Thursday, May 16, 2013

Richard, First Abbot of Fountains

The ruins of Fountains.  Thanks, Henry.
It has been a while since I have run across something so long that it needed to be posted here rather than on Facebook and the end of the semester has slowed me down in general, but one of the entries in yesterday's section of the Menology was that for Richard, fist abbot of Fountains in Yorkshire.  I will draw no contemporary moral for the story, though I'm sure there is more than one to be found about perseverence in adversity, etc.  Chalk this one up to just because.

In England, Blessed Richard, first Abbot of Fountains.  He had been Prior of St. Mary’s of York when the thirst of leading a more perfect life urged him to leave that house, along with twelve associates, to follow the Rule of Citeaux.  The had the happy encouragement of our Father St. Bernard, who wrote to them stating that is was indeed easier to find a multitude of seculars converted to a good life than to witness a religious pass to a better observance.  He even sent them the Monk Geoffrey of Ainai to initiate them into our discipline.  Under his guidance, they began to build cabins, and to chant, as the old monk instructed them.  Yet, for two years, they had to suffer the hardship of of so great poverty that their food consisted in the leaves of trees and wild herbs.  Finally, as history records, the Lord multiplied the brethren and, enlarging his vineyard, shed therein the dew of his benediction, so that the monastery materially increased in possessions, and, much more, spiritually in sanctity.  Its name became very famous, and the Princes of the land revered it.  However, Blessed Richard went to receive a still better reward in Heaven, and to enjoy forever the glory merited by his labors and virtues.

Richard died at Rome while attending the Second Lateran Council. Perhaps the moral of the story is that, despite the best of intentions, one is never beyond the reach and, perhaps, allure of bureaucracy and intrigue.