In the same year the Brothers and members of the House at Windesem builded and enlarged their ancient church to promote the honour of God.
In the same year, after the Feast of Pentecost, our Father George builded a new kitchen that was greater and more stoutly wrought than the former, for the old kitchen was roofed with reeds and thatch, and he builded this new one by reason of the peril of fire, and also to rid us of certain ill conveniences, and to promote the good of the community.
In the same year, on the night of the Assumption of the Blessed and Glorious Virgin Mary, and after the Te Deum had been sung, died the devout Laic, Nicholas Bodiken, who was an Oblate of our House. He served Christ faithfully, and showed special devotion in singing the praises of the Most Blessed Virgin.
A few days before his death he was seized with grievous pain in the head and his other members, but being purged by this sore suffering in the body, he gained an happy issue therefrom, for his end was such as he would have wished, and he met the same with a good will and with complete resignation on the day aforesaid, which was the solemn feast of the Blessed Virgin.
When supper was ended, Nones of the Blessed Virgin were sung, and Vigils recited for him, and then he was laid in the burying-place of the Laics and amongst the Oblates and Donates of our House; being in the seventy- ninth year of his age when he died. He had lived for a great while with us, but the needs of his mother and grandmother constrained him to take care of them, which thing he did, having taken counsel with the Prior of our House, but after that they died in Zwolle, he returned to the monastery at Mount St. Agnes. After this he fulfilled thirty years in complete subjection to our rule, and on the Feast day aforesaid he fell asleep in the Lord, and all that dwelt in this House bore witness to his good report.
On this same Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, our most beloved Father George took the Ciborium of the Venerable Sacrament from the altar with all reverence, and the whole body of members, going before him in procession round the cloister, sang the Response, "Felix namque." After they had returned to the choir, they bowed the knee before the Revered Sacrament which was placed upon the altar, and sang the Antiphon, "Media Vita," with the verse and the Collect proper to times of pestilence, for at this time the plague had begun both here and in many places.
In the same year, by the blessing of God, our orchard bare much fruit, but the fields, though they stood thick with corn, were hurt by the continued rain that fell at harvest time. Wherefore frequent prayers to God for fair weather were made at the time of Mass, and the seven psalms were recited in the choir.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, died Arnold of Nemel, an aged farmer, who was a neighbour and a good friend to our House. He was laid in the western cloister before the door of the church, and in one grave with his son.
In the same year, after the Feast of All Saints, and after Compline, on the day before the Feast of Leonard the Confessor, died Arnold, son of Gerard of Werendorp, who was our miller, a faithful Laic and Fellow Commoner of our House. He was a man greatly beloved and profitable to the Laics of our household and all the Brothers, and he died after that he had finished the thirty-third year of his age, having continued with us for fourteen years. He was laid in the burying-place of our Laics by the side of Nicholas Bodiken.
In the same year, 1467, Albert, son of Hubert of Amersfoort, was invested on the day of the Conception of the Glorious Virgin Mary, being twenty- three years old, but he had attended the school at Zwolle for four years.
In the year of the Lord 1468, in the month of April, on the day following the Feast of St. Ambrose the Bishop and in the middle of the night, before Lauds, died Godefried Hyselhan of Kampen, a Laic and Donate of our House, being eighty-three years of age. For a great while he was the miller of our monastery, and a man faithful and upright in his conversation. Afterward he became our porter, and showed himself pitiful and kindly to the poor; but at length, worn out with years, he died in peace, for God had mercy on him: and he was laid in the burying-ground of the Laics.
In the year of the Lord 1469, on the day after the Feast of the Holy Innocents—which day is the Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and falleth within the Octave of the Lord's Nativity—died Brother Gerard that was called Cortbeen, whose death befell after supper, and before the hour of Vespers. Before he entered the Religious Life he was a Priest, and he was born at Herderwyjc, but for ten years past he had lived the Religious Life amongst us in piety and devotion. Often he endured much toil in time of harvest, and in winter also he would cut wood in the marshland, for he was a strong man and apt for coarse and heavy toil, yet he neglected not the inner things of God. At the last he was afflicted of the Lord with a dropsy in the legs, and after bearing the scourge of this infirmity he departed out of this world to the Lord in the forty- second year of his age. So Mass and Vigils for the dead were said for him, and he was buried in the eastern cloister.
In the year of the Lord 1470, on the third day after the Feast of Servatius the Bishop, two Clerks, and one Laic who was a Convert, were invested. This was on a week day, so as to avoid the concourse of men, and the gathering together of a crowd of friends from the world.
