Jan 26 – Solemnity of the Founders of Citeaux

Today we are celebrating the solemnity of Saints Robert, Alberic, and Stephen and the founding  of our Cistercian Order.

Founders of Citeaux

from Constitutions and Statutes: of the Monks and Nuns of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance

Preface 1

The holy abbots Robert of Molesme, Alberic and Stephen Harding gave the Benedictine tradition a particular form when in 1098 they built the New Monastery of Cîteaux, the Mother of us all, and founded the Cistercian Order. About 1125, Saint Stephen established the nuns’ monastery of “Tart”, as Cîteaux’s own daughter-house, entrusted to the pastoral care of the abbot of this monastery. The Exordium Parvum and The Charter of Charity express the vocation and mission that the founders received from God which the Church has authoritatively approved both in their times and in ours. Under the influence of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and others the ideal of this reform spread and monasteries of monks and nuns following the Cistercian way of life multiplied even beyond western Europe. From the very beginning the Order received lay brothers and lay sisters. A substantial spiritual heritage was engendered through the lives and labours of innumerable brothers and sisters that found expression in writing, chant, architecture and crafts, and in the skilful management of their lands.