History of the Order

by Sister Kathleen O'Neill
Mississippi Abbey, Dubuque, Iowa, USA




Symbols and Abbreviations

1. Introduction, Origins, and Origen
2. Early Christian Monasticism - the East: I. Egypt
3. Early Christian Monasticism - the East: II. Palestine, Syria, Cappadocia, etc.
4. Early Christian Monasticism - the East: III. the cultural context; Evagrius; Cassian; Climacus
5. Early Christian Monasticism: the Latin West
6. Latin Monasticism 500-750 AD
7. Carolingian Monasticism and Benedict of Aniane
8. 10th Century Reforms
9. Review / Monastic Women
10. 11th Century Reforms
11. Molesme to Citeaux
12. Citeaux: Alberic & Stephen
13. The Foundational Documents
14. The Essence of th Cistercian Reform
15. Bernard of Clairvaux
16. Elements of Early Cistercian Life
17. Cistercian Authors: 12th century
18. Liturgy
19. Crusades & Missions. Organizational Developments
20. Cistercian Art & Architecture
21. Cistercian Nuns
22. The 13th Century & Cistercian Studies
23. The 13th Century: The Nuns, and Daily Life
24. Economy
25. Cistercians and the World
26. The Late Middle Ages
27. The Reform Movement (late 15th-16th centuries)
28. Congregations
29. The Rise of the Strict Observance
30. Rancé and La Trappe (I)
31. Rancé and La Trappe (II)
32. The Feminine Side of the Trappist Reform
33. The Eighteenth Century
34. The Monastic Odyssey
35. Our Lady of the Holy Cross (Stapehill)
36. The 19th Century Revival
37. The "Reunification"; the Nuns in the 19th-early 20th Centuries
38. The 20th Century Expansion
39. Vatican II and Post-Conciliar Renewal


Symbols and Abbreviations

#     entry found in OLM library

(#)   principle entry not at OLM, but part of entry is (e.g., translation, summary, long review)

*     noteworthy


CF = Cistercian Fathers series, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, Michigan

CS = Cistercian Studies series, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, Michigan

CSQ = Cistercian Studies Quarterly

CWS=Classics of Western Spirituality. Paulist Press, Mahwah NJ

fiche=Jean de la Croix Bouton, History of the Order fiches.

HS = Hidden Springs: Cistercian Monastic Women: Medieval Religious Women, Vol 3, ed J a Nichols & L T Shank OCSO. CS-113, 1995

Jedin=Jedin, Hubert, general ed. History of the Church.  10 volumes.  Trans fr German (Herder, 1962) New York, Crossroad, 1986.

King= Peter King, Western Monasticism: A History of the Monastic Movement in the Latin Church. CS-185. [new since last time I taught course!]

NCE=New Catholic Encyclopedia

SMCH = Studies in Medieval Cistercian History (see section IIb, Cistercian History, of complete Bibliography, for full entries).

TVM=Théologie de la vie monastique: Études sur la tradition patristique.  Aubier, Éditions Montaigne, 1961.



1. Introduction.

Origins, and Origen


Required reading

fiche #1

RB 1980, 3-16


Suggested reading:

O'Neill, J.C.  **"The Origins of Monasticism," The Making of Orthodoxy: Essays in Honour of Henry Chadwick, ed. Rowan Williams;  Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 1989;  270-87.

?#Desprez, Vincent OSB, ABR 41 (1990). Brief rvw COCR 53 (1991) [30-31]

"The Origins of Western Monasticism," pp 99-112, 167-191.

"Jewish Ascetical Groups at the Time of Christ: Qumran and the Therapeuts," pp 291-311.

"The Roots of Christian Monachism: The Jewish Bible and Ancient Religious," pp 357-377.

Baus, Karl. Vol I of Jedin, From the Apostolic Community To Constantine, pp 295-298 .

Crouzel, Henri, SJ. "Origène, précurseur du monachisme"  TVM, 15-38.


2. Early Christian Monasticism - the East

I. Egypt



Required reading

fiches 2-4

Jedin, Vol II, pp 343-357

RB 1980, 17-30

[possibly add King, ch 1, “Egypt”.]


Suggested reading

de Vogue, Forward to Pachomian Koinonia I

Bacht, "Anthony and Pachomius" (loose leaf binder on Monastic Theology)

Bacht, "Pachomius and His Disciples" (")

Chitty, chapters 1-4 



3. Early Christian Monasticism - the East

II. Palestine, Syria, Cappadocia, etc.

Required reading

Jedin Vol II, pp 357-371

RB 1980, 30-34


Suggested reading

Jedin Vol II, pp 483-488

Chitty, chapters 5-7


Questions for discussion in class:

1. What are the elements most common to all forms of monasticism in the early Eastern Church? Are they found in our life here?

2. Why was Egyptian monasticism so influential elsewhere?  What were the effects of this influence?

3. What were some of the outstanding characteristics of Palestinian monasticism? To what do you attribute them?

4. What do we know of the relationship between monasticism and the local population in Egypt? Palestine? Syria? Asia Minor?

5. What was the purpose of physical asceticism? Why was it meaningful to people in ancient world, and what was its meaning for them? Why does it speak less to people of our time?



4. Early Christian Monasticism - the East

III. the cultural context;  Evagrius; Cassian;  Climacus



Times Atlas of World History, pp 92-93.

Judith Herrin, The Formation of Christendom, pp 54-67, & 71-72

  Jean Gribomont, "Eastern Christianity" in McGinn & Meyendorff, eds., Christian Spirituality. Vol I: Origins to the Twelfth Century, 89-111

RB 1980, 34-41. On Origen, Evagrius & the Origenist Controversy

Questions for class discussion

1.What was the mission of monasticism in the 4th century Church? How did the Holy Spirit work in early monasticism for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ? Why were so many bishops monks, or at least monastic in orientation?

2. Which of the types of Eastern monasticism appeals most to you personally, and what reflection of your own ocation do you see in it?

3. Which type(s) do you consider closest to the Cistercian charism?

4.  How is early monasticism a living of the Gospel?

5. To what extent is monasticism rural, rather than urban, in its fundamental nature? What implications does this have for 1) monasteries in our time? 2) inculturation of new members?



5. Early Christian Monasticism: the Latin West



fiche #6

RB 1980, pp 42-64.

Jedin, Vol. II, 374-393.

[Possibly add King, ch 2, “The Beginnings of Monasticism in the West”]


Further bibliography:  (see also articles in the New Catholic Encyclopedia)


#Lawless, George, OSA. Augustine of Hippo and His Monastic Rule. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1987.

#Mohler, James a, SJ. The Heresy of Monasticism: The Christian Monks: Types and Anti-types. New York, Alba House, 1971, Chapter VI, pp 109-140.


#Monks, Bishops and Pagans: Christian Culture in Gaul and Italy, 500-700, ed. & intro, Edward Peters. In Sources in Traslation, gen.ed. William C McDermott. Philadelphia, U of Penn Press, 1949. A collection of excerpts from primary sources.

#Duckett, Eleanor Shipley, The Gateway to the Middle Ages: Monasticism. Ann Arbor, U of Michigan Press, 1961.  Chapter I, "Roman Monasticism", pp 1-61.


#Monks, Bishops and Pagans: Christian Culture in Gaul and Italy, 500-700, ed. & intro, Edward Peters. In Sources in Traslation, gen.ed. William C McDermott. Philadelphia, U of Penn Press, 1949. A collection of excerpts from primary sources.

#Mohler, James a, SJ. The Heresy of Monasticism: The Christian Monks: Types and Anti-types. New York, Alba House, 1971, Chapter VII, pp 141-166.

de  Vogüé, Adalbert. "Caesarius of Arles and the Origin of the Enclosure of Nuns," Word and Spirit 11, 16-29.

#Rousseau, Philip. Ascetics, Authority, and the Church In the Age of Jerome and Cassian. Oxford, Oxford U Press, 1987. Part Four: Martin of Tours, pp 143-165.


#Miquel, Pierre, OSB. "A Man of Experience: Cassian," ET 1970 from CC 30 (1968).

#Rousseau, Philip. Ascetics, Authority, and the Church In the Age of Jerome and Cassian. Oxford, Oxford U Press, 1987. Part Five: Cassian, pp 169-239.


Questions for Discussion

1. To what extent is separation from the world essential to monasticism? Is it valid to characterize forms of life which include all the major characteristics of monastic life except "anachoresis" as "pre-monastic"? Why do you suppose separation from the world came later than the other aspects of ascetical life? What led to this "separation"?

2. What are some of the characteristics of early Italian monasticism? How do you account for the prominence of women among the Roman monastics?

3. What roles did writing, literacy, and scholarship play in the growth of monastic life? What was the purpose of monastic rules?

4. To what do you attribute the influence, both at the time and for later history, of: St Martin? John Cassian? the monasteries of Lerins? St Augustine?

5. Which monastic places and people in the West were most influenced by Egypt? Why were other forms of Eastern monasticism less influential in the West? How did early Western monasticism differ from that in the East?  What had they in common? How did the elements of solitude and eremeticism take shape in East and West?

6. What effects did the political and cultural situation of the time have on Western monasticism, and vice versa? Why did monasticism expand so rapidly?

7. What do we know of women;s monastic life in this era? Has it any distinctive traits? How did it develop?






Times Atlas, p.100

Jedin, Vol II, pp 520-523, & 690-707

Daniélou, Jean & Henri Marrou.  The Christian Centuries: Vol I, The First Six Hundred Years trans. Vincent Cronin (New York, Paulist, 1964), pp 451-458.

