ISAAC of STELLA, St. (c.1100–1179), Cistercian monk. Little is known for certain about his life. He was of English origin and by 1147 was abbot of Stella (some 12 miles NE of Poitiers), which had been founded in 1124 and recently become Cistercian. It seems likely that he studied in France before joining the Cistercians. Prob. in 1167, and perhaps because of his support for Thomas Becket, who had fallen out of favor with the Cistercian authorities, Isaac left Stella to set up a monastery (Notre Dame des Châteliers) on the Île de Ré, a few miles off the French coast near La Rochelle. Fifty-five of his sermons survive and two treatises in the form of letters: De Anima, addressed to Alcher of Clairvaux, and De Officio Missae, addressed to John, Bp. of Poitiers. He stands somewhat apart from other Cistercians of the 12th cent. in his positive attitude to the Platonic tradition. Influenced by the so-called ‘School of Chartres’ and the Victorines, and still more deeply by St Augustine, he developed, on the basis of his analysis of the human soul, an understanding of the soul’s ascent to God whereby, through a purification of love, the intelligentia or mens attains union with God in an act of intuitive knowledge.

Works repr. in J. P. Migne, PL 194. 1689–896. Crit. edn. of his Sermons, with Fr. tr., by A. Hoste, OSB, and others (SC 130, 207, and 339; 1967–87). L. Bouyer [Cong. Orat.], La Spiritualité de Cîteaux (1955), pp. 195–232 (Eng. tr., 1958, pp. 161–89). B. McGinn, The Golden Chain: A Study in the Theological Anthropology of Isaac of Stella (Cistercian Studies Series, 15; Washington, DC, 1972). G. Raciti, OCR, in Dict. Sp. 7 (pt. 2; 1971), cols. 2011–38, s.v. ‘Isaac de l’Étoile’.

xcxxcxxc  F ” “ This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.