In honor of the Solemnity of SS. Robert, Alberic & Stephen, Founders of the Cistercian Order, by Br. Luis
Stephen, Robert, and Alberic, were aflame with zeal to live a simple life devoted to Christ when they decided to renew their lives as Benedictine monks and start the New Monastery, which would become Citeaux, the Mother House of the Cistercian Order. Certainly, much time has passed since that original inspiration, and many changes to the world and Order have occurred, so one might ask: can we still honor the vision of our Founders? I believe so. In one sense, it might be easier. Let me explain: Though I’m no scholar of medieval times, I’ll go out on a limb and say that modern times are bit more complex than medieval times—means of travel, internet, globalization, secularism, you name it. There is so much more to simplify and turn away from nowadays compared to medieval times in a person’s pursuit of a simple life for the sake of Christ. Anyone who decides to take up the tools for spiritual growth that a Cistercian monastery offers—prayer, silence, solitude, stability, lectio divina, labor, community life, cloistered living—has run contrary to a very strong stream of culture and certainly manifests the great zeal and inspiration that our Holy Founders, Stephen, Robert, and Alberic experienced centuries ago at Citeaux.