RB 1980, pp 113-120

fiche #8, pp 3-4 only

Gillette, Gertrude, OSB, unpublished article on Radegund

[possibly add King, ch 3, “Gaul, Spain, Ireland” and ch 4, “Saint Benedict and Sixth-Century Italy”]



McNamara, Jo Ann, "Living Sermons: Consecrated Women and the Conversion of Gaul," in Peace Weavers: Medieval Religious Women Vol II, ed John A Nichols and Lillian Thomas Shank (CS-72, 1987), pp 19-37.

Riché, in Christian Spirituality, Vol I, pp 163-171.


Further Reading:

Wemple, Susan Foney, "Female Spirituality and Mysticism in Frankish Monasticism: Radegund, Balthild and Aldegund" in Peace Weavers, pp 39-53.  Has some good historical info, but little if any understanding of, or interest in, mysticism.

Luecke, Janemarie, "The Unique Experience of Anglo-Saxon Nuns," in Peace Weavers, pp 55-65.  Also very secular in outlook, with some dubious historical claims; seems hardly aware of God.

Monks, Bishops and Pagans: Christian Culture in Gaul and Italy, 500-700, ed. & intro, Edward Peters. In Sources in Traslation, gen.ed. William C McDermott. Philadelphia, U of Penn Press, 1949. A collection of excerpts from primary sources.

de Vogüé, Adalbert. "St Benedict and His Time". CSQ XVI (1981), 280-296.

de  Vogüé, Adalbert. "Caesarius of Arles and the Origin of the Enclosure of Nuns," Word and Spirit 11, 16-29.

Duckett, Eleanor Shapley. The Gateway to the Middle Ages: MONASTICISM. Ann Arbor MI, U of Michigan Press, 1961. Ch II, "Celtic Monasticism", pp 62-121.

Hart, Patrick.  "Eremitism in the Celtic Church", CSQ 3 (1968), 124-136.

-----------  "Irish Monastic Art and Poetry", CSQ 2 (1967), 150-165

Lehane, B. The Quest of Three Abbots. Pioneers of Ireland's Golden Age. London, John Murray, 1968. Rvw E.M., CSQ 6 (1971) [73-4].

Mohler, James a, SJ. The Heresy of Monasticism: The Christian Monks: Types and Anti-types. New York, Alba House, 1971, Chapter VIII, pp 167-196.

O Maidin, Vincent, OCSO. "The Monastic Rules of Ireland," CSQ 15 (1980) 24-38. Brief rvw. G.G., COCR 44 (1982) [129].

O Sabhaois, Ciaran. "Community in the Early Irish Church". CSQ 10 (1975), 60-68.

Ryan, J., SJ. Irish Monasticis: Origins and Early Development. New intro & bibliog. Shannon, Irish UP, 1972. Rvw Eoin de Bhaldrauthe, CSQ 11 (1976) [268].

Fleming, J. "The Dream of the Rood and Anglo Saxon Monasticism," Traditio 22 (1966), 43-72.  Rev. L.M., CSQ 3 (1968) [120].

Stevens, Clifford.  "Saint Cuthbert: The Early Years". CSQ 23 (1988), 3-13.

----------  "Saint Cuthbert: Crisis in Northumbria (II)". CSQ 24 (1989), 280-292.

----------  "Saint Cuthbert: The Lindisfarne Years (III)". CSQ 26 (1991), 25-39.

The Lives of the Jura Fathers. Tr T Vivian, K Vivian, J B Russell. CS-178, 1999. Excellent, lengthy intro.



Discussion Questions

1. What is meant by the "wanderings of the peoples"?  What parts of Europe were most affected?  How did it affect monasticism?

2. What is the significance of the separation between "jurisdiction" and "power of orders" in the Celtic church? What implications could this have for us today?

3. What are 3 or 4 of the most significant developments in monasticism of this period? what were its most enduring achievements?

4. What do we know of connections among monasteries or groups of monasteries?

5. Why did the RB gain pre-eminence among monastic Rules in the West?

6. What is the central point Sr Gertrude is making about the relationship between rule and observance in Radegund's monastery?  Does anything about the life of early medieval nuns strike you?




7. Carolingian Monasticism and

Benedict of Aniane



For historical background: Times Atlas, pp 106-107.

Fiche 9

Fiche 10, pp 1 - middle of 3

Lackner, Bede.  "Benedict of Aniane and Post-Carolingian Monachism" in The Eleventh-Century Background of Cîteaux. CS-8. Kalamazoo, Cistercian Publications, 1974, pp 1-39.

Knowles, David.  Christian Monasticism , pp 37-47.

Johnson, Paul. History of Christianity, pp 125-161.

[Possibly add King, ch 5, “A Second Benedict and His Progeny”, 1st half only, pp 103-117 bottom]


Further reading:

Easton, Stewart C and Helene Wieruszowski, The Era of Charlemagne. Princeton, D Van Nostrand Co, 1961.  Good chapter on the Carolingian Renaissance; also, second half of book consists in brief selections from many primary sources.



Please answer 2 of the following (please consult with each other & pick different ones!), total answer to both together to be only about 1 page:

1. Why were rulers interested in exercising control over monasteries?  What effect did this have on monastic life?

2. In what ways did Benedict of Aniane's ideas for reform coincide with those of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious?

3. How did 9th century monasticism differ from that of earlier centuries in Europe?

4. What were the monastic influences on Benedict of Aniane?  What drew him to the Rule of Benedict?  What impact did he have on the future of the RB?

5. Which elements of monasticism were stressed by the reform of 817?  Which were underplayed?

6. What were the benefits of uniformity and centralization?  What were the drawbacks?  Did the former outweigh the latter?


For class discussion:

1. What aspects of life at Inde attract you?  Which do not?

2. What was the role of monks in the early European centuries in: agriculture; historiography; commerce; publishing; the transmission of the Greek and Latin culture?  Why does Paul Johnson claim that these centuries were characterized by "an almost total absence of the desire to reach out for new frontiers"?  Do you agree?




8. 10th Century Reforms



Lackner, "Cluny (909-110)" in Eleventh Century Background, pp 40-91.

Times Atlas, pp 110-111.

Dawson, Christopher, Religion and the rise of Western Culture, pp 83-94.

Jedin, Vol III, 320-324.

Fiche 10, pp 3 middle - 4; fiche 11.

[Possibly add King, ch 5, “A Second Benedict and His Progeny”, 2nd half only, pp 117 bottom – 130]


Recommended reading:

Evans, Joan, "The Monks of Cluny," in Monastic Life at Cluny 910-1157 (Hamden, Archon Books, 1967), pp 47-64.

Leclercq, Jean, "John of Gorze and the Religious Life in the Tenth Century" in Aspects of Monasticism, trans Mary Dodd, CS-7, 1978, pp 227-250.

Hunt, Noreen, "Cluniac Monasticism" in Cluniac Monasticism in the Central Middle Ages, ed. Noreen Hunt, pp 1-10.

Hallinger, Kassius, "The Spiritual Life of Cluny in the Early Days" in Cluniac Monasticism, pp 29-55.

Morghen, Raffaello, "Monastic Reform and Cluniac Spirituality" in Cluniac Monasticism, pp 11-28.

Hourlier, Jacques, "St Odilo's Monastery" in Cluniac Monasticism, pp 56-76.

Mundo, Anscari, "Monastic Movements in the East Pyrenees" in Cluniac Monasticism, pp 98-122.

Rosenwein, Barbara H. Rhinoceros Bound: Cluny in the Tenth Century. Philadelphia, U of Penn Press, 1982.


For Discussion:

What needs, or decays, in monastic life were the 10th century reforms addressing?

How did the Lotharingian reforms differ from one another? From Cluny?

What established elements in the monastic tradition did the reformers draw on?

List the innovations made by Cluny.  Which were most significant?

What were the principal features of feudalism? How was monastic life in the 10th century affected by the political events and structures of the time?




9. Review / Monastic Women


Suggested Reading for Review

Knowles, Christian Monasticism, pp 9-61.


Recommended Readings on Monastic Women

Skinner, Mary, "Benedictine Life for Women in Central France, 850-1100: A Feminist Revival" in Distant Echoes: Medieval Religious Women, Vol. I, ed John A Nichols & Lillian Thomas Shank; CS-71, 1984, pp 87-113.

Schulenberg, Jane Tibbetts, "Women's Monastic Communities, 500-1100: Patterns of Expansion and Decline," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 14 (1989), 261-292.

[Possibly add King, ch 8, “Religious Women in the High Middle Ages,” 1st part, pp 195-204]




1. Pick one of the following monastic practices:  1) prayer ; 2) fasting & ascesis; 3) vigils; 4) poverty & simplicity; 5) lectio divina; 6) separation from the world; 7) solitude; 8) manual work; 9) pastoral activities.  Trace how it was practiced by or in:  Origen; Antony; Pachomius; Skete; Syria; Basil; Palestine; Gaul; the Rule of Benedict; Ireland; Anglo-Saxon England; the reform of Benedict of Aniane; Cluny.  Just a brief sketch of each, please - nothing long! (OK to skip one or two of the places/people if you can't find anything about that practice).


2.  For each of the following people, please give their

1) approximate date

2) country (if the person lived in more than 1 country, mention the one(s) most important for their influence on monasticism)

3) monastery (if he/she was associated with a particular monastery; please note if he/she was founder)

4) if an author, describe or name the title of one of his/her works important for monasticism

5) if he wrote a rule, please say so; if related to/ associated with some other important person, you could mention whom.

 e.g.:  Palladius:  ca 400; Egypt; -----; Lausiac History; (Origenist)




Benedict of Nursia



Caesarius of Arles












John of Gorze


Macarius the Great

Macrina the Younger

Martin of Tours

Melania the Elder



Paula the Elder





10. 11th Century Reforms


Required Reading

J Gaudement, "Gregorian Reform" in New Catholic Encyclopedia Vol 6  pp 761-765.

