Have the goods you purchase been bought or produced at a fair price? Learn more about Catholic responsibilities at the mall & marketplace.
During this program, we’ll learn about Catholic Relief Services’ Fair Trade program, which promotes fair wages and human dignity for farmers, laborers, craftsmen and women. What are your obligations as a Catholic Christian to participate in fair trade activities? How does fair trade work? Our guests, Jacqueline DeCarlo and Daniel Lizarraga, will answer these questions and more. Tune in!
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- Catholic Relief Services – Fair Trade (Official Website)
- Catholic Relief Services (Official Website)
- Jackie DeCarlo’s book, Fair Trade: A Beginner’s Guide
- Fair Trade Resource Network
Saint of the Week: St. Bernard of Clairvaux (August 20)
Bernard, the founding abbot of Clairvaux Abbey in Burgundy, France, was one of the most commanding Church leaders in the first half of the twelfth century as well as one of the greatest spiritual masters of all times and the most powerful propagator of the Cistercian reform.
He was born in Fontaines-les-Dijon in 1090 and entered the Abbey of Citeaux in 1112, bringing thirty of his relatives with him, including five of his brothers—his youngest brother and his widowed father followed later. He was sent in 1115 to begin a new monastery near Aube: Clairvaux, the Valley of Light. As a young abbot, he published a series of sermons on the Annunciation. These marked him not only as a gifted spiritual writer but also as the “cithara of Mary” (cithara was an ancient Greek instrument similar to the guitar).
Bernard’s spiritual writing as well as his extraordinary personal magnetism began to attract many to Clairvaux and the other Cistercian monasteries, leading to many new foundations. He was drawn into the controversy developing between the new monastic movement vs. the Cluniac order (a branch of the Benedictines). This led to one of Bernard’s most controversial and popular works, his Apologia. Bernard’s dynamism soon reached far beyond monasteries. He was sought as an advisor and mediator by the ruling powers of his age. More than any other, he helped to bring about the healing of the papal schism which arose in 1130 with the election of the antipope Anacletus II. It cost Bernard eight years of laborious travel and skillful mediation. At the same time, he labored for peace and reconciliation between England and France and among many nobles. His influence mounted when his spiritual son was elected pope in 1145. At Eugene III’s command, he preached the Second Crusade and sent vast armies on the road toward Jerusalem. In his last years, he rose from his sickbed and went into the Rhineland to defend the Jews against a savage persecution.
His Extraordinary Writings
Although he suffered from constant physical debility and had to govern a monastery that soon housed several hundred monks and was sending forth groups regularly to begin new monasteries (he personally saw to the establishment of sixty-five of the three hundred Cistercian monasteries founded during his thirty-eight years as abbot), he yet found time to compose many and varied spiritual works that still speak to us today. (Click here to read some; scroll to bottom of the page.) He laid out a solid foundation for the spiritual life in his works on grace and free will, humility and love. His gifts as a theologian were called upon to respond to the dangerous teachings of Peter Abelard, of Gilbert de la Porree and of Arnold of Brescia. His masterpiece, his Sermons on the Song of Songs, was begun in 1136 and was still in composition at the time of his death. With great simplicity and poetic grace, Bernard writes of the deepest experiences of the mystical life in ways that became normative for all succeeding writers. For Pope Eugene, Bernard wrote Five Books on Consideration, the bedside reading of Pope John XXIII and many other pontiffs through the centuries.
Bernard died at Clairvaux on 20 August 1153. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1830.
Every morning Bernard would ask himself, “Why have I come here?”, and then remind himself of his main duty – to lead a holy life. St. Bernard, pray for us!
Biography adapted from the Benedictines.
Pearls of the Week: Free educational materials from CRS Fair Trade resources website -