Bernard of Thiron

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Saint Bernard of Thiron
Born 1046
Abbeville, France
Died 14 April 1117
Tiron Abbey, Thiron Gardais, France
Honored in
Roman Catholic Church
Feast 27 April

Bernard of Thiron, also known as Bernard of Ponthieu and Bernard of Abbeville, was the founder of the Tiron Abbey and the Tironensian Order.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born near Abbeville in 1046. He remained there until the age of 12, before leaving for Aquitaine. Accepted at the monastery of Saint Cyprien, near Poitiers, by the Abbott Renault. He remained there many years, before being made abbot of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe.[2] The longing for the life of a hermit and a dispute with monks of Cluny Order, eventually led to him offering his resignation to Pope Urban II, which was accepted.

Life as a Hermit[edit]

Bernard began his life as a hermit under the assumed name of William, through his own choice chose a church dedicated to Saint Medardus, in the region of Saint-Mars-sur-la-Futaie. He lived as such for short period of time before being discovered by fellow monks from Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe. Unwilling to return to his previous post Bernard fled to the island of Chausey. There he braved harsh conditions and lived in a cave, before finally listening to his former companions, Bernard returned to the mainland, settling in Gehard Fontaine (modern day Châtillon-sur-Colmont). There he gained many followers to his hermit way of life, including Adelelmus of Flanders. The community grew into a centre for hermits, with many building cells around his. Bernard fame grew eventually gaining the attention of the Saint Cyprien Monastery. Abbott Renault then called for Bernard to return to the monastery bringing with him his new followers. Bernard returned and resumed the habit as well as being appointed Renault's successor.[3]

Later Life and founding of Tiron Abbey[edit]

As the Abbott of the Saint Cyprien Monastery, Bernard ordered the monks to make a pilgrimage to Rome. There they argued their claims against those of the Cluny Order. Once again Bernard was led to retirement first returning to Chausey, before settling in Fougeres. By the early 12th century, Bernard had once again established a large community of followers, which made life as a hermit impossible. Bernard led his followers to the Savigny Abbey, where Vitalis of Savigny took them under his care, allowing Bernard to return to his life as hermit. From there he lived in the court of Rotrou III of Perche, who offered him a forest not from the town of Thiron where, by 1109, Bernard had established a primitive monastery dedicated to St. Anne. Due to disputes with the neighbouring Cluniac monastery of Saint-Denis de Nogent le Rotrou, Bernard left his post with the permission of Bishop Ivo of Chartres. Bernard, with the aid of donations from the kings and nobles of France, England and Scotland, established the Abbey of the Holy Trinity of Tiron in 1114. From here Bernard founded the Tironensian Order, based on a strict observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict and an emphasis on manual labour. He remained there until his death in 1117.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Bernard of Thiron". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 1. Hamm: Bautz. col. 536. ISBN 3-88309-013-1. 
  2. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Bernard of Thiron". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 1. Hamm: Bautz. col. 536. ISBN 3-88309-013-1. 
  3. ^ History of Tiron Abbey

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bernard de Tiron, dans Alphonse-Victor Angot, Ferdinand Gaugain, Dictionnaire historique, topographique et biographique de la Mayenne, Goupil, 1900–1910
  • Geoffrey Grossus The Life of Blessed Bernard of Tiron The Catholic University of America Press (2009)