Life of St. Bernard for Children
from Eight to Ten Years of Age
published by Richardson and Son, 1858

This unique Catholic children's book relates the beautiful story of how St. Bernard became a saint as told by a loving grandmother to her grandchildren.

. . . . . Elizabeth. Dear Grandmamma, will you be so good as to tell me exactly what you mean when you say a person is a Saint; I have heard many people use that word, and they all seem to have a different idea in their minds; will you tell me what makes a Saint?

Grandmamma. First tell me, my dear child, your own feeling on the subject.

Elizabeth. I think a Saint is born perfect, a person who never commits sin, never makes God angry, and I suppose there are never any Saints now.

Grandmamma. My child, your idea of a Saint is that of many people much older, but not much wiser than my little girl; Saints are born with all our own tendency to sin, but they have one blessing which brings all others in its train; they love God better than any thing in this world: the effect of this affection is, that they will suffer anything sooner than make Him angry, and as nothing but sin has that effect, hence their constant endeavour not to commit it, or if through weakness they do anything wrong, they immediately beg His pardon, and ask for strength not to offend Him again.

Elizabeth. Why, Grandmamma, then there is nothing to prevent any one being a Saint.

Grandmamma. Excepting the infirmities of our nature, and not having sufficient love of God; that was not Bernard's case; he truly and deeply loved his heavenly Father, and he grieved with grief too deep for words, for the loss of his gentle mother--he was like one stunned; he had just arrived at the age when a child understands the real, the priceless value of a mother; in early youth we love them by instinct, but as we grow older we see each year more vividly, that the first, truest, and best friend this world will ever give us, is her on whose bosom our infant head softly nestled. Bernard heard her voice no more; no longer could he watch at the great gate for the first glimpse of her figure, returing from the village of Fontaines, on her charitable errands; he had lost the best part of himself, and he was for a time crushed by the blow. The Seigneur Tecelin de Fontaine urged Bernard to choose some settled mode of life, and one day when he was riding to Dijon to see his brothers, feeling very wretched, a voice in his heart seemed to repeat those beautiful words of our blessed Saviour, "take my yoke upon you and you shall find rest for your souls." He was greatly moved, and passing a church door, he knelt before the altar, and prayed to God with many tears to guide him in whatever way He wished him to go: a calm fell on his soul, and he determined to give up the honours of this world, of which we are so soon deprived by death, and to choose that heavenly crown which is not won without many struggles, but lasts for eternity.--pages 11 - 12

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