horse trails half a goat behind it, or a horned beast bears the hinder quarters of a horse. In short, so many and so marvellous are the varieties of divers shapes on every hand, that we are more tempted to read in the marble than in our books, and to spend the whole day in wondering at these things rather than in meditating the law of God. For God's sake, if men are not ashamed of these follies, why at least do they not shrink from the expense?
Some Cistercian abbeys did in fact contain later medieval wall paintings, such as Tintern Abbey (known from archaeology) and Abbeyknockmoy (traces of which still survive in the presbytery), both in Ireland. The latter murals depict Saint Sebastian, the Crucifixion, the Trinity and the three living and three dead. The abbey contains a fine example of a sculptured royal head on a capital in the nave, with carefully defined eyes, an elaborate crown and long curly hair. The east end of Corcomroe Abbey in County Clare is similarly distinguished by high-quality carvings, several of which "demonstrate precociously naturalistic renderings of plants". By the Baroque period, decoration could be very elaborate, as at Alcobaça in Portugal, which has carved and gilded retables and walls of azulejo tiles.

Sarcophagus tomb,  Peter I of Portugal, 14th C.
Furthermore, many Cistercian abbey churches housed the tombs of royal or noble patrons, and these were often as elaborately carved and painted as in other churches. Notable dynastic burial places were Alcobaça for the Kings of Portugal, Cîteaux for the Dukes of Burgundy, and Poblet for the Kings of Aragon. Corcomroe in Ireland contains one of only two surviving examples of Gaelic royal effigies from 13th and 14th century Ireland: the sarcophagal tomb of Conchobar na Siudaine Ua Briain (d. 1268).

Cistercian Commercial Influence

Cistercians developed hydraulic and waterwheel systems
According to one modern Cistercian, "enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit" have always been a part of the order's identity, and the Cistercians "were catalysts for development of a market economy" in 12th century Europe. It was as agriculturists and horse and cattle breeders that the Cistercians exercised their chief influence on the progress of civilization in the Middle Ages. As the great farmers of those days, many of the improvements in the various farming operations were introduced and propagated by them, and this is where the importance of their extension in northern Europe is to be estimated. They developed an organized system for selling their farm produce, cattle and horses, and notably contributed to the commercial progress of the countries of western Europe. To the wool and cloth trade, which was especially fostered by the Cistercians, England was largely indebted for the beginnings of her commercial prosperity.

Farming operations on so extensive a scale could not be carried out by the monks alone, whose choir and religious duties took up a considerable portion of their time; and so from the beginning the system of lay brothers was introduced on a large scale. The duties of the lay brothers, recruited from the peasantry, consisted in carrying out the various fieldworks and plying all sorts of useful trades. They formed a body of men who lived alongside of the choir monks, but separate from them, not taking part in the canonical office, but having their own fixed round of prayer and religious exercises. They were never ordained, and never held any office of superiority. It was by this system of lay brothers that the Cistercians were able to play their distinctive part in the progress of European civilization.

Until the Industrial Revolution, most of the technological advances in Europe were made in the monasteries. According to the medievalist Jean Gimpel, their high level of industrial technology facilitated the diffusion of new techniques: "Every monastery had a model factory, often as large as the church and only several feet away, and waterpower drove the machinery of the various industries located on its floor." Waterpower was used for crushing wheat, sieving flour, fulling cloth and tanning – a "level of technological achievement [that] could have been observed in practically all" of the Cistercian monasteries. The English science historian James Burke examines the impact of Cistercian waterpower, derived from Roman watermill technology such as that of Barbegal aqueduct and mill near Arles in the fourth of his ten-series Connections (TV series), called "Faith in Numbers."

The Cistercian order was innovative in developing techniques of hydraulic engineering for monasteries established in remote valleys. In Spain, one of the earliest surviving Cistercian houses, the Real Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de Rueda in Aragon, is a good example of such early hydraulic engineering, using a large waterwheel for power and an elaborate water circulation system for central heating.

