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In the course of the centuries, Cistercian life was confronted with the violence of history and with contradictory human aspirations. Linguistic, political and cultural divisions interfered with Cistercian unanimity, wars and revolutions demolished institutions. That is why today Cistercian monks and nuns form several orders and congregations: the Cistercian Order (OCist), The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (OCSO) of which the abbey of Cîteaux is a part, and the congregations of the Bernardines. To these religious institutes, we must add the last born of our Cistercian family: groups of Lay Cistercians.
Although Cistercians do not have a single juridical structure, they recognize a common patrimony: their fathers, a spiritual tradition, a sense of brotherhood and of communion, the taste for simplicity. During the anniversary of the foundation of Cîteaux in 1998, Cistercian men and women of all observances were gathered at Cîteaux, their common source, happy to discover themselves as one family.
On the occasion of this event, the community at Cîteaux became aware of its mission at the service of communion in the Cistercian family. Our community lives in the place of our origins. Each Cistercian monk or nun can feel at home at Cîteaux. Each monk of Cîteaux knows he is welcome with special honor when he visits a Cistercian house. We give thanks for this communion of charity which is forged beyond all distinctions.