Lackner, Eleventh Century Background, pp 131-216.

[Possibly add King, ch 6, “Monasticism in an Age of Reform” (pp 131-158) and beginning of ch 7, “White Monks, Black Monks,” pp 159- top of 168]


Additional Reading

Tellenbach, Gerd. Church, State and Christian Society at the Time of the Investiture Contest, especially Ch IV and the Epilogue

Johnson, History of Christianity pp 191-212


For class discussion

1. What institutions did the Gregorian reform affect?

2. How did the Gregorian reform differ from Vatican II? What do they have in common?

3. What was the relationship between the Gregorian reform and developements in 11th century monasticism? how does this relationship compare with the relationship between Vatican II and the subsequent renewal of religious life in our times?

4. What did the 11th century monastic reforms have in common? What elements of monasticism did they stress?

5. What did these monastic movements have in common with:

a. early Egyptian (desert) monasticism?

b. Celtic monasticism?

c. Benedict of Aniane's? reform

d. the 10th century reforms?

How did they differ?

6. What was the relationship of 11th century monasticism to the Rule of Benedict?

7. What were the spiritual characteristics of 11th century monasticism? What drew people to monastic life?



11. Molesme to Citeaux


Reading for class

Lackner, "Molesme, the Home of Citeaux" in Eleventh Century, pp 217-273.

Lekai, The Cistercians, ch. 1 & 2 (pp 1-20).


Further reading

fiche 13 (covers the same ground as Lackner).

#Lenssen, S. "Saint Robert, fondateur de  Cîteaux," COCR 4 (1937), 2-16, 81-96, 161-177, 241-253.  ET: Sr Kathleen Lyzotte & Sr Carol Dvorak, private circulation (in blue folder)

#Baker, Derek, "Crossroads and Crises in the Religious Life of the Later Eleventh Century" in The Church in Town and countryside, Studies in Church History 16, ed Derek Baker, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1979, 137-148. Primarily on the founding of Citeaux, not very sympathetic.


For discussion

In what respects was Molesme "successful" and to what can its successes be attributed?

What caused the tensions anc conflicts within the community of Molesme?  What part did Robert play in them?

How did the opposing parties at Molesme interpret the Rule? How do their interpretations compare with ours? What aspects of the Rule most appealed to the reforming party?

What was the effect on Molesme of originating from a group of hermits (Collan)?

How would you asses Robert as an abbot? To what extent can he be called the founder of Citeaux?



12. Citeaux: Alberic & Stephen



fiches 14-20

Van Damme, Jean-Baptiste. "Note on Stephen Harding" (see H of O folder)



Please write about one page on one of the following.  Please each pick a different one, and we'll also discuss those you pick in class, and if time permits, one of the others.

1. What difficulties did Citeaux face in its early years, and how did it meet them?

2. What advantages did it enjoy?

3. What were Alberic's most significant achievements?

4. Why did the founders wish to break feudal ties/ How successful were they? Is there anything comparable in our own situation?

5. How did the institution of the lay brothers arise? At Citeaux, what distinguished them from the monks?

6. Which aspects of the Rule was the New Monastery most concerned to recapture, and how did it set about this?


Further reading

Leclercq, Jean. "Profession according to the Rule of St Benedict," CSQ 5 (1970) 252-275.

Lekai, Louis. "The Rule and the Early Cistercians," CSQ 5 (1970) 243-251.



       13. The Foundational Documents



fiches 22-27 & 29 (fiche 22 especially)

Exordium Cistercii/ Summa Carta Caritatis & Capitula

Exordium Parvum

Carta Caritatis Posterior

(the above can be found in Lekai, pp 442-466)


Reflection Questions

Since questions regarding the exact history and authorship of these documents are not resolved, the following questions relate only to the content of the documents independent of their history, authorship or literary relationship to one another.

1. Compare the Exordium Cistercii with the Exordium Parvum.  What are the most obvious differences?

2. Besides the founding monks, who were the people involved in the foundation and early developement of Citeaux, what were their roles in society, and what were their roles in regard to Citeaux?

3. What was the significance of the Roman Privilege, and why did the monks of New Monastery seek it? (fiche 15, p.3)

4. Compare the Summa Cartae Caritatis  (p 445-450) with the Carta Caritatis Posterior (p 461-466). What does the Summa CC deal with which the CC Posterior largely omits?  What element of the Summa CC does the CC Posterior develop at greater length?

5. What are the principal monastic practices and spiritual values emphasized by these early documents?  How do these compare with earlier forms of monasticism?

6. What did the Cistercian reform have in common with the 11th century reforms in general? In what respects did it differ?

7. Examine #X - XXVI of the Summa CC. For each of these little chapters, what problem in contemporary monasticism was it addressing?

8. Compare the organization of the Cistercian monasteries (i.e., of the Order) with that of the earlier forms of monasticism, and with the political models of organization the founders would have been familiar with (e.g. Roman empire, Anglo-Saxon England, Norman England, feudal France).

9. What was the principal aim of these documents?

10. Is our contemporary Cistercian life faithful to the aims of the early Cistercians as stated in thes documents? Where does it differ? In what aspects of our life is the original vision evident? Where is it lacking?     



#Narrative and Legislative Texts from Early Citeaux: An Edition, Translation, and commentary. Ed C Waddell. Citeaux, commentarii cistercienses, vol VIII, 1999. New critical eds of ExCist, Summa CC, Capitula, EP, CC, Instituta, etc., with ET and notes.

Altermatt, Alberic, O Cist. "The Cistercian Patrimony: Introduction to the Most Important Historical, Juridical and Spiritual Documents" CSQ 25 (1990) 287-328.  A goldmine, with bibliography, lists of authors etc.

Goodrich, W Eugene. "Caritas and Cistercian Uniformity: An Ideological Connection?" CSQ 20 (1985) 32-43.

Waddell, C. "The Exordium Cistercii, Lucan, and Mother Poverty," Cîteaux 33 (1982) 279-388. Rvw JMM, CSQ 20 (1985) [763-4].






Lekai, The Cistercians, ch. 3, pp 21-32.

Leclercq, Jean, "The Intentions of the Founders of the Cistercian Order," in M Basil Pennington [ed.] The Cistercian Spirit: A Symposium: In Memory of Thomas Merton (CS-3, 1970) 88-133. Also in CSQ 4 (1969) 21-61.

Leclercq, Jean. "Saint Bernard and the Beginnings of the Cistercian Order, CSQ 29 (1994), pp 379-393.

McGuire, B.P. **"Who Founded the Order of Cîteaux?" Joy of Learning and the Love of God: Essays in Honor of Jean Leclercq (CS-160, 1995),  389-413.


Further reading

Roberts, Augustine, "The Developmental Dynamics of the Cistercian Reform," in M Basil Pennington [ed.] The Cistercian Spirit: A Symposium: In Memory of Thomas Merton (CS-3), pp 66-87.

McGuire, Brian Patrick. "The Meaning of Cistercian Spirituality: Thoughts for Citeaux's Nine-Hundredth Anniversary," CSQ 30 (1995) 91-110.

Bouyer, Louis, "The Origins of Cistercian Spirituality," ch.1 of The Cistercian Heritage (La Spiritualité de Cîteaux, Flammarion et Cie, 1955 tr E Livingstone, Westminster MD, Newman Press, 1958) 1-14.

Diemer, Paul, "The Witness of the Early English Cistercians to the Spirit and Aims of the Founders of the Order of Cîteaux," in M Basil Pennington [ed.] The Cistercian Spirit: A Symposium: In Memory of Thomas Merton (CS-3, 1970) 144-165.

Pennington, M Basil. "Towards Discerning the Spirit and Aims of the Founders of the Order of Cîteaux" in The Cistercian Spirit: A Symposium in Memory of Thomas Merton (ed M Basil Pennington, CS-3, 1970) 1-16.

Place, François de, "Pour une meilleure connaissance des origines de Cîteaux: à l'école de nos premiers pères," COCR 48 (1986), pp 181-199.


Questions for discussion

1. What distinguished the Cistercian reform from other contemporary reforms?

2. What was at the root of the call for strict observance of the Rule?

3. Why did the Cistercians consider observances so crucial?

4. What lay behind the drive for uniformity? What was the result?

5. Why does Dom Bernardo claim our charism is to be "cenobites in the desert" rather than "hermits in community"?

6. What concrete steps did the Cistercians take to produce and environment of separation from the world and from temporal cares?

7. What shape did poverty take for the early Cistercians?

8. Who founded the order of Citeaux?



15 Bernard of Clairvaux


Jedin, Vol IV, 18-22

Leclercq, Jean,  Bernard of Clairvaux and the Cistercian Spirit, tr Claire Lavoie (CS-16, 1976) pp 12-70.

Vita Prima Bernardi by William of St Thierry, Arnold of Bonnevaux, Geoffrey & Philip of Clairvaux, and Odo of Deuil.  ET:  #St Bernard of Clairvaux, trans Geoffrey Webb & Adrian Walker. Westminster MD, Newman Press, 1960.  Read pp 44-80, 85-88.

[Possibly add King, ch 7, “White Monks, Black Monks,” pp 173-193]



Ward, Sr Benedicta SLG. "Apophthegmata Bernardi: Some Aspects of St Bernard of Clairvaux" in The Influence of Saint Bernard: Anglican Essays ed. Sr Benedicta Ward (Fairacres, Oxford, SLG Press, 1976), 135-142. A few excerpts from Herbert of Clairvaux's De Miraculis and Conrad of Eberbach's Exordium Magnum Cisterciense.


