St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote to a couple that had a miscarriage. In response to their question, “What is going to happen to my child? The child didn’t get baptized,” St. Bernard said, “Your faith spoke for this child. Baptism for this child was only delayed by time. Your faith suffices. The waters of your womb — were they not the waters of life for this child? Look at your tears. Are they not like the waters of baptism? Do not fear this. God’s ability to love is greater than our fears. Surrender everything to God.”
This anecdote is on several sites for grieving couples. I do not wish in any way to add to anyone’s grief, and the closing line of the alleged saying is excellent advice no matter who originated it. But a friend asked if I knew which letter contains this.
According to Wikipedia, St. Bernard wrote 547 letters that are still extant. The Patrologia Latina has 460 of them (perhaps the others have been found in the centuries since the PL was prepared). The invaluable site Documenta Catholica Omnia has these 460 as Word documents I can search. (They are grouped into 100 per file, except the last file, so I had to do only five downloads, not 460.)
The letters are in Latin, so I chose relatively unusual words in the possible quotation. I settled on lacrima (tear) and baptismus (baptism). Note for Latin scholars: I actually searched for the letters lacri and baptis so that any ending would match. In particular, the word baptism can occur in masculine, feminine, and neuter form. Just searching for baptis avoids the whole issue.
I searched all the letters first for baptis and then, independent of the first search, for lacri so as to pick up places where OCR/typing might have gotten one word or the other wrong. I found no matches. The phrase might be in one of the 87 letters I don’t have access to; I am pretty confident it’s not in any of the 460 I do have.
I was unable to find any citations by Googling. The alleged quotation is not listed on Wikiquote.
Because of the 87 letters I don’t have, I’m reluctant to say for certain that St. Bernard did not write this. But I am also reluctant to say that he did.