The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints

By Jacobus De Voragine; William Granger Ryan | Go to book overview

120.Saint Bernard

Bernard, Bernardus, comes from ber, a well or spring, and nardus, nard, which, as the Gloss on the Canticle of Canticles1 says, is an herb humble, warm in nature, and sweet-smelling. Saint Bernard was warm in his fervent love, humble in his dealings with others, a spring in the outflow of his doctrine, a well in the depth of his knowledge, and sweet-smelling in the fragrance of his good renown.

His life was written by William, abbot of Saint Thierry, an associate of Saint Bernard, and by Arnold, abbot of Bonneval.

Bernard was born in Burgundy at the castle of Fontaines, the child of noble and very religious parents. His father, Celestin, was a knight valorous in worldly affairs and equally devout in his relations with God. His mother was called Aleth. She bore seven children, six sons and a daughter, all her sons future monks, her daughter promised to the religious life. As soon as she had brought forth a child, she offered him or her to God with her own hands. She did not allow her babies to be nursed by other women: it was as though she wished, with her milk, somehow to infuse them with her own goodness. As her children grew up and as long as they were under her care, she trained them for the desert, and fed them with coarse, common food as if to send them out to the wilderness as soon as possible.

While she was still carrying her third son, Bernard, she had a dream that was a presage of things to come: she saw in her womb a little dog, white except for its red back, and the puppy was barking. She told a certain man of God about this dream, and he responded prophetically: “You will be the mother of a very good dog, who will be the watchman of the house of God and will bark against its foes, for he will be a renowned preacher and will cure many by grace of the medicine of his tongue.”

When Bernard was still a small boy, he fell seriously ill with pains in his head. A woman came to assuage his pain with her incantations, but he indignantly shouted at her and drove her away. God’s mercy did not fail the child’s zeal, and he rose at once and realized that he was completely relieved of his illness.

In the holy night of the Lord’s nativity the boy Bernard was in the church, waiting for the morning office, and asked those with him at what hour of the

1 The book called the Song of Solomon in the King James and Revised Versions is called Solomon’s Canticle of Canticles in the Douay.