Further reading

Knowles, David. "St Bernard of Clairvaux: 1909-1153,"  The Historian and Character, Ch 3, pp 31-49.  Cambridge, Cambridge U P, 1963.

Bouyer, Louis, "St Bernard: An Outstanding Monastic Figure" ch 2 of The Cistercian Heritage (La Spiritualité de Cîteaux, Flammarion et Cie, 1955) tr E Livingstone, Westminster MD, Newman Press, 1958, 15-40.

McGuire, Brian P. The Difficult Saint: Bernard of Clairvaux and His Tradition (CS-126, 1991).  See especially ch.1, "Th Difficult Saint: Bernard as a Person."  Also ch.2, "Was Bernard a Friend?", ch.3, "Intimacy or Confraternity: Bernard and Malachy Reconsidered", ch. 4, "Friendship and Confraternity: Bernard and Eskil"; ch. 6, "The First Cistercian Renewal and a Changing Image of Saint Bernard" (also in CSQ 24, 1989, 25-49), and ch.8, "Bernard and the Embrace of Christ: Renewal in Late Medieval Monastic Life and Devotion" (on B's influence on medieval piety).



For discussion

1. What aspects of Bernard's life and character does William (Vita Prima ch 1-18) find most admirable?

2. What were Bernard's deficiences as abbot? How did he deal with them?

3. What was Bernard's effect on the Order? What is his enduring legacy?

4. Why were so many people attracted to Bernard?

5. What was the source(s) of Bernard's authority in the Church and society of his time?

6. What are the major differences between descriptions of Bernard by contemporary Cistercians and descriptions by modern authors? Please note the areas of: personality; spirituality; influence; accomplishments.

7. Why was Bernard such an ardent recruiter of monks to Clairvaux?

8. How would you characterize Bernard as monk? As abbot? In what ways was his expression of his unique vocation conditioned by the needs and possibilities present in 12th century Europe?



16. Elements of Early Cistercian Life



Jedin Vol IV, 12-16.

fiches 30-36, 40-43



Please bring one or two questions or discussion points to class, things that interested you from the reading that you would like to comment on or to invite discussion or input from the rest of us.


Some possible questions (on fiches 34-36)

1. How did the early Cistercians obtain the property for new monasteries, and how does this differ from the way we acquire new property today?

2. What characteristics did the early Cistercians particularly favor in a site for either a new monastery or a transfer? What do we look for now? Consider the situation in various countries besides our own.

3. How does the list of 12th century "regular places" (fiche 35, near end of 1st paragraph) differ from that of the late 20th century?

4. Why did Cistercian churches face east? Whence did they derive that practice, and what consequences did it have?

5. What is the moast obvious difference between the 12th and the 20th centuries in the process of construction Cistercian buildings? How do you account for this difference?

6. What are the main differences between the early horarium and our present one(s)? What are some important similarities?



17 Cistercian Authors: 12th century



Since I will be on retreat, the class is in your hands!  Please would each of you report on a few of the major figures.  One person to take William; one to do Aelred; one to do Guerric & Isaac of Stella.  It would be good if you could each cover one more of the minor figures, esp Gilbert of Hoyland, John of Ford, Baldwin of Ford, & Otto of Freising. Leave Joachim of Fiore for later.


Alan of Lille

Amadeus of Hauterive  d.1150

Amadeus of Lausanne  1110-1159

Baldwin of Ford  d. 1163

Burchard of Bellevaux  d.1163

Fastred, abbot of Citeaux 1162-3

Geoffrey of Auxerre (or of Clairvaux)  d.1188

Gilbert of Hoyland  d.1172

Gilbert of Orval

Gilbert of Stanford  fl.ca.1200 (Cistercian or Benedictine)

Hamon of Savigny

Henry of Marcy  d.1189

Herbert of Mores  d.1180

Hildebrand of ?Himmerod

Hugh of Pontigny  d.1151

Longulus (or Longuel)  late 12th c

Nicolas of Clairvaux  d.1180

Noel of Theuley

Odo of Morimond  d.1161

Odo of Ourscamp  d.1172

Otto of Friesing  d.1158

Peter II of Tarentaise  d.1174

Roger of Byland or of Ford

Serlo of Savigny  d.1158

Thibaud of Marly  d.1190

Thomas of Citeaux or Vaucelles or Clairvaux or Perseigne  d.1190

Walter Daniel  d.1170

William of Auberive

Yterus of Waschey  late 12th c



18. Liturgy



Lekai, ch.18

Waddell, Chrysogonus OCSO. "The Early Cistercian Experience of Liturgy" in Rule and Life: An Interdisciplinary Symposium, ed M BAsil Pennington OCSO (CS-12, 1971) 77-116.

Lackner, Bede. "The Liturgy of Early Cîteaux," Studies in Medieval Cistercian History I, 1-34

fiches [18, already read], 21 & 37.



Waddell, Chrysogonus OCSO. "The Place and Meaning of the Work of God in Twelfth-Century Cistercian Life" CSQ 23 (1988) 25-44. Rich on details of daily life, for both choir monks and lay brothers.

Waddell, C. "A Monk's Christmas Carol: Christmas at Marmoutier and at Citeaux: 24-25 December, 1113," Liturgy 23/1 (1989) 47-103.

Dubois, Marie-Gerard. " The Cistercian Liturgy," Liturgy 26/2 (1992) 3-22. A historical survey (on the order of the chapter in Lekai).

Further Reading

Waddell, Chrysogonus OCSO. "The Pre-Cistercian Background of Cîteaux and the Cistercian Liturgy," Goad and Nail, 109-132.

Waddell, C. "From the Sins of My Youth: An Essay With the Title 'An Aspect of the Chant Reform Called "Bernardine"'," Liturgy 6/1 (1972) 81-95.

Waddell, C. "The Origin and Early Evolution of the Cistercian Antiphonary: Reflections on Two Cistercian Chant Reforms" in M Basil Pennington [ed.] The Cistercian Spirit: A Symposium: In Memory of Thomas Merton (CS-3, 1970) 190-223. Rather technical.


Primary Sources

Stephen Harding, Monitum on the Hymnal

 #Waddell, Chrysogonus OCSO, ed. The Twelfth-Century Cistercian Hymnal. CL-1, 1984, Vol II, p 12. Latin text only. Commentary in Vol I, 18-22.

#ET Basil Pennington, CSQ 4 (1969) 143-5.

St Bernard, #Prologue to the Cistercian Antiphonary, tr & intro Chrysogonus Waddell, in The Works of Bernard of Clairvaux, Vol I, Treatises I, CR-1, 1970.


Discussion Questions

1. Why was the Cistercian liturgy reformed in the late 1140's? Was the effect of this reform detrimental to the fundamentals of Cistercian reform?

2. What details of early Cistercian liturgy do we retain? Can you determine at what points in time various elements of our present liturgical practice were adopted by the Order?

3. What details of Cistercian liturgy have been particularly effective means of incarnating the value of simplicity?

4. What was disctictive of Cistercian liturgy?

5. What features of the Cistercian liturgy were foreign to the Rule of Benedict? How did the Rule concretely affect Cistercian liturgy?

6. What are the primary sources of information we have on the 12th century Cistercian liturgy?

7. What lay behind the concern for liturgical uniformity?



19. Crusades & Missions

Organizational Developments



Organizational Developments:

Lekai ch VI

fiches 45, 46, 49, 52

Crusades & Missions

Lekai ch V

fiches 51, 66, 67

Renna, Thomas, "Early Cistercian Attitudes Toward War in Historical Perspective," Cîteaux 31 (1980) 119-129. (Excellent)


Further reading

Brundage, James A. "A Transformed Angel (X.3.31.18): The Problem of the Crusading Monk" in SMCH I, 55-62.

Flood, Bernard. "St Bernard's View of Crusade," CSQ 9 (1974) 22-35.

*Newman, Martha G. The Boundaries of Chaity: Cistercian Culture and Ecclesiastical Reform, 1098-1180. Stanford, Stanford UP, 1996. Discusses relations with the world, involvement in Crusades, heresy controversies, schisms, Becket controversy etc.

O'Callaghan, Joseph. "The Order of Calatrava and the Archbishop of Toledo," SMCH I, 63-87.

Sr Isabel Mary SLG. "The Knights of God: Citeaux and the Quest of the Holy Grail" in The Influence of Saint Bernard: Anglican Essays ed. Sr Benedicta Ward (Fairacres, Oxford, SLG Press, 1976), 53-88.  More on the Holy Grail than on Citeaux.

Spence, Richard. "Gunther of Pairis and the Men of God," SMCH III, 262-279.  Gunther, a Cistercian, wrote a history of the 4th Crusade.


For class discussion

1. What was at the root of the conflict between Citeaux and Clairvaux?

2. What offices in the Order which evolved in the 12th & 13th century remain to this day? What was their original function, and what is their function now?

3. What were some developments in the 12th and 13th century which the Charter of Charity had neither anticipated nor provided for?

4. How did the early Cistercian Constitutions differ from our present one?

5. What were the advantages & disadvantages of the good relations of the Cistercians to the Papacy? How does this relationship differ from ours in 1997?

6. Why was St Bernard so opposed to exemption? Why did the Order nevertheless continue to gain ever greater independence from local authorities? Was this development inevitable?

7. What were the most significant papal bulls and what effect did they have?

8. How did the Cistercian Crusaders and missionaries interpret their activity theologically? Why did the Order become involved in these activities? Can you think of any 20th century parallels?

            9. What was the purpose of the military Orders? In what sense were they members of the monastic family?



20. Cistercian Art & Architecture



fiches 39 & 55

Simson, Otto von. The Gothic Cathedral, 3rd ed., pp 39-50 & 55-58.

