- Cullman, Alabama

December 24, 2012

Founding members of the Clairvaux Society honored at inaugural dinner

St. Bernard’s Media Relations

CULLMAN — The Clairvaux Society of Saint Bernard officially recognized and honored its founding members in an Inaugural Dinner on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. Twenty-seven of the 53 founding members attended with spouses, family, and friends, and joined the monks of Saint Bernard Abbey in the celebration; some of the members traveled from as far away as Alaska. Members of the Clairvaux Society have made a planned-gift commitment to ensure the future success of Saint Bernard for many generations. Funds generated through the Clairvaux Society, $6.5M to date, will be maintained in an endowment which will maintain principle and utilize earnings only.

The evening began with the celebration of Mass held in the Abbey Church.  Before the final dismissal Abbot Cletus Meagher blessed the lapel pins that were given to the newly inducted members. In his homily, Abbot Cletus spoke of the Advent season and the power of waiting, especially the waiting for the coming of the Lord.  “It all serves a purpose,” he explained, “to fulfill the plan of God.”

The members and guests convened to the Brahma Room after Mass, being greeted and feted by the monks of Saint Bernard Abbey. The program was opened with a welcome by Director of Development, Rev. Marcus J. Voss, O.S.B. Dr. Joe Norman, a 1950s graduate of St. Bernard High School and Junior College, was the keynote speaker. He described to the audience “Why I chose to include Saint Bernard in my estate plans.” According to Dr. Norman, when he made the decision to do so, it was pointed out that he “wasn’t even Catholic.” Dr. Joe drew a laugh from the participants when he commented, “what’s that got to do with anything?!”

After Dr. Norman’s address, Abbot Cletus Meagher addressed that topic of “What the Planned Gift Means to Saint Bernard.” In his remarks he said, “Because of this Society, the monks of St. Bernard will be able to serve future generations of Bernardians. You enable us to continue the mission of our both our Abbey and our School.”

The Invocation and Blessing of the meal was provided by Rev. Joel Martin, O.S.B.  After a delicious dinner provided by Chef Allie Foster-Williams and served by the students of St. Bernard Prep School, Chris Rooney, Saint Bernard Prep School Board Member, called the members of the society forward. Assisted by Father Marcus, Abbot Cletus led the Pinning Ceremony and the Induction of the Founding Members of the Clairvaux Society. Each member was presented with a framed certificate, a personalized (by Abbot Cletus) copy of the book, “St. Bernard of Clairvaux”, and the newly-blessed, gold enameled pin in the likeness of the St. Bernard Coat of Arms. Each member also received a prayer card which explains the meaning of the Coat of Arms.

The Saint Bernard Abbey and Preparatory School Clairvaux Society is named in honor of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the patron saint of St. Bernard Abbey. The Clairvaux Society of Saint Bernard was instituted in 2010 as part of the Abbey’s 10-year strategic plan, as a means to procure future funds in the form of estate planning, in order to ensure the continuation of St. Bernard Abbey and School.