Saint Aelred of Rievaulx

detail of a photograph of a medieval illuminated manuscript; swiped off the Wikipedia web siteAlso known as

  • Aelred of Revesby
  • Aelredus of…
  • Aethelred of…
  • Ailred of…
  • Alfred of…
  • Alred of…
  • Eilred of…
  • Ellast of…
  • Ethelred of…
  • Ethelredus of…
  • The English Saint Bernard



Son of Eilaf, a priest during a period when English priests were allowed to marry, and keeper of the shrine of Hexham. Master of the household of the court of King David of Scotland. Known for his gentle spirituality and his personal austerity amid the court life. David wanted to make his friend a bishop, but instead Aelred left Scotland in 1134 to become a Cistercian monk at Rievaulx, Yorkshire, England. Master of novices. First abbot of a Cistercian monastery in Revensby, Lincolnshire, England in 1142. Abbot of Rievaulx in 1147, which made the superior of all Cistercians in England, and kept him much on the road, travelling from house to house, preaching throughout England and Scotland. Peacemaker among the Picts in Galway, ending disputes and revitalizing the faith in the area. He composed sermons and prayers, wrote works on the spiritual and aescetic life, wrote on the lives of King David of Scotland, Saint Ninian and Saint Edward the Confessor, and was considered a living saint by those who knew him.




  • never formally canonized
  • cultus and devotion developed immediately after his death
  • cultus approved by the Cistercian general chapter in Cîteaux in 1476



Additional Information


  • A Certain Wonderful Miracle
  • Genealogy of the Kings of the English
  • Jesus as a Boy of Twelve
  • Lament for the Death of King David of Scotland
  • Mirror of Charity
  • On Spiritual Friendship
  • On the Saints of Hexham
  • On the Soul
  • Pastoral Prayer
  • Relatio de Standardo
  • Rule of Life for a Recluse
  • The Life of Saint Edward, King and Confessor
  • The Life of Saint Ninian


One who speaks the word of God to others ought not aim at vaunting his own knowledge but at discerning how he can build up his hearers. And with a motherly compassion for weaker minds he ought, I might say, prattle to them, descending to the use of baby talk. But the limit of my gifts make it necessary that my hearers stoop down to the poverty of my words. Saint Aelred

How I savor it when I see the Lord of all majesty showing himself as far as bodily exertion and human emotion are concerned not like the strong but the weak. What a comfort it is to me in my weakness! Truly this weakness of my Lord without doubt brings me strength and stability in my weakness. I am entrusted with the care of my brother’s body and soul (for I do not love the whole man if I neglect anything belonging to either – for it is very difficult for the mind not to be tempted when the flesh has too much to suffer). If I see him in distress, whether it be on account of the austerity of the food or because of work or the vigils – if, I say, I see that he is tormented in body and tempted in spirit, if I see him in such affliction and…do not on occasion accommodate myself to the infirmities of the weak I am not running in the fragrance of Christ’s ointments but with the harshness of the pharisees. – Saint Aelred

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Aelred of Rievaulx“. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 September 2021. Web. 28 September 2021. <>