Stalley, The Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland: An Account of the History, Art and Architecture of the White Monks in Ireland from 1142 to 1540; pp 2-3, 7-10 (top), 41-47, 77-79.

Lekai, chapter 19. Please note his plan of a Cistercian monastery

Knowles, Christian Monasticism, ch. 7, "Monastic Buildings"



Perhaps even more important than the reading is seeing examples of Cistercian art and above all architecture. The following sources have lots of gorgeous pictures. Please spend some contemplative time with them, placing yourself in those chapels, chapter rooms, cloisters etc and letting yourself experience what it would be like to live and work and pray in such an environment.

Dimier, Anselme & Jean Porcher. L'Art Cistercien: France. 3rd ed. Zodiaque, 1982.

Senanque Abbey

L'esprit de Citeaux

Brooke, Christopher. The Monastic World: 1000-1300, photos Wim Swaan. New York, Random House, 1974. Ch 9, "The Cistercians," pp 135-162; ch 11, "On abbesses and prioresses," 167-180; pp 172 bottom - 178, pictures & text on Cistercians.

Lekai also has two sets of pictures, following pages 148 and 308; they are blurrier and generally not such superb photographs as in the above books, but still worth seeing.


For Fun and Edification (literally)

The Atlas of Medieval Europe has a good 2-page inset on "Cathedral Building" (pp 166-7) with excellent drawings and descriptions.


Further Reading

#Kinder, Terryl N. "As Above, So Below: Architecture and Archeology at Villers-la-Grange at Pontigny" in The Joy of Learning and the Love of God: Essays in Honor of Jean Leclercq. (CS-160, 1995) 157-177.

#La Corte, Daniel M. "Flawed Portrayals of Bernard of Clairvaux's Attitude Towards Art," CSQ 29 (1994) 451-470.


Class will be mostly presentation (by Kathleen), rather than discussion; but I would like to hear your reactions to what you have gazed into and read.



21. Cistercian Nuns


Reading is from Hidden Springs, Vol 1, first section, the articles by:



Degler-Spengler, pp 85-107 only.

[Possibly add King, ch 8, “Religious Women in the High Middle Ages,” section bottom of p 204 – middle of p 224]


In addition, each of us will take 1 country for which we have sources with specific information about the nuns, and read and share our findings in class.



#Conner, Elizabeth OCSO. "Ten Centuries of Growth: The Cistercian Abbey of Soleilmont," Distant Echoes, 251-267.

#De Ganck, Roger OCSO. "The Cistercian Nuns of Belgium in the Thirteenth Century," CSQ 5 (1970) 169-187.

#De Ganck, Roger. "The Integration of Nuns in the Cistercian Order, Particularly in Belgium," Cîteaux 35 (1984) 235-247. Rvw EC, CSQ 23 (1988) [188-9].

#Moor, Geertruida de. "Laybrothers and Laysisters in Frisia and Holland: circa 1300 - circa 1600" CSQ 27 (1992) 329-340.



#Degler-Spengler, Brigitte. "The Incorporation of Cistercian Nuns Into the Order in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Century," HS, 85-134; pp 105-120, focus on Switzerland.



#Kuhn-Rufus, Maren. "Cistercian Nuns in Germany In the Thirteenth Century: Upper-Swabian Cistercian Abbeys Under the Paternity of Salem," HS, 135-158.

#Heutger, Nicolas. "Notes on Cistercian Architectural Remains and Daily Life in Lower Saxony," SMCH X, 148-150.



#Lackner, Bede OCist. "Cistercian Nuns in Medieval Hungary," HS, 159-170.



Elkins, Sharon. "Nunneries founded by Monks in Twelfth Century England," SMCH VII, 71-80.

Nichols, J A. "Medieval Cistercian Nunneries and English Bishops," Distant Echoes 237-249.

Nichols, J A. "Cistercian Nuns in Twelfth and Thirteenth-Century England," HS 49-62.



Carville, Geraldine. "Cistercian Nuns in Medieval Ireland: Plary Abbey, Ballymore, County Westmeath," HS, 63-84.



22. The 13th Century & Cistercian Studies



Lekai, ch. 7, "The Challenge of Scholasticism" pp 77-90

Lekai, ch 17, "Spirituality and Learning" pp 227-247.

Fiches 53-54, 56-58.


Discussion Questions

1. What were the advantages of having Cistercian colleges? The disadvantages? What provisions were made for the nuns?

2. What is meant by the "Bernardine school of spirituality"? What are its characteristics?

3. What areas of learning have been the subjects of books by important Cistercian authors?

From what countries have the most Cistercian authors come?

4. How did the early Cistercians regard learning? Did the increased emphasis on intellectual formation in the later Middle Ages contribute to the decline of fervor, or was it a result of that decline, or did they simply happen to coincide? Or was this emphasis merely a necessary form of "aggiornamento"?

5. How has the Order's attitude to learning changed over the centuries? How does it differ from that of other religious?

6. Why did Stephen of Lexington proceed as he did in establishing the College of St Bernard? Why did the Order resist the College at first? Why did the attitude change so radically?

7. What role did monastic libraries in the Middle Ages fill for the monastic community? For the world at large? What role do they play today?



23. The 13th Century: The Nuns, and Daily Life


Reading & listening

fiches 59-60 (on the nuns)

fiches 61-63 (on labor)

Fr Chrysogonus, tape on "A Day in the Life of a Savignac Nun". This can also be found in written form in CSQ 24 (1991) 134-151, but the tape is delightful.

Lekai, ch 23, Daily Life

Fr Martinus Cawley, Lives of Ida of Nivelles, Lutgard, & Alice:

from the General Introduction: pp ii, iii, & vi.

Life of Ida of Nivelles, chapters 1-5 (pp 3-18).

NB: In reading hagiography, it is good to keep in mind that the writer is always appelaing to values which he knows his readers will also appreciate. Try to note when anything in the hagiogrpahy strikes you as distasteful, and why. Why might the section have appealed to the religious sensibilities of another era?

[Possibly add King, ch 8, “Religious Women in the High Middle Ages,” pp 245 middle – 228]




Reflection Questions

1. How faithful was Les Blanches to the original Cistercian reform?

2. Which elements of the life was Stephen anxious to reform? Why? Why were his directives so detailed and concrete?

3. What was the economic status of the community?

4. Do you agree with the connection Fr C makes between private ownership and fraternal charity?

5. What is the principal aim of Ida's biographer?

6. In Chapter 1A, what is the point of showing Ida's early sanctity? Her withdrawal from at least some of her peers?

7. What virtues are attributed to Ida in Chapter 1B? Why did Ida dress in "old and ragged clothing"? Can you imagine any value in doing such a thing nowadays?

8. What characteristics of contemplation are described in chapter 2? Do you agree with what is said about outer stillness?

9. What does chapter 3 tell us about the 13th century understanding of, and devotion to, the Eucharist?

10. Does Ida's experience in chapter 4A remind you of any experiences of your own?

11. What do chapters 4B and 5 reveal about the 13th century attitude to sin, purgatory, forgiveness?

12. What does the author understand by conversatio? What is the author's attitude to intercessory prayer?



24. Economy



Times Atlas, 120-121 & 140 map 2.

Lekai, ch 20, "Economy," pp 282-333.

R W Southern, "The Cistercians," in Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages pp 250-272; also read to the top of 273.

Berman, Constance H. "The Economic Practices of Cistercian Women's Communities: A Preliminary Look" in Studiosorum Speculum: Studies in Honor of Louis J Lekai, O.Cist, ed. Francis R Swietek & John R Sommerfeldt (CS-141, 1993), 15-32.


Discussion Questions. Please answer one of questions 1-8, plus question 9, in writing.

1. Which feudal institutions did the first Cistercians refuse to have anything to do with, and why? Which of these did they subsequently accept, and why? What were the effects of this acceptance of feudal structures? Was the eventual acceptance of feudal institutions inevitable, or not? Can you think of any alternatives?

2. Were Cistercian monasteries on the whole wealthy or poor? What were the main causes of wealth in Cistercian houses? of poverty?

3. What were the principal industries in which Cistercians engaged? How were they regulated so as to preserve poverty? enclosure?

4. Was it right for the Cistercians to follow St Benedict's injunction to sell their wares more cheaply than other merchants did? What effect did this have on other merchants? on the monks?

5. Why were the Cistercians often on the cutting edge of new technology? In what ways was this good for monastic life? In what ways bad?

6. Do you find anything in the history of Cistercian economy particularly scandalous? Surprising? Edifying?

7. What attempts were made to reform the Cistercian economy in order to safeguard monastic life? In what ways were these reforms successful? In what ways did they fail?

8. What makes it difficult to maintain monastic poverty? Is it more difficult to establish it in the first place, or to become more poor later on? Why?

9. Relate the above question(s) to our contemporary situation and institutions, as an Order and as a community.

10. Southern has a respect for religion and spiritual values, but clearly underestimates the importance of religious motivation. In his section on the Cistercians, where is this lack especially manifest? Why does he so often use the word "aggressive" in relation to our Order? Is it an apt description?

11. On pp 250-251 Southern describes some striking differences between the canons and the Cistercians. Elaborate on these differences - explain them, and give examples.

12. The Cistercians were accused of greed by many contemporaries, because of their great wealth. Southern finds a very different reason than greed for the growing wealth of Cistercian monasteries. What is his reason? What does he see as the main reason the Cistercians soon deviated from their original ideal?

13. What does Southern see as the principal characteristics of the Cistercian charism? Do you agree, or would you add to or subtract from his picture? How did these characteristics relate to 12th century society? to later medieval society?

14. How did the economy of nuns' houses differ from that of the monks? What effect might this have had on the nuns' life? How does this compare with our situation in the 20th century?


