Saint Robert, also known as Robert of Molesme, was a French monk and the founder of the Cistercian Order.
Born in 1029 in Champagne, France, Robert entered the Benedictine Abbey of Montier-la-Celle in his youth. He later became dissatisfied with the relaxed observance of the Benedictine Rule and sought a more rigorous and austere form of monastic life.
In 1075, Robert, along with a group of monks, established a new monastery in Molesme. This community emphasized a return to the primitive observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict, focusing on simplicity, poverty, and manual labor.
Although the Molesme community thrived initially, conflicts arose, and Robert decided to seek a more secluded location for his monastic vision. In 1098, he founded the Abbey of Cîteaux, which became the birthplace of the Cistercian Order.
Under Robert’s leadership, the Cistercians grew rapidly and became known for their strict observance of the monastic rule, manual labor, and self-sufficiency. The order emphasized a simpler way of life and a contemplative spirit.
Saint Robert of Newminster died on June 7, 1111. He was later canonized as a saint by Pope Honorius III in 1222.
As the patron saint of June 7th, Saint Robert of Newminster is honored for his role in founding the Cistercian Order and promoting a reformation of monastic life. He is revered as a model of monastic piety, humility, and dedication to the pursuit of God. The Cistercians continue their spiritual heritage to this day, embodying the principles of simplicity, contemplation, and work.
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