This French abbot and doctor of the Church is considered the second founder of the Cistercians. He entered the relatively new monastery at Citeaux in 1113 with four of his own brothers and 27 friends, and later founded the monastery at Clairvaux, which gave birth to 68 other communities.
Despite poor health and his devotion to personal mortification, Bernard was an early Western European rock star: He was consulted by popes and kings, battled heresies and supported the Second Crusade. The sick and maimed lined the roads he traveled, hoping for a miracle.
Dante chose Bernard as his final guide in “Paradiso,” at the end of “The Divine Comedy.”