Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Lives of Monastic Reformers, 1: Robert of la Chaise-Dieu and Stephen of Obazine

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Lives of Monastic Reformers, 1: Robert of la Chaise-Dieu and Stephen of Obazine

Article excerpt

The Lives of Monastic Reformers, 1: Robert of La Chaise-Dieu and Stephen of Obazine. Introduced and translated by Hugh Feiss, O.S.B.; Maureen M. O'Brien; and Ronald Pepin. [Cistercian Studies Series, No. 222.] (Collegeville, MN: Cistercian Publications. Distrib. by Liturgical Press. 2010. Pp. xvi, 255. $32.95 paperback. ISBN 978-0-879-07322-0.)

For those who teach the history of twelfth-century monasticism, the arrival of this translation of the lives of two reformers from that age is a happy occasion. This volume has two lives of Robert of La Chaise-Dieu (d. 1067), who oversaw the creation of a congregation of new Benedictine houses from the mother-abbey of La Chaise-Dieu in the Auvergne. The first is by Marbod of Rennes (1035-1123) and the second by a monk of Robert's own abbey, Bernard of La Chaise Dieu, written c. 1160. The third life, of the hermit and monastic founder Stephen of Obazine, is composed in three books. The first of these was written about 1166, and the second and third books were composed about 11 80. These were all by an unnamed author who became a monk at Obazine after Stephen's death, but had met Stephen before Obazine 's foundation.1

In terms of elucidating the lives of monastic reformers of the twelfth century, this volume bears comparison to recent publications of the two lives of Robert of Arbrissel (d. 1116) by Baudri of DoI (or Bourgeuil (c. 1118) and that by a Robert's chaplain Andreas of Fontevrault (c. 1 12O).2 Not only did Stephen of Obazine cross paths with Robert of Arbrissel in western France, but another companion was Blessed Bernard of Tiron, whose life as written by Geoffrey Grossus c. …

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