Abbot, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
Feast Day - August 20
Born of a good family at Fontaine in Burgundy, Bernard carefully cherished his chastity from his very boyhood. At the age of twenty-two he entered the monastery of Citeaux, from which the Cistercian Order takes its name, and brought with him his brothers and many others to undertake the same religious life. He applied himself to vigils and prayer in a wonderful way. The virtues of humility, mercy, kindness, prudence, shone out in him, together with constant zeal for meditating on divine things.
He was made abbot of Clairvaux and built monasteries in many places where his principles and discipline flourished for a long time. He also wrote many works in which it is clear that he had been instructed by teaching given him from Heaven rather than by his own labor. Because he was implored by great princes to settle their disputes and to arrange the affairs of the Church, he went often to Italy, and was of great assistance to Pope Innocent II in confuting the schism of Peter de Leone.
At the age of sixty-three, he fell asleep in the Lord, having earned great honor from the Church.
Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1458-1459.
Epistle and Gospel for August 20