Book of Saints – Bernard – 20 August


BERNARD (Saint) Abbot (August 20) Doctor of the Church. (12th century) This famous French Saint, surnamed the “mellifluous Doctor,” was born at Fontaines, near Dijon (A.D. 1091). At the age of twenty-three he consecrated himself to God under the leadership of the holy English Abbot, Saint Stephen Harding, in the newly instituted Abbey of Citeaux, and became the second founder of the austere Cistercian Order, of which the Trappists are now the best known branch. In obedience to Saint Stephen, Bernard, in the year 1115, founded the Abbey of Clairvaux, of which he remained Abbot for the rest of his life, besides erecting several other monasteries. He preached the Second Crusade in France (A.D. 1146), exerted a strong and healthy influence on the European politics of his age, and by his prudence and zeal healed more than one incipient schism. He passed away at Clairvaux, August 20, 1153, and was buried in the Ladye-Chapel of his Abbey. Since its destruction in 1792 his relics have been venerated in the neighbouring parish church. Alexander III canonised Saint Bernard twelve years after his death; and Pius VIII proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church. Notable among his writings are his noble Treatise on the Canticle of Canticles, and his book, Be Consideratione, addressed to Pope Eugene III, who had been one of his monks. To him also is attributed the familiar Hymn, “Jesu dulcis memoria” (Jesus, the only thought of Thee). His tender devotion to Our Blessed Lady has led to the liturgical use of his Homilies on her festival days. He is often represented with three mitres on a book, or at his feet, in allusion to his refusal of three Bishoprics — or with a beehive near him — or again, with an Angel holding his crozier.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Bernard”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 August 2012. Web. 29 October 2020. <>