Further reading:

#Berman, Constance H. "The Foundation and Early History of the Monastery of Silvanès: The Economic Reality," SMCH III, 280-318.

#Berman, Constance H. "The Development of Cistercian Economic Practice During the Lifetime of Bernard of Clairvaux: The Historical Perspective and Innocent II's 1132 Privilege" in John R Sommerfeldt [ed], Bernardus Magister: Papers Presented at the Nonacentenary Celebration of the Birth of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (CS-135, 1992) 303-313.

#Bouchard, Constance. "Twelfth Century Burgundy: The Great Unknown?" in Studiosorum Speculum: Studies in Honor of Louis J Lekai, O.Cist, ed. Francis R Swietek & John R Sommerfeldt (CS-141, 1993) 33-51.

#Gallagher, Peter. "Conditions of Land Tenure and their Religious Implications at Twelfth Century Mortemer," SMCH II, 106-122.

#Jaritz, Gerhard. "The Standard of Living in German and Austrian Cistercian Monasteries of the Late Middle Ages," SMCH X, 56-70.

#King, Peter. The Finances of the Cistercian Order in the Fourteenth Century. CS-85, 1985. Rvw Paschal Phillips, CSQ 23 (1988) [199-201].

#McCrank, Lawrence J. "The Economic Administration of a Monastic Domain by the Cistercians of Poblet, 1150-1276," SMCH II, 135-165.

#Sullivan, L M. "Workers, Policy-makers and Labor Ideals in Cistercian Legislation," Citeaux 40 (1989) 175-198.

#Williams, David H. "The White Monks in Powys," Part I, CSQ 11 (1976) 73-101; Part II, 155-191. Pp 87-99 & 182-191 are on economics.



25. Cistercians and the World



fiches 64-65

Lekai, ch 21, "Lay-Brotherhood," pp 334-346.

Lekai, ch 24, "Monks and Society," pp 378-399.

Knowles, Christian Monasticism, ch 6, "The monastic conquest," pp 83-97.

Greenia, Conrad. "Cistercian Laybrothers in the Twelfth and Twentieth Centuries" CSQ 27 (1992) 341-352.

Moor, Geertruida de. "Laybrothers and Laysisters in Frisia and Holland: circa 1300 - circa 1600" CSQ 27 (1992) 329-340.


Discussion questions

1. What social or economic needs did the lay brotherhood meet? How do we meet similar needs today, and in what respects do our needs differ?

2. Were the lay brothers monks? What other classes of individuals were associated with Cistercian monasteries without being full-fledged choir monks? What needs did these institutions fill? In our own time, what needs are there for formal association with a monastic community which falls short of full membership?

3. What were the principal activities in which Cistercians interacted with society? How did these activities change during the first centuries? What do you see as the main differences between the interactions between monks and society in the early Cistercian centuries and the interaction we have with society now?

4. In what ways have our monasteries served society? How has this affected monastic life? What service do we give the Church today?

5. What are some of  David Knowles's most significant insights regarding the Cistercian order? How does his view of the Cistercian spirit differ from that of Southern? of Lekai?

6. What poor come to our doors today?


Further reading

Dubois, Jacques. "The Laybrothers' Life in the Twelfth Century: A Form of Lay Monasticism" CSQ 7 (1972) 161-213.

Greenia, Conrad. "The Laybrother Vocation in the eleventh and twelfth centuries" CSQ 16 (1981) 38-45. Mainly on 11th c.

**Lescher, Bruce CSC. "Laybrothers: Questions Then, Questions Now," CSQ 23 (1988) 63-85. Good history.

*Newman, Martha G. The Boundaries of Chaity: Cistercian Culture and Ecclesiastical Reform, 1098-1180. Stanford, Stanford UP, 1996. See esp pp 101-106.



26. The Late Middle Ages



Background: New Penguin Atlas, p 84 & p 90 (good on the Black Death)

Knowles, ch 8, "Monastic summer and autumn," 108-123. Good background material.

fiches 72-77.

Lekai, ch 8, "The End of Prosperity," 91-108.

Schimmelpfennig, Bernhard. "The Papacy and the Reform of the Cistercian Order in the Late Middle Ages," Studiosorum Speculum: Studies in Honor of Louis J Lekai, O.Cist, ed. Francis R Swietek & John R Sommerfeldt (CS-141, 1993), 337-354.

It would be good to read Knowles first for general background of the beginning of the decline of Western monasticism, then to read Lekai & the fiches.

[Possibly add King, ch 9, “Decay and Renewal”, either pp 227-248 or 227-240 top, and pp 260-266 top; or possibly read some of this for class #28]


Further reading:

Lekai, Louis, O Cist. "The Cistercian College of Saint Bernard in Paris in the Fifteenth Century," CSQ 6 (1972), 172-9.

Telesca, William J. "Jean de Circy and the Question of an Abbot General in the Order of Citeaux in the Fifteenth Century," SMCH II, 186-207. [looks good]

Telesca, William J. "The Cistercian Abbey in Fifteenth-Century France: a Victim of Competing Jurisdictions of Sovereignty, Suzerainty, and Primacy," SMCH IV, 38-58.

Telesca, William J. "The Cistercian Dilemma at the Close of the Middle Ages: Gallicanism or Rome," SMCH I, 163-185.


Discussion Questions

1. What does Knowles see as the causes of monastic decline in the 13th century? in the 14th and 15th?  When did decline begin for monasticism in general? for the Cistercians in particular?

2. What does Lekai see as the underlying cause of the Cistercian decline? How does this compare with Knowles' opinions?

3. Which political events had the greatest impact on Cistercian life, and how? Why were the nuns more affected by wars than the monks?

4.Which aspects of monastic life were most adversely affected by the events of the 14th & 15th centuries? In what way is "decline" evident?

5. What were the benefits and drawbacks of the commendatory system? Why was it so difficult to control its abuses? What were the long-range effects?

6. What does the appearance of paid, professional, non-monastic copyists beginning ca. 1200 reveal about the changes in medieval society? What effects did the invention of printing have on monasticism?

7. What attempts at reform were made during the late Middle Ages, and what did they achieve?

8. What impression do you have of the spiritual state of the Order in the 13th-14th centuries? How does it compare with primitive Citeaux? With the mid-12th century? With the late 20th century?



27. The Reform Movement (late 15th - 16th centuries)



Knowles, Christian Monasticism, pp 135-147 (ch.10 & part of ch.11)

Lekai, ch 9, "Reforms and the Reformation," pp 109-125.

Roberts, Augustine OCSO. "The Cistercian Nuns of Lima," Word and Spirit 11, 116-27

Diemer, Paul OCSO. "George Lazenby: Among the First of the Few," CSQ 20 (1985) 314-322.

Stalley, Roger. The Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland: An Account of the History, Art and Architecture of the White Monks in Rreland from 1142 to 1540, pp 23-29.

Kelly, Eileen PVBM. English Cistercian Nunneries: Dissolution or Disintegration? pp 90-100.


fiches 77-80

[Possibly add King, ch 10, “Catholic Monasticism Under the Counter Reformation” to p. 300, or parts of it. Good brief sections on the Feuillants, and on Port Royal.]



Fr Colmcille OCSO. The Story of Mellifont. Dublin, M H Gill & Son, 1958. The section on the dissolution.


For background:

Times Atlas, pp 182-3;

Hardy, James D, Jr. Prologue to Modernity: Early Modern Europe. Excellent on the political, economic, cultural, scientific & philosophical developments of the 16th - 18th centuries, if you ignore his rather cynical attitude vis-a-vis the Church.



Discussion questions

1. Compare the 15th century Cistercian reforms with monastic reform in general in the 15th century. How does the 15th century reform differ from earlier reform movements? What trends do you note in inter-monastic organization? On what did the 15th century liturgical reforms focus?

2. What persons or institutions initiated reforms in the 15th century? What contributions did the Cistercian General Chapter make toward reforms?

3. Compare these 3 important legislative documents in Cistercian history: the Clementina (Parvus Fons), the Benedictina (Fulgens sicut stella) [see ch 6 of Lekai] and the "Articles of Paris". What were the principle elements of each? What are the most obvious differences?

4. How did the effect of the Protestant Reformation on monastic life differ from country to country?

5. The Reformation dealt one of the severest blows to the Cistercian Order in our history. What other events before or since have been equally catastrophic? What kinds of catastrophes can you imagine in our time?

6. In what respects were the difficulties encountered by the community in Lima similar to difficulties experienced by Cistercian houses in Europe? What does this imply about the culture and society of the late 16th century? Were any of the difficulties particularly feminine in nature? How was the Cistercian tradition mediated to the community?

7. What was the condition of Cistercian life in the British Isles prior to the dissolution of the monasteries? How did the monks and nuns respond to the dissolution?



28. Congregations



Background (if desired): Times Atlas pp 150-1, 184-5.

Lekai, ch 10, "The Rise of congregations," pp 126-138.

Knowles, Christian Monasticism, pp 148-55.

fiches 79, 82, 83, 91.

Lekai, The Rise of the Strict Observance in France, ch 1, "Desolation and Recovery" pp 11-26.

[Possibly add King, see class #26]



Dumont, Charles. "Simplicity as a Principle of Reform in the Writings of Mere Louise de Ballon," HS, 575-597.

Waddell, Chrysogonus OCSO. "The 'Fire Nun' From Cortona: Veronica Laparelli 1537-1620," HS 551-573.


Discussion Questions

1. Compare the monastic reforms (both Benedictine and Cistercian) of the 16th and 17th century with earlier reforms.

2. What is the difference between a vicariate, a privonce, and a congregation? What do these have in common with the early Cistercian system of filiation, and where do they differ?