The Cistercians are known to have been skilled metallurgists, and knowledge of their technological advances was transmitted by the order. Iron ore deposits were often donated to the monks along with forges to extract the iron, and within time surpluses were being offered for sale. The Cistercians became the leading iron producers in Champagne, from the mid-13th century to the 17th century, also using the phosphate-rich slag from their furnaces as an agricultural fertiliser. As the historian Alain Erlande-Brandenburg writes:

The quality of Cistercian architecture from the 1120s onwards is related directly to the Order's technological inventiveness. They placed importance on metal, both the extraction of the ore and its subsequent processing. At the abbey of Fontenay the forge is not outside, as one might expect, but inside the monastic enclosure: metalworking was thus part of the activity of the monks and not of the lay brothers. This spirit accounted for the progress that appeared in spheres other than building, and particularly in agriculture. It is probable that this experiment spread rapidly; Gothic architecture cannot be understood otherwise.

Cistercian Vocation

By far the most influential of the early Cistercians was Bernard of Clairvaux. According to the historian Piers Paul Read, his vocation to the order, by deciding "to choose the narrowest gate and steepest path to the Kingdom of Heaven at Citeaux demonstrates the purity of his vocation". His piety and asceticism "qualified him to act as the conscience of Christendom, constantly chastising the rich and powerful and championing the pure and weak." He rebuked the moderate and conciliatory Abbot Peter the Venerable for the pleasant life of the Benedictine monks of Cluny. Besides his piety, Bernard was an outstanding intellectual, which he demonstrated in his sermons on Grace, Free will and the Song of Songs. He perceived the attraction of evil not simply as lying in the obvious lure of wealth and worldly power, but in the "subtler and ultimately more pernicious attraction of false ideas". He was quick to recognise heretical ideas, and in the 1141 and 1145 respectively, he accused the celebrated scholastic theologian Peter Abelard and the popular preacher Henry of Lausanne of heresy. He was also charged with the task of promulgating Pope Eugene's bull, Quantum praedecessores, and his eloquence in preaching the Second Crusade had the desired effect: when he finished his sermon, so many men were ready to take the Cross that Bernard had to cut his habit into strips of cloth.

Although Bernard's De laude novae militiae was in favour of the Knights Templar, a Cistercian was also one of the few scholars of the Middle Ages to question the existence of the military orders during the Crusades. The English Cistercian Abbot Isaac of l'Etoile, near Poitiers, preached against the "new monstrosity" of the nova militia in the mid-12th century, and denounced the use of force to convert members of Islam. He also rejected the notion that crusaders could be regarded as martyrs if they died while despoiling non-Christians.

One of the most well-known Cistercian theologians was Thomas Merton, a prominent author in the mystic tradition and a noted poet and social and literary critic. He entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1941 where his writings and letters to world leaders became some of the most widely read spiritual and social works of the 20th century. Merton's most widely read work remains his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, followed by New Seeds of Contemplation and No Man is an Island.


Orval Abbey (Trappist), Belgium
Cistercian monasteries have continued to spread, with many founded outside Europe in the 20th century. In particular, the number of Trappist monasteries throughout the world has more than doubled over the past 60 years: from 82 in 1940 to 127 in 1970, and 169 at the beginning of the 21st century. In 1940, there were six Trappist monasteries in Asia and the Pacific, only one Trappist monastery in Africa, and none in Latin America. Now there are 13 in Central and South America, 17 in Africa, and 23 in Asia and the Pacific. In general, these communities are growing faster than those in other parts of the world. Over the same period, the total number of monks and nuns in the Order decreased by about 15%. There are approximately 2500 Trappist monks and 1800 Trappist nuns in the world today. There are on average 25 members per community – less than half those in former times. As of 2005, there are 101 monasteries of monks and 70 of nuns. Of these, there are twelve monasteries of monks and five of nuns in the United States.

The abbots and abbesses of each branch meet every three years at the Mixed General Meeting, chaired by the Abbot General, to make decisions concerning the welfare of the Order. Between these meetings the Abbot General and his Council, who reside in Rome, are in charge of the Order's affairs. The present Abbot General is Dom Eamonn Fitzgerald of Mount Melleray, Waterford, Ireland.

Since 2010 there is also a branch of Anglican Cistercians  in England. This is a dispersed and uncloistered order of single, celibate, and married men that is officially recognized within the Church of England. The Order enjoys a link with the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance through their ecumenical link with Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire.

