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The Cistercians in Medieval Art

James France

This fully illustrated work tells the remarkable story of the Cistercian Order through its art: illuminated manuscripts, paintings, stained glass, carvings and sculpture, gathered from throughout Europe, Britain, and Scandinavia. It reveals how the Cistercians shaped the religious, cultural and economic unity of medieval Europe and shows the continuity of cistercian practice across the centuries.

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The Great Beginning of Citeaux

A Narrative of the Beginning of the Cistercian Order

Translated by Benedicta Ward, SLG, and Paul Savage; Edited by Rozanne Elder

In the closing decades of the twelfth century, the Cistercian Order had become an important ecclesiastical and economic power in Europe. Yet it had lost its influential spokesman, Bernard of Clairvaux, and as the century drew to a close, religious sensibilities were changing. The new mendicant orders, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, and the impulses they embodied were to shift the center of gravity in Christian religious life for centuries to come.It was in this transitional period that Conrad of Eberbach gradually—between the 1180s and 1215—compiled the Exordium magnum cisterciense: The Great Beginning of Cîteaux. It is a book of history and lore, often with miraculous stories, meant to continue a great spiritual tradition, and it is also a book meant to justify and repair the Order. The Exordium magnum was in part an effort to provide a historical and formative context for those who were to be Cistercians in the thirteenth century.Conrad's combination of a historical sensibility and the edifying exempla makes the Exordium magnum a remarkably innovative book. Its unique combination of genres—narratio and exempla—is conceivable only within the intellectual world of the twelfth or early thirteenth centuries, before exempla collections came to be complied solely for edification or use in sermons. The Great Beginning of Cîteaux is a revealing book and an excellent place to begin more detailed study of the Cistercian Order between 1174 and the middle of the thirteenth century.

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Mary Most Holy

Meditating with the Early Cistercians

Edited by E. Rozanne Elder

The White Monks' devotion to the Mother of God moved them to commit all their monasteries to her patronage. The most famous of them all, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, has been called the Marian Doctor. Reading his homilies, and the sermons and meditations of his twelfth-century brothers and thirteenth-century sisters, lets us hear them blending their voices into a long and loving tradition. 'Proclaim her as reverenced by angels, desired by nations, foretold by patriarchs and prophets, chosen from among all, preferred above all. Magnify her for having found grace, for being mediatrix of salvation and reparatrix of the ages. Exalt her, finally, as one exalted to the heavenly realm, above the choirs of angels. All this the Church sings to me about her, and teaches me to sing in turn.'--Saint Bernard.

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The Lives of Monastic Reformers, 2

Abbot Vitalis of Savigny, Abbot Godfrey of Savigny, Peter of Avranches, and Blessed Hamo

Introduced, translated, and edited by Hugh Feiss, OSB, Maureen M. O'Brien, and Ronald Pepin

This volume offers translations of the twelfth-century Latin vitae of four monks of the Monastery of Savigny: Abbot Vitalis, Abbot Godfrey, Peter of Avranches, and Blessed Hamo. Founded in 1113 by Vitalis of Mortain, an influential hermit-preacher, Savigny expanded to a congregation of thirty monasteries under his successor Godfrey (1122-1138). In 1147, the entire congregation joined the Cistercian Order. Around 1172, two monks of Savigny, Peter of Avranches and Hamo, friends but very different personalities, died. Their stories were told in two further vitae.The vitae of these four men exemplify the variety of people and movements found in the monastic ferment of the twelfth century.Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, is a member of the Monastery of the Ascension in Jerome, Idaho; is a specialist in twelfth-century religion; and has translated several books for Cistercian Publications.Dr. Maureen M. O'Brien, an assistant professor of history at St. Cloud State University, is a specialist in the history of La Chaise-Dieu, and has edited several books for Cistercian Publications.Ronald E. Pepin is professor emeritus at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. His recent translations include The Vatican Mythographers (Fordham University Press, 2008) and Anselm & Becket (PIMS, 2009).

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Gertrud the Great of Helfta

The Herald of God's Loving-KindnessBook 3

Translated, with an Introduction, by Alexandra Barratt

Placed in the monastery of Helfta, in Upper Saxony, at the age of five, Gertrud began having visions and writing at twenty-five. The first two Books of The Herald were written by her own hand; Book Three, compiled twenty years later by another member of the community, 'expounds something of the favors lavished on or revealed to her'. It provides insights into the life and spirituality of this 'most literate of all medieval women visionaries.'