3. Why was the Cistercian General Chapter so opposed to the Castilian Congregation, apparently more than to other congregations?

4. Was the rise of congregations a good thing - for the individual monks? for the communities?for the Order? for the Church? for the world?

5. What caused the evolution of congregations? How did the rise of congregations mirror what was happening in western Europe in general?

6. In what respects do our modern "regions" within the Order resemble congregations? How are they unlike?

7. What do you suppose brought vocations to our monasteries during the centuries when they were in bad condition and suffering under commendatory abbesses & abbots?

8. What was the condition of monastic life in our French houses around 1600? What observances did the reforming chapters of the early 1600's focus on?

9. What did Louise de Ballon have in common with other reformers? What distinguished her from others?



29. The Rise of the Strict Observance



Knowles, ch 12, "The Cistercians, 1350-1800," pp 160-164.

Lekai, ch 11, "The War of Observances," pp 138-152.

fiches 84-90

[Possibly add King, ch 10, “Catholic Monasticism Under the Counter Reformation”, section pp 300-316.}


Assignment. Please pick one group of Cistercian figures and monasteries, and report briefly (verbally) on them in class. The two main sources to consult are:

King, Archdale A. Cîteaux and Her Elder Daughters.

Lekai, Louis, O Cist. The Rise of the Cistercian Strict Observance in Seventeenth Century France.  For the monasteries, see the Appendix.

1. Figures: the Boucherats: Nicolas I, Nicolas II, & Charles.  Monasteries: Citeaux, Stella (l'Etoile), Melleray

2. Figures: the Largentiers, Dennis & Claude; & Claude Vaussin.  Monasteries: Clairvaux, Savigny, Igny

3. Figures: Etienne (Stephen) Maugier; Jean Jouad; Octave Arnolfini.  Monasteries: Orval, la Charmoye, Chatillon.


Discussion Questions

1. In what ways did the reform which Octave Arnolfini began resemble earlier reforms within the Order? In what ways did it differ?

2. Why did the reform movement which eventually became the "Strice Observance" generate so much more controversy than the earlier movements?

3. Who were the most important people on the "pro-reform" ("Abstinent") side, who on the "Common Observance" ("Ancients") side, and what was their significance in the controversy? (This one just for reflection, not for class discussion, as we'll cover it in the reports).

4. Was the split between Common and Strict Observance inevitable? In what other ways than by division has the Order historically dealt with disagreements about observances?

5. Why did the reformers find it so difficult to compromise? Was this a result of a good zeal or of an evil zeal?

6. How did the difference in relationship between the Cistercians (or monks in general) and society in the 17th century from that in the 20th reveal itself in the events of the "War of Observances"?



30. Rancé and La Trappe (I)



Krailsheimer, A J. Rancé and the Trappist Legacy, pp 24-56, 71-102 (end of ch 2, and all of chapters 3, 4, 6 & 7).

Two Excerpts from de Rancé's Treatise on the Holiness and Duties of the Monastic Life, CSQ 8 (1973) 53-63.


Discussion Questions.

1. What can you identify with in Rancé's life, goals, and spirituality?

2. What was Rancé's attitude toward: obedience; humility; intellectual pursuits; silence; communal unity; death; health; enclosure? What abuses was he attempting to correct in these areas? How do they reveal the influence of the Desert Fathers? Of John Climacus? of Benedict? of the Cistercian Fathers? What traces of these attitudes do you find in our life today?

3. Why was Rancé so opposed to mitigations or exceptions?

4. What controversies was Rancé involved in, and why?

5. Krailsheimer writes (p 75): "Monks & nuns have been called to a total self-sacrifice and every aspect of their lives must be a means to that end." How did this goal influence the following areas of life at La Trappe: enclosure (including all contacts with the outside world); study; lectio divina; silence; liturgy; diet; manual labor?

6. What are the principal monastic values discussed in De la Sainteté, and what has Rancé to say about them?

7. What attracted vocations to La Trappe? What needs of contemporary society was it responding to?

8. In what respects was the reform at La Trappe specifically "Cistercian"? Are there identifiable traits of the Trappist spirit which are not common to all Cistercians, or at least not common to the early Cistercians? Are there identifiable traits of the Cistercian spirit which are not common to all Christian monasticism, or at least to Benedictine monasticism?

9. Do you find it easier to identify elements in our present life which are spicifically Trappist than elements which are specifically Cistercian? Are there elements common to the early Cistercian and to the early Trappists, which are missing from our life today?


31.  Rancé and La Trappe (II)



Ryan, Patrick. "De Rancé's Anti-Intellectualism," CSQ 8 (1973) 37-44.

Vandenbroucke, François, OSB. "De Rancé on Deliberate Humiliations,: CSQ 8 (1973) 45-52.

Waddell, C. "The Cistercian Dimension of the Reform of La Trappe (1662-1700): Preliminary Notes and Reflections," SMCH VI, 102-161.


Additional Rancé Bibliography

Krailsheimer, A J. "Armand-Jean de Rancé: Convert and Reformer (I)," CSQ 18 (1983) 24-41.

Krailsheimer, A J. "Armand-Jean de Rancé: The Community of La Trappe (II)," CSQ 19 (1984) 43-61.

Krailsheimer, A J. "Armand-Jean de Rancé: On Death and His Legacy (III)," CSQ 20 (1985) 44-51.

Krailsheimer, A J. "Bernard and Rancé" in John R Sommerfeldt [ed], Bernardus Magister: Papers Presented at the Nonacentenary Celebration of the Birth of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (CS-135, 1992), 547-556.

Waddell, C. "Rancé and Cistercian Chant," Liturgy 26/2 (1992) 55-78.

Waddell, C. "Rancé as Translator of the Rule of St Benedict," CSQ 17 (1982) 244-256.

Waddell, C. "Simplicity and the Abbot de Rancé," CSQ 22 (1987) 250-61.

Waddell, C. "The Abbot of La Trappe and the Schoolgirls of Mortagne," CSQ 24 (1989) 127-43.



1. (In writing; sketch or outline form is fine). Please outline the principal points of contact (both similarities and differences) between the Cistercian reform and Rancé's reform.

2. (For class discussion). What lay behind Rancé's anti-intellectualism? his attitude toward deliberate humiliations? How did they effect the subsequent Trappist spirit? Do you see any legitimate place in our present life for the values underlying his practices?



32. The Feminine Side of the Trappist Reform



Waddell, C. "Armand-Jean de Rancé and Françoise Angelique d'Étampes Valençay: Reformers of Les Clairets," HS 598-673.

Weaver, F Ellen. "Spiritual Direction of Women at Port-Royal," HS 701-721.


Discussion Questions

1. What details of women's monastic life in 17th century France are different from what we would consider to be good monastic practice today?

2. What were some of the difficulties which les Clairets experienced during its history?

3. Note the spiritual values which are stressed in Rancé's exhortations. How do these values correspond to the observances at La Trappe?

4. What were the respective roles of Dom Armand-Jean and of M Françoise-Angelique in instituting reforms at Les Clairets?

5. What had the spirit at Port-Royal in common with that of Les Clairets? What led to the separation of Port-Royal from the Cistercian Order?



33. The Eighteenth Century



Jedin, Vol VII, pp 6-7 (middle) & 12-38 (top)

Lekai, ch 12 & 13, "Cistercians and the Ancien Regime" and "On the verge of extinction," pp 153-178.

fiches 97-101.

Cotheret, Nicolas, Annals of Citeaux, pp 119-141.

[Possibly add King, ch 11, “The Whirlwind”, section pp 317-324]


Class Discussion

1. What were the principal signs of vitality in 17th and 18th century monasticism? What was the relationship of monasticism to the society at large during the Ancien Regime?

2. Lekai points out "that Abbot General John Petit...came closest to establishing monarchical control over the Cistercian Order" (p 159). How was this related to the 17th century attitudes and structures of government? What aspects of our present institutions similarly reflect present attitudes and structures of government?

3. How did cultural activities in 18th century Cistercian monasteries differ from those of 12th century monasteries? How was 18th century monastic culture related to the culture of the 18th century world?

4. What were the sources of discord within the Order in the 18th century?

5. Compare the dissolution of Cistercian monasteries during the French Revolution with that which occurred during the Reformation.

6. What was the relationship between the closing of monasteries by the Austrian Emperor Joseph II and the dissolution during the French Revolution? What were the motives behind thes two series of secularizations? the response of the monastic communities? the long-term effect on the Cistercian Order?

7. What was the dilemma faced by monks and nuns offered the choice between leaving their monasteries with a pension, or joining "houses of union"?



34. The Monastic Odyssey



Krailsheimer, Rancé and the Trappist Legacy, ch 9-10 (pp 124-147)

Kervingant, Marie de la Trinité. "A New Branch of the Cistercian Order: The Cistercian-Trappistines," HS, 723-49.

La Trappe in England, ch VI & VII (pp 58-82).

fiches 103-104

[Possibly add King, ch 11, “The Whirlwind”, section pp 325-332]

[new since 98: Kervingant, Marie de la Trinité. Des Monailes face ´ La R¾volution Fran¸aise. Paris, Beauchesne, 1989. #ET Jean Holman, A Monastic Odyssey, CS-171, 1999.]

[N.B Laffay, A. “Dom Augustin de Lestrange. L’oeuvre et l’homme,” COCR 61.4 (1999) 311-323.]


Questions for class discussion

How did La Trappe change in the Years between Rancé's death and the Revolution? Which of Rancé's ideals were consolidated?

To what extent did La Trappe owe its survival of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars to Rancé? To what extent did it owe its survival to Lestrange? To what other human characters was its survival especially indebted?

What developements in the20th century turned many Trappists again Rancé? Which monastic ideals began to receive more emphasis than Rancé had given them? Which less?