European Monastic life

Westvleteren Abbey, Flanders Belgium
At the time of monastic profession, five or six years after entering the monastery, candidates promise "conversion" – fidelity to monastic life, which includes an atmosphere of silence. Cistercian monks and nuns, in particular Trappists, have a reputation of being silent, which has led to the public idea that they take a Vow of silence. This has actually never been the case, although silence is an implicit part of an outlook shared by Cistercian and Benedictine monasteries. In a Cistercian monastery, there are three reasons for speaking:
  1. Functional communication at work or in community dialogues,
  2. Spiritual exchange with one’s superiors or with a particular member of the community on different aspects of one’s personal life, 
  3. and Spontaneous conversation on special occasions. 
These forms of communication are integrated into the discipline of maintaining a general atmosphere of silence, which is an important help to continual prayer.
Many Cistercian monasteries produce goods such as cheese, bread and other foodstuffs. Many monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands, such as Orval Abbey, Westvleteren Abbey and Westmalle Abbey, brew beer both for the monks and for sale to the general public.

The brewing of Trappist beers takes place in Trappist monasteries. For a beer to qualify for Trappist certification, the brewery must be in a monastery, the monks must play a role in its production and policies and the profits from the sale must be used to support the monastery and/or social programs outside. Only seven monasteries currently meet these qualifications, six of which are in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. Trappist beer is a controlled term of origin: it tells where the beers come from, it is not the name of a beer style. Beyond saying they are mostly top-fermented, the beers produced by the Trappist have very little in common stylistically.Trappist beers contain residual sugars and living yeast, and, unlike conventional beers, will improve with age. These have become quite famous and are considered by many beer critics to be among the finest in the world.

Today, eight Trappist breweries are active—6 in Belgium, 1 in the Netherlands, and 1 in Austria.

Western Monastic life

Our Lady of Dallas Monastery runs Cistercian Preparatory School
a Catholic school for boys in Irving, Texas
In the United States, many Cistercian monasteries support themselves through agriculture, forestry and rental of farmland. The Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, in Sparta, Wisconsin, from 2001 and closed in 2011 supported itself with a group called "Laser Monks", which provided laser toner and ink jet cartridges, as well as items such as gourmet coffees and all-natural dog treats. The monks of New Melleray Abbey, rural Peosta, Iowa produce caskets for both themselves and sale to the public. Additionally, the Cistercian monks of Our Lady of Dallas monastery run the Cistercian Preparatory School, a Catholic school for boys in Irving, Texas. Cistercian College, Roscrea, a boys' boarding secondary/high school in Ireland, is the only Trappist school left in the world, and one of only two remaining monastic secondary schools in Ireland.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Baury, Ghislain, "Emules puis sujettes de l'ordre cistercien. Les cisterciennes de Castille et d'ailleurs face au Chapitre Général aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles", Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses, t. 52, fasc. 1–2, 2001, p. 27–60.
  • Cawley, Martinus (1988). A Folk Geography of Cistercian U.S.A.. Guadalupe Translations.
  • Clarke, Howard B.; Dent, Sarah; Johnson, Ruth (2002). Dublinia: The Story of Medieval Dublin. Dublin: O'Brien. ISBN 0-86278-785-8.
  • Dodwell, C.R.; The Pictorial arts of the West, 800–1200, 1993, Yale UP, ISBN 0-300-06493-4
  • Doran, Linda; Lyttleton, James, ed. (2008). Lordship in Medieval Ireland: Image and reality (Hardback, illustrated ed.). Four Courts Press. ISBN 978-1-84682-041-0.
  • Dykes, D.W. (1980). Alan Sorrell: Early Wales Re-created. National Museum of Wales. ISBN 0-7200-0228-1.
  • Erlande-Brandenburg, Alain (1995). The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages. Thames & Hudson Ltd. ISBN 0-500-30052-6 ISBN 978-0-500-30052-7.
  • Gimpel, Jean, The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages (New York, Penguin, 1976)
  • Hollister, C. Warren (1966). The Making of England, 55 BC to 1399. Volume I of A History of England, edited by Lacey Baldwin Smith (Sixth Edition, 1992 ed.). Lexington, MA. ISBN 0-669-24457-0.
  • Lalor, Brian, ed. (2003). The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2
  • Logan, F. Donald, A History of the Church in the Middle Ages.
  • Rendina, Claudio (2002). The Popes: Histories and Secrets. translated by Paul McCusker. Seven Locks Press. ISBN 1-931643-13-X.
  • Richter, Michael (2005). Medieval Ireland: the enduring tradition (Revised, illustrated ed.). Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-3293-5, ISBN 978-0-7171-3293-5.
  • Tobin, Stephen. The Cistercians: Monks and Monasteries in Europe. The Herbert Press, LTD 1995. ISBN 1-871569-80-X.
  • Toman, Rolf, ed. (2007). The Art of Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting. photography by Achim Bednorz. Tandem Verlag GmbH. ISBN 978-3-8331-4676-3.
  • Watt, John, The Church in Medieval Ireland. University College Dublin Press; Second Revised Edition (May 1998). ISBN 1-900621-10-X. ISBN 978-1-900621-10-6.
  • Woods, Thomas, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (2005), ISBN 0-89526-038-7.


