The Cistercian Order


Founders St. Robert, St. Alberic, and St. Stephen Harding.

Cistercian monks and nuns derive their name and origins from a place in France called CĂ®teaux (in Latin, “Cistercium”), where in 1098 St. Robert of Molesme and twenty-one monks founded a seminal monastery. Today, two canonically distinct religious orders share the heritage of Citeaux: the Cistercian Order (O. Cist.), sometimes called “Common Observance” Cistercians; and the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), more commonly known as “Trappists” on account of their derivation from the seventeenth-century, French reform associated with the Abbey of La Trappe. Both orders have men’s and women’s monasteries with communities throughout the world. Our Lady of Dallas belongs to the first of these, the Cistercian Order. Today, it is the only abbey of the Cistercian Order in the United States, though there are several other communities of men residing in smaller monasteries or priories in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A community of Cistercian Order nuns, Valley of Our Lady Monastery, is located in Wisconsin.