The day Bernard was born, his mother raised him up to Heaven and consecrated him to God. Although she was gentle and loving, she was also firm and resolute. She was attentive to all her children, giving of herself completely, but with this her third born son, she knew in her heart she had been given a special gift from God and she wanted to nurture him and prepare him for his role on earth. The results: Bernard grew up obedient, brave, hardworking and surprisingly unspoiled, not unlike his other siblings.

He was one of seven children: Guy, Gerard, Humbeline and Nivard (who were all declared Blessed), Andrew and Bartholomew. All were intelligent and had the finest education. But whereas his brothers engaged in arts of knighthood, possibly preparing for military careers or knighthood, Bernard entered Châtillon on the Seine pursuing a career as a secular canon. Even then he showed the spirit of a future contemplative, choosing to be alone. He excelled, rising above all the dreams and aspirations his parents had for him. He was an outstanding student! His parents moved into one of their homes near the school their children were attending, so they could be close to them.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

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