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Four Ways Of Holiness For The Universal Church

Drawn from the Monastic Tradition

Francis Kline, OCSO

We find the essence of holiness deep in the Scriptures, in the teaching and imitation of Jesus. When a Christian lives a particular way of holiness back to its scriptural source, we see in the person the Church as it waits for the Saviour, beyond all activities and ministries. We hear the testimony of that holy person speaking both of the peace and the energy of the last times, which the holy one sees as now. This is the experience of the contemplative. The contemplative aspect of the Church, where the Spirit is rushing things along to their fulfillment in his chosen one, has long been neglected. We are simply not aware of it in our ministerial preoccupations. Yet it is the place where all ministries are directed. In this book the author has chosen four ways of holiness which, if taken back to their scriptural source and lived there, help rectify the imbalances in our doctrinal and ecclesiastical life. Monasteries dedicated to profound Christian contemplation, as privileged places where the imbalance is righted, are essential to the revelation of the true nature of the Church, both in the daily reality as well as in the searing vision of Christ in glory.

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Stephen Harding

A Biographical Sketch and Texts

Claudio Stercal; Translated by Martha F. Krieg

Gathered together in this volume, in English and Latin, are all the documents that can with certainty be attributed to Stephen Harding, the elusive third abbot of Citeaux. Using them and information gathered elsewhere in twelfth-century works, the author creates a biographical sketch and provides 'working material' for further research and study on the earliest Cistercians. Well known among Cistercian scholars, Claudio Stercal is professor at the Facoltà theologica dell'Italia Settentrionale in Milan.

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Verses on Death

Helinand of Froidmont; Translated by Jenny Lind Porter

Helinand (c.1162—1237) was born to a noble flemish family which had fled to France after the assasination of Charles the Bold. In the richly creative, rough and tumble world of the twelfth century, he proved himself an accomplish poet. In Verses on Death Helinand combines his love of poetry and his love of monastic tradition; from his cloister, he invites death to visit those dearest to him, to turn their attentions to the joys of eternity. Both in Old French and in Jenny Lind Porter's translation, the verses provide lively, colloquial and arresting reflections on the transitory vanity of worldly pleasures.

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Geoffrey of Auxerre

On the Apocalypse

Geoffrey of Auxerre; Translated by Joseph Gibbons, CSSP

A bright and capable student of Peter Abelard, Geoffrey of Auxerre surprisingly abandoned student life in Paris without hesitation after hearing Bernard of Clairvaux preach on conversion. Five years later, he was the abbot's secretary and close companion, and was collecting notes on Bernard's life with a view to canonization. Successively, sometimes stormily, abbot of three cistercian monasteries, Geoffrey retired to Clairvaux in 1188.

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Baldwin of Forde

The Commendation of Faith

Translated by Jane Patricia Freeland and David N. Bell; Introduction and notes by David N. Bell

Archdeacon of Exeter before entering Forde Abbey in 1169, Baldwin was elected abbot in 1175. Six years later he was made bishop of Worcester, and in 1184 became Archbishop of Canterbury. The Commendation of Faith seems to date from his years as abbot. Baldwin stood on the threshold of scholasticism and did not much like what he saw. Many twelfth-century theologians were becoming impatient with the allegorical scriptural commentaries which had long nourished monastic theologians. Instead they turned to the short snappy scholastic questio, in which arguments for and against a proposition led logically to a neat, summary resolution.

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In the School of Love

An Anthology of Early Cistercian Texts

Edited by Edith Scholl OCSO; Introduction by M. Basil Pennington OCSO

Lectio is a meeting with God in and through his word. As in any intimate meeting, far more is communicated than the literal meaning of the words. God uses stories and images to invite us to be aware of our feelings in lectio. In this meeting with God in his word, even though there is no question of body language complementing the spoken word, God is using human communication and intends to use it to the fullest. We know that the Words of Revelation, cast in a rich mythopoetic mode, are meant to convey far more than their literal and historical meaning The Fathers and Mothers, not with the logic of schools but in the tradition of the Fathers of the Church, open these dimensions to us and invite us to enter in and discover so much more than information. Where the mind leaves off, the heart goes yet further. The Cistercian Fathers and Mothers invite us into a 'School of Love', into the domain where the heart knows what the mind can never grasp.

