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Wednesday 22 May |
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Saint of the Day: St. Robert of Molesmes

Cofounder of the Cistercian Order


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Abbot (1027-1110)

His life

+ Robert was born in Troyes, France, and became a Benedictine monk in 1044. After serving as prior of various abbeys, he became part of a reform movement that sought to return the Benedictines to the ancient observance of the Rule of St. Benedict.

+ In 1075, he helped established a new monastery at Molesmes. Although the monks were known for their piety, they received a large number of bequests and this income led to internal strife within the monastery.

+ With Saint Stephen Harding and Saint Alberic, Robert and 18 other monks chose to establish a new community at Cîteaux, near Dijon. This monastery was officially established on March 21, 1098, and would become the mother-abbey of a new monastic family—the Cistercian Order.

+ In 1100, Robert was asked to return to Molesmes to bring stability to the community and he initiated a successful series of reforms. He died at Molesmes on March 21, 1110, and was canonized in 1122.

+ Saints Robert, Alberic, and Stephen are honored together in a common liturgical memorial by the Benedictine and Cistercian Orders on January 26.

For reflection

“An abbot who is worthy to be over a monastery should always remember what he is called, and live up the name of Superior. For he is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery, being called by a name of His, which is taken from the words of the Apostle: “You have received a spirit of adoption…, by which we cry, ‘Abba—Father!’”—from the Rule of St. Benedict

Spiritual bonus

On this day, we remember Venerable Maria Kaupas, the foundress of the Sisters of St. Casimir. A Lithuanian immigrant, Maria established this community in Scranton, Pennsylvania before moving the community’s motherhouse to Chicago, where she died in 1940. She was declared Venerable in 2010.


Grant us, O Lord, that amid the uncertainties of this world we may cling with all our heart to the things of heaven, for through the Abbot blessed Robert you have given us a model of evangelical perfection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For an Abbot)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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