The order of the Cister is founded in 1098, and Poblet in 1150, when not yet a hundred years have passed. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries are central to the history of our monastery. In fact, they leave us with the main rooms of the house: a space, beautiful and functional, for the search for God. This space has reached us almost intact. The 14th century is still a century of great accomplishments, and also that of the slow, but indefeasible decline. In 1835 the confiscation of Mendizabal led to the exclusion of the community of monks, which did not recover until 1940, with the arrival of a small group of Cistercians in Italy.
We have not talked about illustrious abbots of Poblet, or of counts, of kings, or of constructions ... We think that it is humility that writes the story, really. The grave slab of an ex-abbot of Poblet, Fr Vicenç Ferrer, died in 1411, placed in the cloister, right in front of the chapter room, in the middle, is clearly shown by the grave, so that everyone can step on it when entering and leave, with this single and revealing inscription: Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam, from Psalm 50, the psalm with which Saint Benedict begins each day with the morning praise, at dawn, and in whose recitation he wants all the monks to be present (cf. Rule of Saint Benedict 13, 2). The prayer that, like Abbot Ferrer, we owe to us, with confidence and thanks, because, in the end, the life of the monk is summed up in this attitude of abandonment to God: "never to despair of the mercy of God ”(Rule of St. Benedict 4, 74).
The Charter of Charity is a short document, written in Latin, from the 12th century, which officially gives birth to the Cistercian Order, as it defines its internal organization and form of government. The author of the text is Cister's third abbot, Esteve Harding (1108-1133). This constitutional text is still the reference document for the organization of the Cistercian Order, with the understanding that it does not replace the Rule of Saint Benedict in any way. On the occasion of the first foundations of Cister (La Ferté, 1113 and Pontigny, 1114), Esteve Harding prepared this text, the Charter of Charity, to regulate relations between the monasteries of an order that was beginning to expand. The first text was discussed with the abbots of La Ferté and Pontigny, and then revised by the general chapters from 1115 to 1119, which already involved 12 abbots. The 1119 text, called the First Charter of Charity, was approved by Pope Calixt II on December 23, 1119.