(Or Geert De Groote; Gerhardus Magnus.)
Founder of the
Brethren of the Common Life, b. 1340 at Deventer, Gelderland; d.
20 Aug., 1384. From the chapter school in his native town Geert went for higher
studies first to Aachen, then to Paris, where at the Sorbonne he studied
medicine, theology, and canon law. He returned home, barely eighteen years old.
In 1362 he was appointed teacher at the Deventer chapter school. A few years
later his admiring countrymen sent him to Avignon on a secret mission to Pope
Urban V. Soon after we find him in Cologne teaching philosophy and theology,
enjoying two prebends and ample means. Warnings of the vanity and danger of this
life he heeded not until he met his fellow-student of the Sorbonne, Henry Æger
of Calcar, prior of the Chartreuse of Munnikhuizen near Arnheim. Geert stripped
himself at once of honours, prebends, and possessions and entered seriously upon
the practice of devout life. At this time he also frequently visited the famous
ascetic Ruysbroek, and no doubt by the advice of this man of God he withdrew
into the monastery of Munnikhuizen, where he spent three years in recollection
and prayer. From his retreat he issued burning with apostolic zeal. He had
received the diaconate and licence to preach in the Diocese of Utrecht wherever
he wished. Young men especially flocked to him in great numbers. Some of these
he sent to his schools, others he occupied at transcribing good books, to all he
taught thorough Christian piety. Florence Radewyns, his favourite disciple,
asked him one day:
Master, why not put our efforts and earnings together, why
not work and pray together under the guidance of our Common Father? In perfect
accord both set to work and founded at Zwolle the
Brethren of the Common Life.
His fearless attacks on vice, which spared neither priest nor monk, developed
considerable opposition, which culminated in the withdrawal of his licence to
preach. He submitted to episcopal authority, but applied to the Soveregin
Pontiff for redress. Henceforth his communities, which were spreading rapidly
through the Netherlands, Lower Germany, and Westphalia, claimed and received all
his attention. He contemplated organizing his clerics into a community of canons
regular, but it was left to Radewyns, his successor, to realize this plan at
Windesheim two years later. Before the answer to his petition to the pope
arrived, Geert De Groote died from pestilence, contracted in ministering to the
sick. Groote was the first successful practical mystic, who worked and prayed,
and taught others to do the same. He did much for literature in general, for the
spread of knowledge, and for the development of the vernacular in the
Netherlands and Germany. Of his biographies the
Vita Gerardi of Thomas à
Kempis still remains the best.
Kerkgesch, van Nederl.; DELPART, Broederschap van Geert Groot (Arnheim, 1856); ACQUOY, Het Kloester te Windesheim; WEISS, Weltgeschichte, vol. VI (Graz and Leipzig, 1894).
Suchen bei amazon: Bücher über Catholic Encyclopedia - Gerard Groote
korrekt zitieren: Artikel
Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet das Ökumenische Heiligenlexikon in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://d-nb.info/969828497 abrufbar.