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Cistercians are men and women who in countries around the world live in monasteries following the Rule of Saint Benedict and the Constitutions of the two Cistercian Orders. In 1098 the first small group of Cistercians settled in a Burgundian marsh (cisterna, in Latin), where they determined to live in faithful adherence to the Rule, in communities shaped by common prayer and liturgy, manual labor, and personal reflection. They read the Bible, the writings of the church fathers, and the documents of centuries of Christian faith and monasticism. Today as in their first centuries they write about the love of God and love of neighbor, centered in faith in the incarnate Christ.

Since 1968 we at Cistercian Publications have published books in monastic history and spirituality, reaching backward to the early church and forward to the lives and thought of today's laypeople, monks and nuns, and priests. Our initial goal was to provide English translations of works by early Cistercian writers as well as by other fathers and mothers of the church for those who could not easily read those works in the original languages. Over the years we have expanded into contemporary scholarly and spiritual writing.

Cistercian Publications works appear in three series. Cistercian Fathers contains translations of works by early Cistercian authors such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Gertrude the Great of Helfta. Cistercian Studies contains both translations of works by other authors—e.g., the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Gregory the Great, Hildegard of Bingen, the Venerable Bede, and Æthelwold of Winchester—and related scholarly studies. Monastic Wisdom contains works encouraging spiritual exploration and growth, including works by and about recent figures such as Thomas Merton and Blessed Gabriella of Grottaferrata.