      Today's Snippet II :  Trappist Beer (monastic beer)

      Trappist Beer

      Beers from all seven trappist breweries available in 2009,
      from left to right: Achel, Westvleteren, Orval, Rochefort, 
      Chimay, Westmalle and La Trappe (Koningshoeven)
      Trappist beer is brewed by Trappist monks. Seven monasteries — six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands — currently brew beer and sell it as Authentic Trappist Product.

      The Trappist order originated in the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe, France. Various Cistercian congregations existed for many years, and by 1664 the Abbot of La Trappe felt that the Cistercians were becoming too liberal. He introduced strict new rules in the abbey and the Strict Observance was born. Since this time, many of the rules have been relaxed. However, a fundamental tenet, that monasteries should be self-supporting, is still maintained by these groups.

      Monastery brewhouses, from different religious orders, have existed across Europe since the Middle Ages. From the very beginning, beer was brewed in French cistercian monasteries following the Strict Observance. For example, the monastery of La Trappe in Soligny already had its own brewery in 1685. Breweries were later introduced in monasteries of other countries as the trappist order spread from France into the rest of Europe. The Trappists, like many other religious people, originally brewed beer to feed the community, in a perspective of self-sufficiency. Nowadays, Trappist breweries also brew beer to fund their works and for good causes. Many of the Trappist monasteries and breweries were destroyed during the French Revolution and the World Wars. Among the monastic breweries, the Trappists were certainly the most active brewers. In the last 300 years, there were at least nine Trappist breweries in France, six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Germany, one in Austria, one in Bosnia and possibly other countries.

      Today, eight Trappist breweries are active—6 in Belgium, 1 in the Netherlands, and 1 in Austria.
      In the twentieth century, the growing popularity of Trappist beers led some brewers with no connection to the order to label their beers "Trappist". After unsuccessful trials, monks finally sued one such brewer in 1962 in Ghent, Belgium.

      The Dutch brewery De Koningshoeven produces the only Dutch Trappist beers – branded La Trappe – that are able to carry the "Authentic Trappist Product" logo. Their use of the International Trappist Association logo was withdrawn in 1999, but was restored in October 2005 (see Brouwerij de Koningshoeven for details).

      International Trappist Association recognized breweries

      In 1997, eight Trappist abbeys – six from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel), one from the Netherlands (Koningshoeven) and one from Germany (Mariawald) – founded the International Trappist Association (ITA) to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name. This private association created a logo that is assigned to goods (cheese, beer, wine, etc.) that respect precise production criteria. For the beers, these criteria are the following:

      • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
      • The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life
      • The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.
      • Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.
       This association has a legal standing, and its logo gives the consumer some information and guarantees about the product.
      There are currently seven breweries that are allowed to have the products they sell display the Authentic Trappist Product logo:

