Our Lady Of The Cloister
Country : France
Year : 1624
A certain young man entered the Cistercian Monastery at Citreaux. He had been softly brought up, and found the religious life very hard, especially the coarse fare that was served in the refectory. He almost died of hunger, for he could not force himself to eat of it. He therefore prayed with great fervor to Our Blessed Lady to help him to overcome this weakness of the flesh.
One night, when he had prayed even more earnestly than usual, he fell asleep with the piece of bread that had been given him for his supper in his hand; it was so hard and sour that he could not eat it.
Our Lady, who is full of tenderness for those young souls who seek to follow her Son in the narrow way of religion, had compassion on him and came to him where he lay, and said “Come, little Son, rise up and follow me, and I will give you that food of which you stand in need. Now shall you eat and be satisfied, for the bread I will give you is the banquet which my Son had spread for his friends.”
He rose up, full of joy at her kind words. She took him to the place where the great Crucifix was hung, whereon Our Lord and Savior shows His Five Sacred Wounds.
“Look,” she said, “here is your feast made ready, for My Son died to make all things sweet to you. Take this crust of bread, which you so much dread, and dip it into His Wounded Side, which was pierced for you; thereby you shall know the savor of that food wherewith poverty is nourished for His sake.”
When with great awe and reverence he had dipped his crust in the Wound of Our Savior’s Side, Our Lady said to him: “Behold the Bread of Angels”, and when the novice ate of that crust, an exceeding great peace entered his soul, his hunger was stilled, and he was refreshed in body and mind. It seemed to him the sweetest food he had ever tasted. Kneeling down, he gave thanks to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, and was filled with love to endure the hardships of holy poverty, for He knew Our Lord would strengthen him through the virtue of His Most Sacred Passion.
This may be only a legend but it shows the prudence of Our Blessed Mother in a true manner. She chose this gentle and persuasive way to correct the monk of his weakness, when all other means might have failed.