Saints Bio: St. Bernard
+ Bernard, third son of a Burgundian nobleman, was born in 1090. His brothers were trained as soldiers, but Bernard from youth was destined for scholarship. One Christmas Eve as a child he had a dream about the infant Christ in the manger; and the memory of it, and consequent devotion to the mystery of the Word made flesh, remained with him throughout his life. Bernard had good prospects of success as a secular scholar, but he began to believe that he was called to the monastic life, and after a period of prayer for guidance, he decided at age 22 to enter the monastery of Citeaux, an offshoot of the Benedictines which had adopted a much stricter rule than theirs, and became the founding house of the Cistercian (Trappist) order. He persuaded four of his brothers, one uncle, and 26 other men to join him. They were the first novices that Citeaux had had for several years. After three years, the abbot ordered Bernard to take twelve monks and found a new house at La Ferte. The first year was one of great hardship. They had no stores and lived chiefly on roots and barley bread. Bernard imposed such severe discipline that his monks became discouraged, but he realized his error and became more lenient. The reputation of the monastery, known as Clairvaux, spread across Europe. Many new monks joined it, and many persons wrote letters or came in person to seek spiritual advice. By the time of his death, 60 new monasteries of the Cistercian order were established under his direction.