Stephen Harding, Saint

Stephen Harding, Saint,

c.1060–1134, English monastic reformer. He entered the abbey at Sherborne in his youth; later (c.1077) he went to the Molesme abbey (near Châtillon-sur-Seine) in Burgundy. In 1098 he joined his abbot, St. Robert (d. 1111), in founding at Cîteaux a new abbey, where the Rule of St. Benedict might be observed in primitive rigor. Stephen was abbot there from c.1109 and from his abbacy date the CisterciansCistercians
, monks of a Roman Catholic religious order founded (1098) by St. Robert, abbot of Molesme, in Cîteaux [Cistercium], Côte-d'Or dept., France. They reacted against Cluniac departures from the Rule of St. Benedict.
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; the spirit and organization of that order reflect St. Stephen's ideas. These are embodied in the Chart of Charity (c.1119); this, the main Cistercian constitutional paper, is a landmark in the course of Western monasticism. He supported with paternal affection the work of St. Bernard of ClairvauxBernard of Clairvaux, Saint
, 1090?–1153, French churchman, mystic, Doctor of the Church. Born of noble family, in 1112 he entered the Cistercian abbey of Cîteaux, taking along 4 or 5 brothers and some 25 friends.
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. Feast: Apr. 17; among Cistercians, July 16.

Bibliography

See C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism (1984).

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