We celebrate the Founders of the Cistercian Order, Saints Robert, Alberic & Stephen.
In the year 1098, 21 monks of Molesme, desiring a more perfect way of life, left their monastery and, accompanied by their father abbot, the blessed Robert, went to Citeaux. There they found a wilderness solitude, which they began building into an abbey. Robert received his pastoral office and staff from the Bishop of Chalons, and the other monks made their promise of stability under him in the same place. Only a short time passed when the monks of Molesme began asking for Robert's return. At the command of Pope Urban II, Robert was made to return to Molesme, continuing to guide the monks there.
Widowed of its pastor, the monks at Citeaux chose as next abbot one of the brothers named Alberic. He was a man of learning and lover of the Rule and brethern. With the help of God's Grace, Citeaux made constant progress following the Rule of blessed Benedict as the norm governing their whole way of life. Alberic, after 10 years governing this school of Christ went home to the Lord, glorious for his faith and virtues.
Alberic was succeeded by Stephen, an Englishman most ardent for monastic life and poverty. In his days the little flock had only this to grieve: that it was so tiny. God, beyond all hope, then stirred up the hearts of many from all parts of the world to flock to Citeaux and serve under the sweet mastery of Christ. Full of merit and a humble spirit our father Stephen went to his holy reward.