      Brewery Location Year Opened Annual Production (2004)
      Bières de Chimay Belgium 1863 123,000 hL (3,200,000 USgal)
      Brasserie d'Orval Belgium 1931 45,000 hL (1,200,000 USgal)
      Brasserie de Rochefort Belgium 1595 18,000 hL (480,000 USgal)
      Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle Belgium 1836 120,000 hL (3,200,000 USgal)
      Brouwerij Westvleteren/St Sixtus Belgium 1838 4,750 hL (125,000 USgal)
      Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis/Achel Belgium 1998 4,500 hL (120,000 USgal)
      Brouwerij de Koningshoeven/La Trappe Netherlands 1884 145,000 hL (3,800,000 USgal)

      Other Trappist beers

      Brewery Location Year Opened Annual Production (if any)
      Mont des Cats France 1826 0 hL (0 USgal)
      Stift Engelszell Austria 1293 240 hL (6,300 USgal)
      Abdij Maria Toevlucht Netherlands 1899 0 hL (0 USgal)

       The French abbey of Sainte Marie du Mont des Cats has been selling Trappist beer since June 16, 2011. This abbey has no brewery at this time and does not plan to build one in the near future, for reasons of cost and brewing skills. They have not excluded rebuilding one brewery in the future. The Trappist beer sold by Mont des Cats is produced by the Chimay brewery and does not wear the "authentic trappist product" logo.

      As of February 2012, the trappist brewery of the abbey of Engelszell, Trappistenbrauerei Engelszell in Engelhartszell, Austria, is active and has started brewing beer at the monastery (the former production had stopped in 1929). The monks claim that their next challenge will be to obtain the Authentic Trappist Product logo for their beer, hopefully before the end of 2012.

       The Trappist monks of the Abbey of Maria Toevlucht in Zundert, Netherlands are planning an on-site brewery.

      Abbey beer

      The designation "abbey beers" (Bières d'Abbaye or Abdijbier) was originally used for any monastic or monastic-style beer. After the introduction of an official Trappist beer designation by the International Trappist Association in 1997, it came to mean products similar in style or presentation to monastic beers.[7] In other words, an Abbey beer may be:-
      • Produced by a non-Trappist monastery—e.g. Cistercian, Benedictine; or
      • produced by a commercial brewery under an arrangement with an extant monastery; or
      • branded with the name of a defunct or fictitious abbey by a commercial brewer; or
      • given a vaguely monastic branding, without mentioning a specific monastery, by a commercial brewer.

      Types of beer

      With the recent exception of Koningshoeven's Bockbier, Trappist beers are all top-fermented and mainly bottle conditioned. Trappist breweries use various systems of nomenclature for the different beers produced which relate to their relative strength.

      The best known is the system where different beers are called Enkel/Single, Dubbel/Double and Tripel/Triple. Considering the importance of the Holy Trinity in the church, it is unlikely that the choice of three types of beers was accidental. In the early days, there was no way of precisely measuring the alcohol content of beer, so in order to increase the alcohol strength, the monks used double the ingredients for a Dubbel and triple for a Tripel, marking the casks accordingly. Enkels are now no longer brewed as such.

      Colours can be used to indicate the different types, dating back to the days when bottles were unlabelled and had to be identified by the capsule or bottle-top alone. Chimay beer labels are based on the colour system (in increasing order of strength red, white and blue). Westvleteren beers are still unlabelled. There is also a number system (6,8 and 10, as used by Rochefort), which gives an indication of strength, but is not necessarily an exact alcohol by volume (ABV). Achel combine a strength and a colour (of the beer itself—blond or brown) designation.


      The 'Dubbel' is a Trappist breweries naming convention. The origin of the dubbel was a beer brewed in the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in 1856. 'Westmalle Dubbel' was imitated by other breweries, Trappist and commercial, Belgian and worldwide, leading to the emergence of a style. 'Dubbels' are now understood to be a fairly strong (6%-8% ABV) brown ale, with understated bitterness, fairly heavy body, and a pronounced fruitiness and cereal character. Examples are: Westmalle Dubbel, Chimay Red/Premiere, Koningshoeven/La Trappe Dubbel and Achel 8 Bruin, Rochefort 8.


      Tripel (trippel), is a naming convention used by Belgian Trappist breweries to describe the strongest beer in their range. Westmalle Tripel is considered to be the foundation of this beer style, and was developed in the 1930s. Achel 8 Blond, Westmalle Tripel, Koningshoeven/La Trappe Tripel, and Chimay White/Cinq Cents are all examples of Trappist tripels, but this style has proven even more popular among secular breweries like Bosteels and St. Bernardus. Tripels as a style are generally beers with an alcohol content ranging from 8% to 10% ABV.