Of these Clerks the first was Otto Graes of Deventer, who was twenty-two years old and had two brothers living the Religious Life as Priests in the Regular Order: of these one was at Windesem, the other in the House of Bethlehem at Zwolle. The second of the Clerks was Rudolph, son of Gerard, a native of Amersfoort, who was twenty-one years old, and had sojourned for a while at Zwolle before he entered the monastery. The third was Henry Kalker, a Novice and Convert, who came from the region of Kleef, and was thirty-seven years of age: he lived with us before his investiture, dwelling amongst the Laics, and he was a good tailor, but sometimes he served in the kitchen, and sometimes ministered to the sick: after a while, by reason of his uprightness, he was invested as a Convert.
In the same year, on the day following the Feast of the holy Martyr Maurice and his companions, and after Matins had begun, died our Brother Peter Herbort, a Deacon who was sixty-five years old. He was of weak frame, and by nature very frail, so that he was unable to observe many of the statutes, yet he often received discipline in the Chapter for his faults: also he washed the heads of the Brothers when they were shaven, and rejoiced to serve the others as reader in the Refectory. At length, having fulfilled forty-three years in the habit of the Regular Order, the time came for him to go forth; so being contrite of heart, having made his confession and received the Communion and the Unction, he fell asleep in the Lord in good confidence and faith amid the prayers of the Brothers. For our Father George, with many of the Brothers, was present with him, but the rest remained in the choir to sing Matins and Lauds. After supper Vigils were sung for him and for our other benefactors, and he was buried in the eastern cloister by the side of our Brother Gerard Cortbeen.
In the year of the Lord 1471, that is to say, on the Feast day of Antony the Confessor, and in the morning after High Mass, died that devout Laic, Gerlac, son of John, who was born hard by Zwolle, that is to say, at Dese. He was seventy-two years old, and for the last fifty-three years and more had lived with us in great humility, simplicity, and patience. He bore many toils and privations, and amongst the other virtues that he showed, he was especially notable for the virtue of silence, so that through all the day he spoke but very little, and even during the hours of toil he gave an example of silence to others.
A short while before his death he was smitten with apoplexy, and became partly delirious and he was laid in our burying-ground with the rest of the Laics.
SO FAR THE CHRONICLE WAS WRITTEN BY THOMAS OF KEMPEN; THE RESIDUE THEREOF WAS DONE BY ANOTHER.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. James the Less, and after Compline, died our most beloved Brother Thomas Hemerken, who was born in the city of Kempen, in the diocese of Cologne. He was in the ninety-second year of his age, and this was the sixty-third year after his investiture; likewise he had been a Priest for above fifty-seven years.
In the days of his youth he was an hearer of Florentius at Deventer, by whom also he was sent, when twenty years old, to his own brother, who at that time was Prior of Mount St. Agnes. From this same brother he received his investiture after six years of probation, and from the early days of the monastery he endured great poverty and many labours and temptations.
Moreover, he wrote that complete copy of the Bible which we use, and also many other books for the use of the House, and for sale. Likewise he composed divers little books for the edification of the young, which books were plain and simple in style, but mighty in the matter thereof and in their effectual operation.
The thought of the Lord's passion filled his heart with love, and he was wondrous comfortable to the troubled and the tempted; but as age grew upon him he was vexed with a dropsy in the legs, and so fell asleep in the Lord and was buried in the eastern cloister by the side of Brother Peter Herbort. In the same year, on the Feast day of St. Lambert, and after Prime, Brother Hermann Craen the Vestiarius died of the plague, being sixty-four years old. In the beginning he was Sacristan, but afterward, and for above fifteen years, Vestiarius. Then for thirteen years he held the office of Procurator, but being set aside from that office, he was for the second time appointed to be Vestiarius, in which vocation he gained much praise for that he provided sufficiently for every man so far as the means of the House did allow. After that he was set aside from his office of Procurator he bore himself patiently: and he had lived the Religious Life with us for thirty-eight years and a half: but in the day aforesaid, when Vigils had been sung for him, he was buried after supper-time in the eastern passage.
