William of Saint Thierry left all things in his search for God. He left his home in Liège (modern Belgium) to study in France. He left the schools to enter Benedictine monastic life at Rheims. And late in life he left the Benedictines to enter the most austere, recently founded Cistercian abbey of Signy in the Ardennes forest. What he did not leave was his keen intellect and his vehement love of Truth.
In the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, The Song of Songs was a favorite book of Cistercian monks. Bernard of Clairvaux, Gilbert of Hoyland, and John of Ford, as well as William of Saint Thierry, read it as a dialogue between Christ the Bridegroom and the human soul, the Bride. William of Saint Thierry began composing his commentary soon after entering the Cistercian abbey of Signy in 1135. Having left behind a busy life as a Benedictine abbot and author of theological treatises, he turned to writing meditations on Scripture as the means of listening to the voice of the Beloved.
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