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The Life of Blessed Bernard of Tiron

Geoffrey Grossus

Publication Year: 2012

The first English translation of the Vita Bernardi, this book makes accessible to medieval and religious historians one of the more interesting and lively stories of the twelfth century.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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pp. ix-x

I am deeply indebted to Jo Ann Moran Cruz and Bennett Hill, my doctoral advisers on the twelfth-century foundation and expansion of the congregation of Tiron, and to my third adviser, Theodore Evergates, for his expert editing of the introduction. Joseph Tylenda, S.J., director of Woodstock Library, Georgetown ...

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pp. xi-xxvi

Bernard of Tiron (ca. I046-III6) and Robert of Arbrissel (ca. I045-III6), founder of Fontevraud (II0l), were among the most influential monastic reformers of their time, but Bernard has drawn less scholarly attention. Bernard of Tiron, founder of Tiron Abbey (II07) (diocese of Chartres, 12.8 kilometers, or 7.7 miles, east of Nogent-le-Rotrou in Perche) and of distant priories in Beaujolais ...

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Note on the Translation

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pp. xxvii

My translation of the vita is based on the version edited by Godefroy Henskens in the Acta Sanctorum. The Latin texts of the Sermon, Prayer to Blessed Bernard, and Synopsis of the Life of Holy Bernard, Abbot of Tiron Abbey, are published in Bernard Beck, ...

Chronology of the 'Vita'

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pp. xxix-xxxii

Map of Bernard of Tiron's France

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pp. xxxiii

Map of Perche

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pp. xxxiv

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Prologue and Metrical Headings

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pp. 3-11

Greetings to the most Reverend Father, Lord Geoffrey, by grace of God bishop of the cathedral of Chartres and legate of the Holy See,l from Geoffrey, least of all monks. ...

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CHAPTER 1 Bernard's Education and Monastic Life in the Monastery of Saint-Cyprien

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pp. 13-18

6. Bernard, a native of Ponthieu1 in the territory of Abbeville, was born to honest and religious parents, who did hospice and humanitarian work and, insofar as their means allowed, diligently ministered to Christ in the form of His poorest members. They designated him for a liberal education, and by heavenly ...

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CHAPTER 2 Claustral Prior of the Monastery of Saint-Savin, Discipline Restored, and Other Splendid Deeds

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pp. 19-25

13. At that time a monk of the monastery of Saint-Cyprien, namely Gervais, whom we mentioned above, was requested by many prayers of the entire communiry to consent to rule the abbey of Saint-Savin.1 There was no way Gervais could be induced to consent, neither by the bishop's command nor by the obedience his abbot ...

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CHAPTER 3 Hermit Life in Solitude in Maine

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pp. 26-32

19. So that the very thing that the Mother of God had predicted to the holy man would be proven true, another trial for him came up immediately. When he learned of the monks' intention to make him their abbot, he went away from them in secrecy. He intended to pursue something he had longed to do for ...

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CHAPTER 4 Solitary Life on the Chausey Island. Pirates Corrected

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pp. 33-42

26. A hermit who pitied Bernard's poverty gave one of his companions eighteen coins.1 Compassionately he let them have this little bit of money so they could pay their travel costs, at least for a few days. When the man of the Lord found out, in high indignation, that the companion was taking money with ...

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CHAPTER 5 Blessed Bernard's Return to the Earlier Hermit Community and Then to His First Monastery of Saint-Cyprien

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pp. 43-50

36. Meanwhile the monks of Saint-Savin, who had made every effort to have Bernard rule their monastery, having looked for him everywhere without finding him anywhere, established another man as their shepherd.1 Peter of l'Etoile learned of it immediately, because he lived in their vicinity. He promptly hurried to the wilderness ...

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CHAPTER 6 He Was Made Abbot of Saint-Cyprien: He Turned from Persecution to Preaching. The Morals of the Clerics Were Reformed

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pp. 51-60

44. When four months had passed, Reginald fell into the grip of a serious illness and took to his bed. Since the day of his death was approaching, the brothers gathered around him. They pleaded with him to deign to designate his successor, through revelation by the Holy Spirit, because he was an extremely learned ...

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CHAPTER 7 Two Trips to Rome in Defense of the Abbey. The Abbey Was Relinquished. Disciples Were Collected Elsewhere

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pp. 61-69

55. Meanwhile, for about four years the monks of Saint Cyprien had expended much effort and expense trying to free their monastery from the false claim of the Cluniacs and had been unsuccessful. Since their need was urgent, in distress they were forced to go into the desert with letters from the bishop of ...

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CHAPTER 8 Monastery Constructed in the County of Perche, Favors Accepted and Collected for Division among Others

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pp. 70-81

63. A nod from Divine Providence inspired its servant Bernard and all his disciples to migrate to other regions and to leave for distant lonely places. Accordingly he sent a small group of his disciples to seek some vast desert where they could build a foundation large enough to hold them all at the same time, so none ...

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CHAPTER 9 Monastery Built on the Thironne River. Favors Granted by Count Rotrou

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pp. 82-88

77. At that time, so that Bernard, soldier of Christ, would not lack toil and tribulation to combat, the monks of Saint Denis said that they were entitled to the tithes and burial fees1 of the very tract that Count Rotrou had given to him. This malicious claim forced him to abandon the buildings that his disciples had constructed ...

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CHAPTER 10 Revelation of Subsequent Eternal Salvation of Two Monks. Some Miracles

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pp. 89-96

83. One night, while the brothers were chanting the psalms appointed for nocturns (RE, 9-n)1 in the oratory, a brother reached the point of death. Accordingly, when the clappers were struck according to the ritual, the brothers gathered together. They wanted to conduct the funeral service of the now-dead brother ...

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CHAPTER I I Hospitality. Spirit of Prophecy. Rumor's Report of Holiness

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pp. 97-110

... The disciple was failing to consider that holiness of life does not come from performing miracles but from bringing light and doing justice. For a very long time he continued these deliberations and spied constantly on Bernard's way of life. Then, one night there came ...

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CHAPTER 12 At the Point of Death: Two Exhortations to His Monks, Reception of the Deathbed Sacrament

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pp. 111-120

105. Bernard was like fragrant nard,1 not by chance but I reckon by Highest Providence, as was shown by the very letters of his name. The fragrance of his many virtues continuously scented the idleness of earthly depravity with a whiff of most delicate odors, like smoke from aromatic myrrh and frankincense ...

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CHAPTER 13 Final Preparation for Death. Revelations, Death, Burial

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pp. 121-129

n6. With some of them crying out and others lying half-dead on the ground in spasms, the man, who always did good works, was constrained to be of two minds about his preferences, for he did not want to leave his desolate flock or to be kept any longer from the presence of the Supreme Good. ...

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CHAPTER 14 Analecta of Various Deeds Added to the Vita

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pp. 130-141

127. If anyone wishes to hear how intolerable it was to Bernard if anything better than the ordinary food was served to him in the refectory, let him hear what Bernard often did. When he entered the kitchen one day, he saw a little pot cooking on the fire with the others. When he asked whose it was, he learned ...

Appendix A. Sermon

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pp. 143-151

Appendix B. Prayer to Blessed Bernard

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pp. 152-154

Appendix C. Synopsis of the Life of Holy Bernard, Abbot of Tiron Abbey

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pp. 155-159


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pp. 161-167


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pp. 169-177

E-ISBN-13: 9780813217819
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813216812

Page Count: 213
Publication Year: 2012