What does Krailsheimer find to be Rancé's enduring legacy for Trappists?

In what respects was La Valsainte a regular foundation? In what respects was it not? What motivated the reform of Valsainte and how were its observances arrived at?

How did the events of the time influence the spirituality of the monks and nuns in Lestrange's company? What, besides sheer zeal, motivated them?

How did Dom Lestrange=s community arrive at decisions? What subjects did they discuss?

What habits established at La Trappe sustained the monastic life at Valsainte?

Which of dom Lestrange's efforts at foundations succeeded? Which failed? What made the difference?

Which of his enterprises were a response to the needs of the time? Did they reflect the Cistercian charism? the Gospel?

Assess Rancé and Lestrange on the following: leadership; strengths and weaknesses of character; fidelity to the Cistercian tradition; effectiveness in responding to the needs of the Order in their own time. How do they compare with each other? With Bernard?

How would you assess the recruitment policies of the early Trappistines? their formation?

Krailsheimer implies (pp 135-6) taht visible asceticism (when authentic) attracts vocations, while more relaxed practices fail to be so attractive. To what extent is this true, and why?



35. Our Lady of the Holy Cross (Stapehill)



La Trappe in England, ch IX-XV (pp 94-162)

Coppendale, Mary Magdalen OCSO. "Who Shall Find a Valiant Woman?" HS 751-767.

[new since 98: Kervingant, A Monastic Odyssey]


Reflection Questions

How did the Trappist practice of manual labor in the 19th century differ from that of La Trappe and the Strict Observance before the Revolution? What caused the new development?

Why did Bishop Collingridge detach Stapehill from the Order? What were the results of his actions vis-a-vis Stapehill?

How did the community of Stapehill retain its Cistercian character during its long separation from the Order?

What effect had the poverty of Stapehill on monastic life there?

How would you characterize Madame de Chabannes' spirituality? Her personality?



36. The 19th Century Revival



Lekai, ch 14 & 15. The Nineteenth Century, Trappists & Common Observance

fiches 108-111, 113-114

[Possibly add King, ch 12, “Western Monasticism in the Nineteenth Century,” all of chapter or section mainly on Cistercians, pp 375-381.]


Reflection Questions. Please answer three of these questions in writing (typed, please).

1. What new developements in the Order in the 19th century are part of our present legacy? What new developements were temporary?

2. What were the greatest difficulties faced by the Order in the 19th century? What were the most important opportunities?

3. What were the principal sources of division within the Order? What were the differences between the various Trappist congregations? Between the Trappists and the rest of the Cistercian Order?

4. How did the religious situation in general, and Cistercian life in particular, differ in the 19th century from that of previous centuries?

5. Compare the history of the Trappists in the 19th century with that of the "Common Observance". What were the similarities and differences?

6. What were the advantages and disadvantages of:   the high degree of uniformity among Trappists in the late 19th century?  the high degree of pluralism in parts of the Common Observance?

7. What were the major difficulties confronting the houses of Central and Eastern Europe? How did they differ from the difficulties experienced in France? in Belgium? in Italy? in Spain and Portugal?

8. How did the central organization of the Order in the late 19th century compare with that of the 12th and 13th centuries?

9. What were some of the concrete differences between the observances of Rancé and those of Lestrange? Which were closest to Citeaux?

10. What developments took place in types of work and sources of income during the 19th century? How did these developments relate to earlier Cistercian practices, both in the more immediate past (pre-Revolution) and in the 12th century?



37. The “Reunification” ; the Nuns in the 19th - early 20th Centuries



Connor, Elizabeth, “Cistercian Nuns of the Strict Observance, Yesterday and Today,” private circulation. Read pp 10-22 (top) only.

Donovan, Finbar, “The Death and Resurrection of Citeaux: 1790-1898,” (Hallel, ?)

Greenia, Conrad. “Sebastian Wyart,” Regional Mailbag, #233 ff.

Hogan, Flannan, “O.C.S.O. Celebrates 100th Birthday,” Regional Mailbag #227-228 (1992); read from p 4, middle of 2nd column, to end.

Abbot General & Permanent Council, Letter, Prot.#92/A/06, “The First Centenary of the O.C.S.O.,” Part A, “A Look at the Past,” sections 1&2 (pp 1-2).



fiches 111-112.


Discussion Questions

1. What is meant by “exemption” (you may need to browse a bit in the earlier section, pp 1-9, of Sr Elizabeth=s paper)? When did the Cistercian nuns have exemption, and why? When did they lose it, and why? Are we exempt today?

2. In what respects was the nuns= situation in the 19th century different from that of the monks?  In what respects was it the same?

3. What were the most important developements among the nuns in the 20h century prior to Vatican II?

4. What did the character of Sebastian Wyart contribute to the juridical changes in the Cistercian Order in 1892?  to the resettlement of Citeaux?

5. What held together the various congregations of the Reform during the 19th century? What kept them apart?

6. What kind of unity existed within te Order as a whole (reformed & non-reformed), on the level of: juridic structures; observances/way of life; spirituality?

7. Why did differences in observances/way of life cause divisions within the Order as a whole, and within the Reformed branch? Were these differences really sufficiently significant to warrant such division? To what extent, if any, does the strength and unity of the Order depend on some commonality in observances, and what criteria could be used to judge which observances are indispensible to maintain a common identity?

8. Was the outcome of the Reformed Chapter of 1892 greater unity within the Order or greater division?

9. What factors precipitated the events of 1892?

10. What is the significance of the Trappistines forming a single Order with the Trappists?



38. The 20th Century Expansion


Part of class will be input from Colum on the foundation of OLM. To expedite our shortened discussion time, please could you each pick 2 of the discussion questions and be prepared to speak on them briefly in class (please pick different questions, and let me know which - I may try to prepare the others).



Lekai Ch 16 (pp 207-224)

Abbot General & Permanent Council, Letter, Prot.#92/A/06, “The First Centenary of the O.C.S.O.,” Part A, “A Look at the Past,” section 3, “A Century of History,” pp 2-3.

Veilleux, Armand. “Foundations in the Last Fifty Years of the Order”, working paper, Poyo, preparation for >92 Chapter, pp 51-56 only, NB also see graphs pp 59-76.

Scanlan, Patrick J. Stars in the Sky. Diary 11, pp 277-319.

Walsh, Kieran. Women Who Keep Vigil, chapters 1, 8 & 10 (skim).

[Possibly add King, ch 14, “The Twentieth Century”.



Cawley, Martinus. A Folk Geography of Cistercian U.S.A. Contains 2-page description of each US house, including both branches & observances.

Cawley, Martinus. Lives of Dom Gabriel Sortais, 1902-1963, and Mere Cecile Chauvat, 1886-1943

fiches 116-7, to skim. Mostly cover same ground as required reading, but have a few other facts.



1. What factors have contributed to the flourishing or the failure of foundations in the 20th century?  Are these factors different from those in other periods? Have foundations in the past on the whole been more successful, or is this century=s rate of failure normal?

2. Compare the foundations of Stapehill (Whitland), Glencairn, and Wrentham. What have been the constants? What the differences?

3. What have been the most significant challenges to the Order in the 20th century? How have these challenges been met?

4. What is the appropriate response of monasticism to the culture of 20th century industrialized societies: confrontation? adaptation? withdrawal? or?  Where and in what respect have these responses been attempted, and what have been the consequences?

5. To what may be attributed the growth of the Order in the 1st half of the 20th century? in the post-war (WW II) period? What caused the decline after Vatican II? Why were these last 2 trends accentuated in the men=s houses of the USA, compared to other countries, and compared to the American women?

6. A more recent development has been an increasing number of houses but with noticeably smaller numbers of nuns or monks in each. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend, both for the houses as individual communities and for the Order at large?



39. Vatican II and Post-Conciliar Renewal



Roberts, Augustine. “Unity and Pluralism,” CSQ 5 (1970) 19-47. Copy in folder.

Statute on Unity and Pluralism (SUP).

Declaration on the Cistercian Life. Both of these can be found in Lekai (appendix) & also copies in the gray folder.

Letter of Cardinal Antoniutti & introductory letter of Dom Ignace Gillet.

Connor, Elizabeth, “Cistercian Nuns of the Strict Observance, Yesterday and Today,” private circulation. Read pp 22-end (34).

Southey, Dom Ambrose (Abbot General). Letters 80/A/03 (Easter 1980) & 90/A/03 (Epiphany 1990).

Letter of AG Bernardo Olivera & Permanent council 92/A/06, Part B & C (pp 3-6).


Further reading

Minutes of the Chapter of 1969

fiche 120.


Discussion questions

1. What does Fr Augustine see as the reasons the Order needed more pluralism in the post-Vatican II era? What negative aspects of pluralism does Fr Augustine mention? Why does he mention them? What are Dom Ambrose=s comments on effects of pluralism in the subsequent decade?

2. Which concrete monastic observances does the SUP deal with? Which receive the most emphasis? Which are mentioned only in a theoretical way, and which, on the other hand, are encouraged by concrete details?

3. Why does Fr Augustine spend so much time on guideline 2? What value is at issue here? - Same double question for guideline 12.

4. The SUP falls into 3 sections. What is the function of each section?

5. To what previous documents, or eras, or reforms in monastic history does the SUP most frequently refer?

6. What was the effect on the nuns of: the letter of Cardinal Antoniutti; the rise of congregations; the rise of regions; the changing attitudes towards women in the 20th century; the General Chapter of 1969?

7. What is the place of the nuns in the Order today?

8. What do Dom Ambrose and Dom Bernardo see as the most crucial issues facing the Order as the 20th century draws to a close? What do you see as the most crucial challenges?