I was looking at your webpage and found it very interesting. The only thing I am unsure and curious about is why this order was founded and its process of foundation.  I have been looking into it but could not find any clear information. Have a very nice day.


Thank you for contacting us at Trappist.org, and for your question about the founding of our Order and how it came about.

The Abbey of Citeaux (Cistercium in Latin), mother house of the Cistercian Order, was founded in March, 1098 by a group of 21 monks from the Benedictine Abbey of Molesme who left that community seeking a stricter observance of the Rule of St. Benedict, led by their abbot, Robert of Molesme. With the permission of Bishop Hugh of Lyon they settled their New Monastery in a deserted wilderness area of Burgundy, France. Actually, the next year the monks of Molesme begged the Pope to order Robert to return to them, which in obedience he did with about two thirds of the monks of Citeaux. Maybe it was harder than they thought it would be. The small group that remained stuck it out in a very austere way of life, and despite their zeal it seemed that the future of the project was not promising as men were not rushing to join them. However God was with them, and in 1112 a very fervent and eloquent young man named Bernard entered the monastery, with about 30 of his friends whom he had inspired to renounce life in the world for the cloister, who would be known as the famous St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The Cistercian reform caught on like wildfire and spread throughout Europe. The founders were very concerned to keep their now burgeoning movement according to their ideals of the reform, and so St. Stephen Harding, the 3rd abbot of Citeaux and a brilliant organizer put together a system of connections called the Charter of Charity, thus forming the first real religious Order in the history of the Church.