The Institute of Cistercian Studies exists to encourage and facilitate reseach on the history and content of the Cistercian tradition. Founded in 1973 as a cooperative venture by Western Michigan University and Cistercian Publications Inc., the Institute sponsors an annual Cistercian Studies Conference, held in conjunction with the International Congress on Medieval Studies sponsored by The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University. There scholars from Europe and North America come together to discuss their research in the history, theology, liturgy, manuscript tradition, economics, art and archaeology of the Order. Visiting specialists are also invited to speak on campus and at Cistercian Abbeys in the United States. Workshops on specific themes drawn from the Cistercian/monastic tradition and field trips to Cistercian sites are sometimes held during the summer months.

The Institute maintains a library collection of medieval manuscripts, incunabula (early books printed between the invention of the printing press and the year 1500), rare and scholarly books from and about the Cistercian Order. This collection is housed in Waldo Library,under the direction of the Special Collections Librarian, who is also the Librarian of the Institute of Cistercian Studies. The combined University and Institute book and journal holdings in Cistercian and medieval studies form one of the best collections on the subject in the world. Graduate students are allowed access to the rare book collection as part of their training in paleography and historical studies, providing them with an opportunity to work with physical manuscripts in addition to facsimiles.

Cistercian Publications Inc., a publishing house specializing in English translations of medieval and late antique monastic texts and in studies on the monastic tradition, maintains its editorial offices at the Institute of Cistercian Studies in Walwood Hall. Its books are available at its offices and in the Jeremiah F. O'Sullivan Reading Room on the east campus.

The Institute of Cistercian Studies has no course offerings of its own and hence no faculty or students directly attached to it. Classes in monastic history and Cistercian thought are offered through the Department of History and the Medieval Institute. In collaboration with the Haenicke Centre and the Study Abroad Office, these three units offer interested students an opportunity to participate in medieval archaeological excavations in France.

Institute of Cistercian Studies and Cistercian Publications
201E Walwood Hall – Western Michigan University
1903 West Michigan Avenue –
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008
Phone: (269) 387-8920
Fax: (269) 387-8390