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Sermons for the Autumn Season

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Irene Edmonds, Edited by Mark Scott, OCSO, Introduction by Wim Verbaal

On the anniversary of the dedication of the monastery church at Clairvaux, Saint Bernard spoke to the community to explain the meaning of the feast: "What sanctity can these stones have that we should celebrate their festival? They do indeed have sanctity, but it is because of your bodies. . . .Your bodies are holy because of your souls, and this house is holy because of your bodies."The thirty-eight sermons in this volumecarry forth this theme, revealing the holiness of the monastic life as monks alternate through the rhythm of the day and the year between the opus Dei and manual labor, journeying faithfully through life to death and the transitus to glory.The twelfth-century Ecclesiastica Officia of the Cistercian Order required abbots to speak formally to their communities in chapter on seventeen fixed days, mostly liturgical feasts. This volume witnesses to Bernard's fulfillment of this requirement and includes sermons for the Assumption and Nativity of the Virgin and the Feast of All Saints, sermons devoted to the feasts of particular saints celebrated during the autumn months, sermons for the time of harvest, andfuneral sermons that look forward to the eternal joy in the communion of saints.For information on the full index for this volume and all of Bernard's seasonal sermons, please see index page

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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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Liturgical SermonsVolume 2

Guerric of Igny

Guerric of Igny (d. 1157) ranks with Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx, and William of Saint Thierry as one of 'the four evangelists of Cîteaux'. Yet he is known only through these Liturgical Sermons and a scattering of historical references. Born probably at Tournai and educated in the humanities and theology at the noted cathedral school there, he visited the cistercian abbey of Clairvaux as a seasoned scholar, with no intention whatever of abandoning academic life for the cloister. Urged to stay by the always persuasive Abbot Bernard, however, 'without delay or looking back, the cleric became a monk, the master a schoolboy'. In 1138, again at Bernard's suggestion and despite his own protestations that he lacked the requisite wisdom and health, Guerric was elected as the second abbot of Igny, a daughter house of Clairvaux near Rheims. There he wrote the sermons which reveal the quality of his education, the profundity of his theology, and the pervasiveness of his cistercian spirit.

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Cistercians and Cluniacs

St. Bernard's Apologia to Abbot William

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Michael Casey OCSO; Introduction by Jean Leclercq OSB

A landmark in the 'feud' between Cîteaux and Cluny, the Apologia contains Saint Bernard's opinion on the place of graphic arts in the monastery and shows his mastery of satire.

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The Life and Death of Saint Malachy the Irishman

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Robert T. Meyer

The life of a saint by a saint. Malachy O'Morgair spent his life and considerable energies exhorting, wheedling, badgering, and praying his countrymen back to christian faith and practice. Bernard holds him up in this Life, eulogy, and hymn as a model to bishops.

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Homilies in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Marie-Bernard Saïd OSB; Introduction by Chrysogonus Waddell OCSO

The young abbot meditates on the singular role of the virgin mother of Christ 'to satisfy my own devotion', and in doing so bequeathes his own love of Mary and of Scripture to his Order and to the Church.

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Sermons on Conversion

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translation and Introduction by Marie Bernard Saïd OSB

The burgundian reformer abbot draws a picture of the perfect frontier bishop, and holds him up as a model for bishops everywhere. Conversion is used here not in the modern sense of transferring from on ecclesiastical body to another, but in the patristic and monastic sense of metanoia, turning one's entire being wholly to God.

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The Letters of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

ernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Bruno Scott James; Introduction by Beverly Mayne Kienzle

This classic translation of the correspondence of Bernard is reprinted with a new introduction which takes into account the wealth of scholarship which has appeared in the last forty years. Professor Kienzle discusses the translation of medieval and monastic letter-writing and provides a new chronology and select bibliography. First published in 1953, James' translation set the standard for readability, accuracy, and verve; 'it is difficult to see how his translation can be improved'—David N. Bell

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"The Life of Wulfric of Haselbury, Anchorite"

John of Ford; Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Pauline Matarasso

John of Forde’s Life of Wulfric of Haselbury—priest, healer, seer, mystic, who lived in a cell abutting a village church from 1125 until his death in 1154—is a classic of its kind. It portrays the daily life of the recluse, his austerities, the hours of prayer, his familiar companionship with his God, as well as his place in the community, a network of relationships stretching country-wide and friendships maintained over many years with both women and men. John, prior and later abbot of Forde, is the devoted guide opening up the treasures of his Wulfric to any who care to listen. The work, too little read or studied for want of a translation, is now made available not only to the medievalist but to anyone with an interest in the spiritual life. Pauline Matarasso is a scholar, translator, and poet, now living in Oxford. Her writings include: The Quest of the Holy Grail; The Redemption of Chivalry: A Study of the "Queste del Saint Graal"; The Cistercian World: Monastic Writings of the Twelfth Century; "John of Forde as Portrait Painter," A Gathering of Friends; Bernard of Clairvaux: On Baptism and The Office of Bishops; Queen’s Mate: Three Women of Power in France on the Eve of the Renaissance.

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Sermons on the Final Verses of the Song of SongsVolume V

John of Ford; Translated by Sister Wendy Mary Beckett

John completed the sermon-meditations on the Song of Songs which had been begun by Bernard of Clairvaux and continued by Gilbert of Hoyland. In one-hundred twenty sermons, he brings the task to its conclusion, in the process demonstrating the persistence of the patristic-monastic exegetical tradition and the influence of the early thirteenth-century intellectual tradition.

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The Nature and Dignity of Love

William Of Saint Thierry; Translated by Thomas X. Davis; Introduction by David N. Bell

William of Saint Thierry wrote down his reflections on the nature and greatness of love during the second decade of the twelfth century, while he was abbot of the benedictine monastery of St Thierry, near Rheims. His insight, drawn from Scripture and the Church Fathers, shaped his own spiritual journey and his earthly pilgrimage from the schools to the abbey and finally to cistercian life at Signy in the Ardennes. Love, he writes, is a force which draws human beings towards the God who is love. In love we were created 'to the image and likeness of God'...

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Dialogue on the Soul

Aelred of Rievaulx; Translated by CH Talbot

An abbot and a disciple discuss the soul in practical as well as theoretical terms: what is it, how is it transmitted, how does it relate to the human body, how can it be restored to the image of God to which it was created?

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Sermons on the Song of SongsVolume 3

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Kilian Walsh OCSO and Irene Edmonds

These eighty-six sermons are among the most famous and most beautiful examples of medieval scriptural exegesis. In them the modern reader can catch a glimpse of the genius an entire generation found irresistible. Volumes available singly or as a set.

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"The Lives of Monastic Reformers, 2"

"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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Sermons on the Song of SongsVolume 3

Gilbert of Hoyland; Translated and edited by Lawrence C. Braceland SJ

Taking up Saint Bernard's unfinished sermon-commentary, Gilbert ruminates on verse 3:1-5:10 in forty-eight sermons, leaving the task to be finished by John of Ford.

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