The Cistercian Order
The Cistercian Order was founded in 1098 by Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Molesmes in France, who wished to return to the original simplicity of gospel living according to the C6th Rule of Saint Benedict. The Order flourished, house of monks and nuns blossoming across Europe. We glean some idea of the vitality of the early years in the writings of the first generations of Cistercians and in the architectural simplicity and harmony of what now lie as ruins at Fountains and Rievaulx in Yorkshire and Tintern in the Wye Valley. From the outset Cistercian women formed an integral part of the Order. In Wales there were two monasteries of Cistercian women, or “White Ladies”, as they were often known because of their cowls of unbleached and undyed wool – at Lanllugan and Llanllyr. Both houses were suppressed in the 1530s. The first Solemn Profession of a Cistercian nun in Wales since the Reformation took place at Holy Cross Abbey, Whitland in August 2003.