World  Spiritual  Heritage

Life and teaching of John Ruusbroec

| | |

John Ruusbroec : Biography

Surnamed the Admirable Doctor, and the Divine Doctor, undoubtedly the foremost of the Flemish mystics, b. at Ruysbroeck, near Brussels, 1293; d. at Groenendael, 2 Dec., 1381. He was blessed with a devout mother, who trained him from infancy in the ways of piety and holiness. Of his father we know nothing; John's only family name, van Ruysbroeck, is taken from his native hamlet. At the age of eleven he forsook his mother, departing without leave or warning, to place himself under the guidance and tuition of his uncle, John Hinckaert, a saintly priest and a canon of St. Gudule's, Brussels, who with a fellow-canon of like mind, Francis van Coudenberg, was following a manner of life modelled on the simplicity and fervour of Apostolic days. This uncle provided for Ruysbroeck's education with a view to the priesthood. In due course, Blessed John was presented with a prebend in St. Gudule's, and ordained in 1317. His mother had followed him to Brussels, entered a Béguinage there, and made a happy end shortly before his ordination. For twenty-six years Ruysbroeck continued to lead, together with his uncle Hinckaert and van Coudenberg, a life of extreme austerity and retirement. At that time the Brethren of the Free Spirit were causing considerable trouble in the Netherlands, and one of them, a woman named Bloemardinne, was particularly active in Brussels, propagating her false tenets chiefly by means of popular pamphlets. In defence of the Faith Ruysbroeck responded with pamphlets also written in the native tongue. Nothing of these treatises remains; but the effect of the controversy was so far permanent with Ruysbroeck that his later writings bear constant reference, direct and indirect, to the heresies, especially the false mysticism, of the day, and he composed always in the idiom of the country, chiefly with a view to counteracting the mischief of the heretical writings scattered broadcast among the people in their own tongue.

The desire for a more retired life, and possibly also the persecution which followed Ruysbroeck's attack on Bloemardinne, induced the three friends to quit Brussels in 1343, for the hermitage of Groenendael, in the neighbouring forest of Soignes, which was made over to them by John III, Duke of Brabant. But here so many disciples joined the little company that it was found expedient to organize into a duly-authorized religious body. The hermitage was erected into a community of canons regular, 13 March, 1349, and eventually it became the motherhouse of a congregation, which bore its name of Groenendael. Francis van Coudenberg was appointed first provost, and Blessed John Ruysbroeck prior. John Hinckaert refrained from making the canonical profession lest the discipline of the house should suffer from the exemptions required by the infirmities of his old age; he dwelt, therefore, in a cell outside the cloister, and there a few years later happily passed away. This period, from his religious profession (1349) to his death (1381), was the most active and fruitful of Ruysbroeck's career.


John Ruusbroec : Bibliography

- John Ruusbroec, The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works, Classics of Western Spirituality 48, trans. James A. Wiseman (New York: Paulist Press, 1985) paperback, $18.

John Ruusbroec : Portraits

John Ruusbroec
John Ruusbroec

John Ruusbroec : Links

Christianity / Catholicism, Christianity / Gnostics, Christianity / Orthodoxy, Christianity / Protestantism, Abbé Pierre, Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery, Angela of Foligno, Appolonius Of Tyana, Archimandrite Sophrony, Athenagoras, Dante Alighieri, Desert Fathers, Diadochos of Photiki, Dionysius the Areopagite, Ephrem, Fénélon, François De Sales, Heinrich Suso, Henri Le Saux, Hesychius of Jerusalem, Hildegard of Bingen, Hippolytus, Jacob Boehme, Jean Pierre de Caussade, Jesus Christ, John Ruusbroec, Martin Luther King, Meister Eckhart, Mother Teresa, Nicephorus the Solitary, Nicholas of Cusa, Nicolas Berdiaev, Origčne, Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Evagrios the Solitary, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Hesychios the Priest, Saint Isaac the Syrian, Saint Jacques, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Macarius of Egypt, Saint Mark the Ascetic, Saint Paul, Saint Seraphim de Sarov, Saint Silouane l'Athonite, Saint Symeon the New Theologian, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Simon Le Mage, Simon Magus, The Bible, The Corpus Hermetica, The Philokalia, Thomas a Kempis, Thomas Traherne, Unknown, etc.

External Link Charter

All links to religious organisation are forbidden. Only links to informative content Website are approved. If you find any link in contradiction with our charter, please let us know by email.

External Links
Pictures : Art Search Engine
On line Books : On line Books about Christianity
On line Books : On line Books about Christianity
Study : Study: Mysticism: Buddhism and Christian