St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
The son of Eilaf, a Saxon priest, Aelred was educated at Roxburgh, the ancient Scottish capital, where he was known for his intellectual talents.
As a child, Aelred foretold the death of an archbishop of York. When Aelred finished his education, he became a steward to King David of Scotland. He left his job c. 1133 to join the Cistercian community at Rievaulx.
He became the first abbot of Rievaulx’s daughter-house in Revesby, Lincolnshire, but returned to Rievaulx in 1147. During the last ten years of his life, his health deteriorated, and suffered from gout and a severe cough. St. Aelred penned his most famous work, The Mirror of Charity, at the request of Bernard of Clairvaux. On Spiritual Friendship is a Christianized version of Cicero’s DeAmicitia. Aelred also penned lives of St. Ninian and of Edward the Confessor, in addition to a rule for recluses and a genealogy of the kings of England. His correspondence and his work on St. Cuthbert have been lost.