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A Mediaeval Mystic A Short Account of the Life and Writings of Blessed John Ruysbroeck, Canon Regular of Groenendael A.D. 1293-1381   By:

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A MEDIÆVAL MYSTIC

A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF BLESSED JOHN RUYSBROECK, CANON REGULAR OF GROENENDAEL A.D. 1293 1381

BY DOM VINCENT SCULLY, C.R.L.

( Permissu Superiorum )

LONDON THOMAS BAKER MCMX

PRINTED BY HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD., LONDON AND AYLESBURY.

TO THE RIGHT REV. AUGUSTIN H. WHITE, C.R.L. LORD ABBOT OF WALTHAM

CONTENTS

Page INTRODUCTION ix I. EARLY YEARS AND EDUCATION 1 II. AS A SECULAR PRIEST IN BRUSSELS 6 III. FALSE MYSTICS 10 IV. THE HERMITAGE OF GROENENDAEL 17 V. THE CANONS REGULAR OF GROENENDAEL 25 VI. PRIOR OF GROENENDAEL 33 VII. RUYSBROECK'S TREE 43 VIII. A DIRECTOR OF SOULS 47 IX. RUYSBROECK AND GERARD GROOTE 50 X. RUYSBROECK AND WINDESHEIM 58 XI. THE WRITINGS OF RUYSBROECK 67 XII. THE TEACHING OF RUYSBROECK 93 XIII. SOME APPRECIATIONS 105 XIV. LAST DAYS 118 XV. THE CULTUS OF BLESSED JOHN RUYSBROECK 124

INTRODUCTION

The object of the following unpretentious little volume is to give a simple and readable account in English of the life and writings of a remarkable Flemish Mystic of the fourteenth century, a contemporary of our own Walter Hilton. Though his memory and honour have never faded in his own native Belgium, and though France and Germany have vied with each other in spreading his teaching and singing his praises, the very name of Blessed John Ruysbroeck is practically unknown this side of the water. We are acquainted with only one small work in English dealing directly with the Saint or his work at all, viz. Reflections from the Mirror of Mystic ,[1] giving the briefest sketch of his life and some short extracts from his writings as translated from the French rendering of Ernest Hello.

The original authorities for the history of Ruysbroeck are practically reduced to one, the biography by Henry Pomerius, a Canon Regular of Groenendael, entitled De Origine monasterii Viridisvallis una cum vitis B. Joannis Rusbrochii primi prioris hujus monasterii et aliquot coaetaneorum ejus , re edited by the Bollandists, Brussels, 1885. It is certain that a disciple of John Ruysbroeck, John of Scoenhoven, also of Groenendael, who undertook the defence of Blessed John's writings against Gerson, composed a short biography, but this was embodied in the work of Pomerius, and thereby as a separate volume fell out of use and memory. Pomerius had Scoenhoven's MS. to work upon, and some of Ruysbroeck's contemporaries were still living at Groenendael when he composed his biography there. The brief references by the Venerable Thomas à Kempis in his Vita Gerardi Magni are likewise of great interest and intrinsic worth.

For the purposes of this brief biography, which lays no claim whatever to original research, the compiler has made very great use of the labours of Dr... Continue reading book >>




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