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During the 12th century, the Cistercian Order, which followed the Benedictine Rule, founded numerous abbeys in England, and many masons joined the order as lay brothers or ?converts.? Because of their participation in monastic life, masons incorporated elements from both the Benedictine Rule and the Cistercian Ritual into their own usages and ceremonies. Among the elements coming from the monastic customs and rituals we find expressions such as ?free and of good report? and ?just and perfect,? as well as the Sign of Grief and Distress, the prayers, the examination of the candidates, the posture during the Obligation, the need to render the masonic oath into a Solemn Obligation by kissing the Volume of the Sacred Law, the participation of the Brethren in the reception of the neophyte, the Charity Test or the custom of taking the new brother to a seat near the Senior Deacon. The Festive Board also follows accurately the monastic customs, as it borrows from monastic usages the arrangement of the table, the blessings, the location of the Master and the Wardens, and the Toast List, particularly the Toast to Absent Brethren and the Tyler?s Toast. Rather than speaking of influence, the reality is that the Benedictine Rule and the Cistercian Ritual formed the crucible where the Masonic ritual was forged.