The History of Cistercian
Foundations in history
Cistercian draws inspiration and wisdom from several traditions. The most ancient is the Catholic Christian Tradition as expressed in the Old and New Testaments and in the living doctrine of the Church. This Tradition, spelled with a capital "T", is the central foundation for Cistercian Preparatory School.
We also draw on the tradition of Western monasticism, a way of life that found its classic formulation some 1500 years ago in the Rule of St. Benedict, who organized his monastery as "a school for the Lord's service." St. Benedict wrote that the monastery's main function is to teach the Christian way of life. A monk is to be a lifelong learner and teacher.
The Cistercian tradition itself dates back more than 900 years, to the foundation of the monastery of Citeaux (in Latin, Cistercium) in France. The first Cistercians sought to follow St. Benedict's Rule more authentically by living a life of simplicity, by "being poor with the poor Christ," by balancing prayer and work, and by recovering in their own day the fervor of the earliest Christian community which gathered around the apostles.
In the 18th century, the Cistercians were faced with the upheavals of modern times - the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, Josephinism, and the secularization of society. The Cistercians of the Abbey of Zirc in Hungary responded by forging a new tradition, combining the education of youth in secondary schools with their monastic life.
Almost two hundred years later, monks from the Abbey of Zirc found their way of life threatened once more. The post-war Communist regime in Hungary suppressed the Abbey's five schools and drove many of the monks into exile. Led more by Providence than by any well-planned strategy, this group of monks ultimately brought their tradition of monastic life to Texas.
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