-484-

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The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction to the 2012 Edition xi
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Prologue 3
  • 1- The Advent of the Lord 4
  • 2- Saint Andrew, Apostle 13
  • 3- Saint Nicholas 21
  • 4- Saint Lucy, Virgin 27
  • 5- Saint Thomas, Apostle 29
  • 6- The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to the Flesh 37
  • 7- Saint Anastasia 43
  • 8- Saint Stephen 45
  • 9- Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist 50
  • 10- The Holy Innocents 56
  • 11- Saint Thomas of Canterbury 59
  • 12- Saint Silvester 62
  • 13- The Circumcision of the Lord 71
  • 14- The Epiphany of the Lord 78
  • 15- Saint Paul, Hermit 84
  • 16- Saint Remy 85
  • 17- Saint Hilary 87
  • 18- Saint Macarius 89
  • 19- Saint Felix 91
  • 20- Saint Marcellus 92
  • 21- Saint Anthony 93
  • 22- Saint Fabian 96
  • 23- Saint Sebastian 97
  • 24- Saint Agnes, Virgin 101
  • 25- Saint Vincent 105
  • 26- Saint Basil, Bishop 108
  • 27- Saint John the Almsgiver 113
  • 28- The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle 119
  • 29- Saint Paula 121
  • 30- Saint Julian 126
  • 31- Septuagesima 132
  • 32- Sexagesima 134
  • 33- Quinquagesima 135
  • 34- Quadragesima 137
  • 35- The Ember Day Fasts 139
  • 36- Saint Ignatius 140
  • 37- The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary 143
  • 38- Saint Blaise 151
  • 39- Saint Agatha, Virgin 154
  • 40- Saint Vaast 157
  • 41- Saint Amand 158
  • 42- Saint Valentine 159
  • 43- Saint Juliana 160
  • 44- The Chair of Saint Peter 162
  • 45- Saint Matthias, Apostle 166
  • 46- Saint Gregory 171
  • 47- Saint Longinus 184
  • 48- Saint Sophia and Her Three Daughters 185
  • 49- Saint Benedict 186
  • 50- Saint Patrick 193
  • 51- The Annunciation of the Lord 196
  • 52- Saint Timothy 202
  • 53- The Passion of the Lord 203
  • 54- The Resurrection of the Lord 216
  • 55- Saint Secundus 225
  • 56- Saint Mary of Egypt 227
  • 57- Saint Ambrose 229
  • 58- Saint George 238
  • 59- Saint Mark, Evangelist 242
  • 60- Saint Marcellinus, Pope 248
  • 61- Saint Vitalis 249
  • 62- A Virgin of Antioch 250
  • 63- Saint Peter Martyr 254
  • 64- Saint Fabian 266
  • 65- Saint Philip, Apostle 267
  • 66- Saint Apollonia 268
  • 67- Saint James, Apostle 269
  • 68- The Finding of the Holy Cross 277
  • 69- Saint John before the Latin Gate 284
  • 70- The Greater and Lesser Litanies 285
  • 71- Saint Boniface, Martyr 289
  • 72- The Ascension of the Lord 291
  • 73- The Holy Spirit 299
  • 74- Saints Gordianus and Epimachus 308
  • 75- Saints Nereus and Achilleus 309
  • 76- Saint Pancratius 311
  • 77- Saint Urban 314
  • 78- Saint Petronilla 315
  • 79- Saint Peter the Exorcist 316
  • 80- Saints Primus and Felicianus 317
  • 81- Saint Barnabas, Apostle 318
  • 82- Saints Vitus and Modestus 322
  • 83- Saint Quiricus and His Mother Saint Julitta 323
  • 84- Saint Marina, Virgin 324
  • 85- Saints Gervasius and Protasius 326
  • 86- The Birth of Saint John the Baptist 328
  • 87- Saints John and Paul 336
  • 88- Saint Leo, Pope 339
  • 89- Saint Peter, Apostle 340
  • 90- Saint Paul, Apostle 350
  • 91- The Seven Brothers, Sons of Saint Felicity 364
  • 92- Saint Theodora 365
  • 93- Saint Margaret 368
  • 94- Saint Alexis 371
  • 95- Saint Praxedes 374
  • 96- Saint Mary Magdalene 375
  • 97- Saint Apollinaris 383
  • 98- Saint Christina 386
  • 99- Saint James the Greater 389
  • 100- Saint Christopher 396
  • 101- The Seven Sleepers 401
  • 102- Saints Nazarius and Celsus 404
  • 103- Saint Felix, Pope 408
  • 104- Saints Simplicius and Faustinus 409
  • 105- Saint Martha 410
  • 106- Saints Abdon and Sennen 412
  • 107- Saint Germain, Bishop 413
  • 108- Saint Eusebius 416
  • 109- The Holy Maccabees 419
  • 110- Saint Peter in Chains 420
  • 111- Saint Stephen, Pope 425
  • 112- The Finding of Saint Stephen, the First Martyr 426
  • 113- Saint Dominic 430
  • 114- Saint Sixtus 444
  • 115- Saint Donatus 445
  • 116- Saint Cyriacus and His Companions 447
  • 117- Saint Laurence, Martyr 449
  • 118- Saint Hippolytus and His Companions 460
  • 119- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 463
  • 120- Saint Bernard 484
  • 121- Saint Timothy 494
  • 122- Saint Symphorian 495
  • 123- Saint Bartholomew 496
  • 124- Saint Augustine 502
  • 125- The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist 518
  • 126- Saints Felix and Adauctus 526
  • 127- Saints Savinian and Savina 527
  • 128- Saint Lupus 530
  • 129- Saint Mamertinus 531
  • 130- Saint Giles 533
  • 131- The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary 535
  • 132- Saints Cornelius and Cyprian 544
  • 133- Saint Lambert 545
  • 134- Saint Adrian and His Companions 546
  • 135- Saints Gorgonius and Dorotheus 550
  • 136- Saints Protus and Hyacinthus 551
  • 137- The Exaltation of the Holy Cross 554
  • 138- Saint John Chrysostom 559
  • 139- Saint Euphemia 567
  • 140- Saint Matthew, Apostle 569
  • 141- Saint Maurice and His Companions 575
  • 142- Saint Justina, Virgin 578
  • 143- Saints Cosmas and Damian 582
  • 144- Saint Fursey, Bishop 585
  • 145- Saint Michael, Archangel 587
  • 146- Saint Jerome 597
  • 147- Saint Remy 602
  • 148- Saint Leger 604
  • 149- Saint Francis 606
  • 150- Saint Pelagia 616
  • 151- Saint Margaret 618
  • 152- Saint Thais, Courtesan 620
  • 153- Saints Dionysius, Rusticus, and Eleutherius 622
  • 154- Saint Callistus 628
  • 155- Saint Leonard 629
  • 156- Saint Luke, Evangelist 633
  • 157- Saints Chrysanthus and Daria 641
  • 158- The Eleven Thousand Virgins 642
  • 159- Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles 646
  • 160- Saint Quentin 651
  • 161- Saint Eustace 652
  • 162- All Saints 658
  • 163- The Commemoration of All Souls 666
  • 164- The Four Crowned Martyrs 676
  • 165- Saint Theodore 677
  • 166- Saint Martin, Bishop 678
  • 167- Saint Brice 687
  • 168- Saint Elizabeth 688
  • 169- Saint Cecilia 704
  • 170- Saint Clement 709
  • 171- Saint Chrysogonus 719
  • 172- Saint Catherine 720
  • 173- Saints Saturninus, Perpetua, Felicity, and Their Companions 728
  • 174- Saint James the Dismembered 729
  • 175- Saint Pastor 733
  • 176- Saint John, Abbot 735
  • 177- Saint Moses, Abbot 736
  • 178- Saint Arsenius, Abbot 738
  • 179- Saint Agathon, Abbot 740
  • 180- Saints Barlaam and Josaphat 741
  • 181- Saint Pelagius, Pope the History of the Lombards 753
  • 182- The Dedication of a Church 771
  • Index 783
  • The Golden Legend 789
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