Our Founders, Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen, were members of Molesme, a fervent and prosperous Benedictine community in France. They had become dissatisfied with Molesme’s increasing wealth, desiring instead, the spiritual gain of poverty.
By common consent, these men and others, totaling 21, settled in a harsh swamp land they had been given in a forest at Citeaux in Burgundy, France. It was here that they formed a new community on March 21,1098. The Latinized form of Citeaux is Cistercium, hence our name: Cistercians. Our founders desired to be truly poor with the poor Christ, returning to the Rule of St Benedict in all its simplicity.