      Most Trappist breweries also feature a "patersbier" or "fathers' beer" that is only available within the monastery. This variety is designed to be consumed by the monks themselves, although it is sometimes offered at the monastery's on-site café. The term "patersbier" does not designate a style as such; is usually a weaker version of the one of the regular beers, and may only be offered to the Brothers on festive occasions, both of these facts relating to the Trappist tradition of austerity. Examples include Chimay Dorée and Petite Orval.

      Enkel, meaning "single", is a term formerly used by the Trappist breweries to describe the basic recipe of their beers. There are now no Trappist (or secular) breweries using the term. Instead, "Blond(e)" (La Trappe, Westvleteren), "5" (Achel) or "6" (Rochefort) are used to describe the brewery's lightest beer. An Enkel could fulfil the role of a patersbier, as was the case with De Koningshoeven's when it was in production.

      Quadrupel is the name La Trappe give to an ale they brew which is stronger than their tripel.


      The official Trappist breweries produce the following beers for consumption:-
      • Achel sells Blonde (8% ABV), Bruin (8% ABV), Extra Blonde (10% ABV), Extra Bruin (10% ABV).
      • Chimay sells Red Label (dark, 7% ABV), White Label (Blonde/Tripel, ABV 8%) and Blue Label (dark, 9% ABV).
      • Koningshoeven sells:
        • La Trappe Blond (6.5% ABV)
        • La Trappe Dubbel (7% ABV)
        • La Trappe Isid'or (7.5% ABV)
        • La Trappe Tripel (8% ABV)
        • La Trappe Quadrupel (10% ABV)
        • La Trappe Quadrupel Oak Aged (10% ABV)
        • La Trappe Witte Trappist (5.5% ABV)
        • La Trappe Bockbier (7% ABV) (Seasonal)
        • La Trappe PUUR (4.7% ABV) (organic)
      • Orval sells a "unique"[12] dry hopped 6.2% amber ale.
      • Rochefort sells three dark ales, "6" (7.5% ABV). "8" (9.2% ABV) and "10" (11.3% ABV).
      • Westmalle sells Dubbel (7% ABV) and Tripel (9.5% ABV),
      • Westvleteren sells Green Cap or Blonde, (5.8% ABV), Blue Cap (dark, 8% ABV) and Yellow Cap (dark, 10.2% ABV).
      In addition to the above, a lower-strength beer is sometimes brewed for consumption by the Brothers (patersbier) or sold on site.


      The four varieties of Chimay Trappist beer.
      The customary Chimay goblet is the Chimay blue.
      Belgian breweries have a tradition of providing custom beer glasses: with Trappist breweries, this often takes the form of providing "chalice" or "goblet" style glasses. In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and some other Christian denominations, a chalice is a standing cup used to hold sacramental wine during the Eucharist. Chalices are often made of precious metal, and they are sometimes richly enamelled and jewelled. The gold goblet was symbolic for family and tradition.Goblets tend to be more delicate and thin, while the chalice is heavy and thick walled. A chalice (from Latin calix, cup, borrowed from Greek kalyx, shell, husk) is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony. Today, the primary distinction between goblet and chalice is typically in the glass thickness. Some chalices are even etched on the bottom to nucleate a stream of bubbles for maintaining a nice foamy top layer of beer.

      References and Trappist Brewery Sites

      • International Trappist Association. http://www.trappist.be/en/pages/the-international-trappist-association.
      • Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis/Achel, Trappists Achel. http://www.achelsekluis.org/
      • Brouwerij de Westvleteren, Abbey St Sixtus, Westvleteren.  http://www.sintsixtus.be/eng/home.htm
      • Brasserie de Orval. http://www.orval.be/
      • Brasserie de Rochefort. http://www.abbaye-rochefort.be/
      • Bières de  Chimay. Chimay Pere Trappistes.. http://www.chimay.com
      • Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle. http://www.trappistwestmalle.be/
      • Brouwerij de Koningshoeven. La Trappe. http://www.latrappe.nl/intro.asp