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Besides Bernard, three authors, contemporary with Bernard, stand out because of the quality of their writings.
Don Anselme Le Bail spoke of the “four evangelists of Cîteaux.”
These are, along with Bernard , Aelred of Rievaulx , William of Saint-Thierry the admirer and friend of Bernard, et Guerric of Igny Even .
When Aelred, the youngest, was born, Bernard was 19 and still living at the castle of Fontaine; he would enter Cîteaux in three years. William was an adolescent and would become a monk at the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Nicaise in six years. Guerric was adult and in sixteen years he would enter Cîteaux, already fairly old.
This four great men were not alone in forming what we call the “Cistercian school.”
We can cite, among others, in the chronological order of their deaths: Amédée de Lausanne (1109-1158), Isaac de l'Etoile (1110-1168), Gilbert de Hoyland (vers 1110-1172), Geoffroy d'Auxerre (vers 1120 - 1188), Baudoin de Ford (vers 1125 - 1190), Ogier de Locédio (1140 - 1214), Jean de Ford (1145 - 1214), Adam de Perseigne (1145 - 1221), Hélinand de Froidmont (vers 1145 - 1230).
We can also add two nuns:
Béatrice de Nazareth (vers 1200-1268) et Gertrude d'Helfta (vers 1256-1302) who brought their own mark to the experience of their older brothers. All were seekers of God, as is shown in their writings.
Selection of texts from the 4 « evangelists »
> The site of ARCCIS suggests an anthology of Cistercian texts by Bernard of Clairvaux and Aelred of Rievaulx.
Selection of texts from the Cistercian school