Bertrand lived in the last half of the twelfth and first part of the thirteenth centuries. His country, France, was troubled by religious wars. There was great confusion about Church teaching. Bertrand's parents managed to live a peaceful life and they taught the true faith to their son. In 1200, the Cistercian monasteries were attacked by an army led by Raymond of Toulouse. He believed in a heresy called Albigensianism. He attacked people who did not believe as he did. He especially persecuted the Cistercian monks. They were trying very hard to help people know about the true Catholic faith.
Bertrand became a Cistercian and a priest. Around 1208, he met St. Dominic. This was God's invitation to him to begin a very important ministry. He was one of the six men who joined Dominic in 1215 to form a new religious congregation, the Order of Preachers. They are often called "Dominicans" after their founder. Blessed Bertrand was sent to Paris to start the order there. After a short while, St. Dominic called for Friar Bertrand to go to Bologna to establish the order there. Bertrand obeyed happily. Meanwhile, the Order of Preachers was growing. They preached the Gospel message in the towns and countryside. They wanted people to know and love their Catholic faith. In 1219, Blessed Bertrand accompanied St. Dominic on a trip to Paris. He loved and admired St. Dominic very much.
The Dominicans had a big meeting in 1221, called a General Chapter. Bertrand was there. The order was divided into eight provinces so that the religious and their ministries could be more effective. Bertrand was made the superior or provincial of southern France. He spent the rest of his life preaching and helping people grow closer to God. He died in 1230 and was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.
Reflection: Let us pray today for those who devote their lives to educating people about the Faith.