The Cistercian Order traces its origins to these three monks who were pioneers of a new monastery in Citeaux, France, and a way of life based on a particular interpretation of the Rule of Benedict. They wished to follow the Rule that would allow monks in their monastery to be formed more closely to Saint Benedict's monastic spirituality. Incidentally, a closer observation of the Rule did not prevent the early Cistercian monks from being innovative in agriculture and hydraulic engineering. While it is true that our early founding Fathers wished for a simpler, unadorned lifestyle, they accepted donated lands and vineyards which allowed them to creatively experiment with farming techniques and redirect water sources that turned wastelands into flourishing fields. They enlisted the help of conversi or lay brothers who lived within the confines of the monastery but whose main occupation was manual labor. Together, Cistercian monks and lay brothers formed an indomitable force of Christian witness that within years of establishing the new monastery at Citeaux in 1098, and later, with the arrival of Saint Bernard and his companions in 1110, Cistercian monasteries began to branch out all across Europe and even as far as Asia.
Through a way of life built on the praise of God, the early Cistercians strove to create an oasis of inner silence and solitude where the monk and nun can truly live the heart of their monastic calling. Today, monasteries of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, also known as Trappists, likewise are places where brothers and sisters strive to live with one heart and one mind centered on Christ.
On this blog you will periodically find articles, links to pertinent websites, reflections, homilies, and images that express our monastic Cistercian life.