As a young priest, Blessed Bertrand was assigned to a band of missionaries, under the direction of Cistercian fathers, who were charged by the Holy See to bring the Albigenses back to a civilized life and to the Church. I was during this mission work that Blessed Bertrand met Saint Dominic. The two at once became close friends and spiritual brothers.
In A.D. 1215 Blessed Bertrand received the habit of the Order from Saint Dominic. It was apparent that in the very early days of the Order, Blessed Bertrand was considered second in rank only to Saint Dominic himself. This may be evidenced by the fact that Saint Dominic left Blessed Bertrand in charge of the community when he went to Rome in the fall of A.D. 1215 to seek papal confirmation of the Order. In A.D. 1216 Saint Dominic named Blessed Bertrand as the third prior of the Order, in the Church of St. Romanus, when St. Dominic traveled to the Vatican to receive final approbation of the order.
Blessed Bertrand was known for his austere life and his obedience. In fact, Bertrand was often known to wail aloud over his own sins, until Saint Dominic forbade him from wailing for his own sins, but instructed him to bemoan the grave sins of the wicked. In obedience, he immediately took on a life of prayer for the wicked of the world.
The last journey of Saint Dominic and Blessed Bertrand was in A.D. 1219 when the pair traveled to Paris where, upon arrival, the two spent the entire night in prayer at the Notre Dame Church, at Roe-Amadour. Tradition tells us that during this journey the Holy Spirit gave Saint Dominic and Blessed Bertrand the gift of tongues and they were thus able to converse with German pilgrims in their native language. In obedience to Saint Dominic, it appears that Blessed Bertrand did not speak of any of the miracles of Saint Dominic until after his death, and then only to Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the first Master General of the Order after our Father Saint Dominic.
The last apostolic work of Blessed Bertrand was for the Cistercian Sisters of Notre Dame of the Woods at Bouchet, in the Diocese of Valence, where he was giving to these austere sisters a course of sermons on the spiritual life. At only and age of about 35, Blessed Bertrand grew sick and died while with the Cistercian Sisters in A.D. 1230. His body was buried in the conventual cemetery of the Cistercian Nuns near the apse of the abbatial church.
However, shortly after hid death marvellous cures began to come forth through his intercession. As a consequence, the Cistercian Nuns had an altar erected in his honor in their church and placed a statute of Blessed Bertrand upon the altar. Blessed Bertrand's remains, found wholly intact, were afterwards exhumed and placed beneath the altar. However, the remains of Blessed Bertrand were destroyed by fire in A.D. 1561 during the religious wars that followed the Protestant Reformation.
Years later the cemetery of Notre Dame of the Woods became known as "Saint Bertrand's Cemetery," a name that endures to this day. Blessed Bertrand was beatified when his cultus was confirmed on 14 July 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.