St. Bernard Plate, painted in polychrome enamel with gold highlights depicted kneeling before an altar bearing his rod, on starry background
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – August 20, 1153) was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.
After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. "Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe. According to tradition, Bernard founded the monastery on 25 June 1115, naming it Claire Vallée, which evolved into Clairvaux. There Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary. In the year 1128, Bernard assisted at the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.
In June 1145, Bernard traveled in southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy.
Following the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at age 63, after 40 years spent in the cloister. He was the first Cistercian placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. In 1830 Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon Bernard the title "Doctor of the Church".
Limoges, entourage Leonard Limosin II, first quarter of the seventeenth century
H 7 L × 5 cm