Allow me to recommend a book for the month of May: Mary Most Holy, Meditating With the Early Cistercians, edited by E. Rozanne Elder, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, 2003. Dr. Elder presents Marian texts of the twelfth and thirteenth century drawn from thirteen Cistercian authors: Adam of Perseigne, Aelred of Rievaulx, Amadeus of Lausanne, Baldwin of Forde, Bernard of Clairvaux, Geoffrey of Auxerre, Gertrude the Great of Helfta, Gilbert of Hoyland, Guerric of Igny, Isaac of Stella, John of Forde, Stephen of Sawley, and William of Saint–Thierry. Along the same lines, I should like to add my own (rather limited) presentation of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cistercian tradition and practice. If any one thing drew me to Cistercian branch of the great Benedictine family, it was its cherished tradition of love for Mary.
Saint Bernard, Citharista Mariae
Cistercian devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is at once strong and tender. It is lyrical — is not our Saint Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux, called the Citharista Mariae, Mary’s Player of the Lyre? Cistercian devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is also quotidian —