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Pathway of Peace

Cistercian Wisdom According to Saint Bernard

Charles Dumont OCSO

'A new book on Saint Bernard. And we mean new, not simply in the sense that it is another book, but that it is a book capable of communicating the bernardine good news in all its freshness, in the newness that inspired the abbot of Clairvaux in the twelfth century. This work by Father Charles Dumont will be helpful to all of us who want to read Saint Bernard's works fruitfully. Still more, reading this work will nourish and motivate a generous self–giving and will enlighten and guide the offering of our life. The author knows how to put the permanent values presented by St Bernard alongside our present–day experiences. He knows how to distinguish what is obsolete from what is enduring and he has re-translated the abbot of Clairvaux into a contemporary idiom to help us understand it. Charles Dumont is a Cistercian monk of Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey in southwestern Belgium. Already well known for his work on the spirituality of another of the Cistercian Fathers, Aelred of Rievaulx, he shares in this volume a lifetime of reflection on the doctrine of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.'    —from the Preface

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Lovers of the Place

Monasticism Loose in the Church

Francis Kline, OCSO; Foreword by Michael Downey

In Lovers of the Place, Abbot Francis Kline provided a fresh vision of the monastic life as one form of the Christian vocation that must find its place alongside other expressions of Christian life. He firmly believed that as monasticism renews itself for the church, it will in turn renew the church. Kline invites all the baptized to a participation in the monastic charism loose in the church at large.Francis Kline, OCSO, was the third abbot of Mepkin Abbey, a Cistercian (Trappist) monastery near Charleston, South Carolina, until his death in 2006. He studied at The Julliard School in New York and at Sant'Anselmo in Rome.

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Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel

The Crown of Monks

Translated by David Barry, OSB

Smaragdus was a monk and abbot of considerable standing in the early ninth century church. His Diadema Monachorum (The Crown of Monks), together with a later commentary on the Rule of Saint Benedict, established him as one of the most significant interpreters of Benedict's Rule in his day and for succeeding generations.Smaragdus intended The Crown of Monks as a daily resource for monastic communities, to be read at the evening chapter. He sought to arouse well-established monks "to a keener and loftier yearning for the heavenly country" and "to strengthen and instill fear" in weaker monks.In this gathering of excerpts from various respected sources, a genre known as the florilegium, Smaragdus addresses a wide variety of topics perennially significant to monks. It offers rich material for lectio and meditation, forming monastic minds and hearts for facing whatever challenges come their way, linking them with the formative years of the monastic tradition, and pointing them to the final goal: the kingdom of heaven. David Barry, OSB, made solemn profession at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, New Norcia, Western Australia, in 1960. He has studied at Sant'Anselmo, Rome, and Saint Benet's Hall, Oxford, as well as Murdoch University. In addition to doing parish work, teaching, working in monastic formation, and giving spiritual direction and retreats in Australia, he has taught in China and done archival research in Europe on his monastery's founders.

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Cistercian Spirituality

An Ashram Perspective

Francis Acharya, OCSO; Edited with an Introduction by Michael Casey, OCSO

Cistercian Spirituality: An Ashram Perspective is a spiritual directory written by Fr. Francis Acharya for the monastic community that he founded at Kurisumala (Kerala, India). As the editor, Fr. Michael Casey, relates in the introduction: "This book is offered to a wider world in the hope that it will serve as a means of making and deepening contact with the spirit of the Cistercian tradition not so much as it is written but as it has been lived for over six decades by a deeply spiritual man. To those who know of Kurisumala Ashram or who have read the biography of Fr. Francis, it will provide a gateway to an understanding of the interior life of this remarkable monk. In particular, his description of the stages of the experience of prayer will certainly be helpful to many who, like him, are lifelong seekers of the unseen God." Francis Acharya, OCSO, left the Belgian monastery of Scourmont in 1955, after twenty years as a Trappist, to live his monastic life in India. His experiences put him in contact with such other pioneering spirits as Henri Le Saux (Abishiktananda), Jules Monchanin (In Quest of the Absolute), and Bede Griffiths (Return to the Centre, The Golden String), and led to an uncommonly successful inculturation of Christian monasticism within Indian culture and spirituality at Kurisumala, where he served as Acharya, teacher, until his death in 2001. His biography, Kurisumala: Francis Mahieu Acharya, A Pioneer of Christian Monasticism in India, is also published by Cistercian Publications.

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