Reading was an integral part of the
monastic day. Through meditating on the text, the monk could
enhance his spiritual development. At the start
of Lent, each monk was given a book for the year which he was to
read thoroughly during the daily period allocated to reading,
as stipulated in chapter 48
of the Rule of St Benedict.
Reading was not permitted to the lay-brothers,
who were generally illiterate.In the thirteenth century a more
formal approach was taken to education, and the Cistercians founded
a college, or studium,
in Paris, where members of the Order could receive a university
education in an appropriate environment. This was St Bernard’s College.
By the end of the thirteenth century, a studium had been
established in England,
at Oxford. This was Rewley College,
but it was later replaced by St Bernard’s
College, now known as St John ’s College Oxford.