In the same year, on the day before the Feast of St. Francis, and after Matins, Wichman Spuelre died of the plague. He was a young Laic about twenty-five years of age who was born at Doesborgh, but for above four years he had lived with us; and being chosen to be Sub-Infirmarius he served the sick with kindliness and in gracious wise, wherefore he obtained great praise from all men. He was laid in the burial-ground of the Laics, but on the day following, namely, on the Feast of St. Francis, and just before one o'clock, three Priests and one Lay Brother were anointed with the oil of the sick. In the same year, on the day after the Feast of St. Francis, Brother Henry, son of Paul of Mechlin, who was a Priest, died of the plague. He was nearly forty-six years of age, and was Infirmarius, in which same office he had served the Brothers faithfully for fifteen years; but he had lived with us in the Religious Life for twenty-four years and a half, and he was buried in the eastern cloister beneath the steps, and in the same tomb with Nicholas Creyenscot, who died before.
It is told of this Brother, as an ensample and memorial of him, that on the third day after that he was smitten with the plague, seeing that sure sign of death which is vulgarly called the "Death Spot," and while his strength of mind and body were yet whole in him, he asked for the habit to be brought wherein, after the custom of the Order, he must be buried; and when it was given him he put it on without help from another, and with his own hand sewed up the forepart thereof lest others might unwittingly look upon his body. Then after supper-time was ended, he, with the Infirmarius who was acting for him, read the Litanies and the seven penitential psalms for all his negligences; and as an act of gratitude for all the benefits that God had bestowed upon him, he added the Te Deum Laudamus. So at length, about the hour of Vespers, having made a good confession, he rendered up his soul, Father George being there present with him, while the Brothers were singing the verses antiphonally in the choir.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. Marcus the Pope, when dinner was ended, Peter, son of Nicholas, a Laic of our household, died of the plague. He was born in Amsterdam, and was about fifty years old, but he had lived with us for twenty-five years and a half, being employed in the brewery. He was a strong man of great stature, and a pattern to the Laics by reason of his close observance of the habit of silence, his regularity in reading the Vigils, frequenting the church, and such like exercises. He was laid in the burial-ground of the Laics.
In the same year, on the day following the Feast of St. Dionysius the Martyr, and before the ninth hour in the evening, Brother Peter, son of Simon, who was born in Liege, died of the plague; now he had lived with us in the Religious Life for nine years and a half. By nature he was very timid and modest, and at the beginning of his conversion he had suffered many temptations to cowardice, albeit he was afterwards delivered from these by the grace of God. So he yearned for death with great desire, longing to be released and to be with Christ, and he was laid in the eastern cloister.
In the same year, on the day following the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, and after Matins, Peter, son of John, died of the same plague. He was a Laic and Resignate of about seventy-three years of age, who was born in Utrecht; but he had lived with us for about fifty-four years, and was employed in binding books. By nature he was very weakly, especially in the head, and he often received discipline for his negligences, being punished therefore: yet he did gladly serve for the Brothers at Mass, and at the last, in the time of the plague, he got his death through ministering to the sick, and died in the presence of Father George, and was laid with the other Laics in their burying-ground.
In the same year, on the day following the Feast of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, and in the morning after Prime, died our Brother John Kysendael, who was born at Orsoy in the land of Kleef. He was almost thirty-four years old, and had lived with us in the Religious Life for fourteen years and nearly two months, being much beloved for his holy conversation and his virtuous life. Moreover, he served the Brothers humbly in his office of sacristan for nearly four years, and so that versicle which is sung for confessors was apt and fitting for him "who was ever pious and prudent, lowly and modest, sober and chaste and peaceful so long as this present life endured in his bodily limbs." He was buried in the eastern cloister.
Two hours afterwards, on the same day, and of the same plague, died Hermann Crom, a Laic and Resignate, who was born in Utrecht, being now sixty-four years old, but he had lived with us for nearly thirty-four years; he was of great service to the Brothers, first in the office of Sub-Infirmarius, and afterward in making ready the Refectory and ministering to the other needs of those Brothers that were weak and old. At length, as he served the sick, he was smitten with the plague, and was laid in the burying-ground of the Laics.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, and after supper-time, Laurentius died of this same plague. He was a Laic and Donate, and his native place was Alsen, a town near Tyel in the parts of Geldria. He was seventy-three years of age, and had been barber to the House, having lived with us for near forty-five years. A great company of strangers resorted to him hoping to be cured by his skill as a surgeon, for he had some good knowledge of that art. He was laid in the burying-place of the Laics.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. Martin the Bishop, and before the tenth hour in the evening, Ludolph the miller died of the plague. He was born at Delden in Twenthe, and was nearly thirty-seven years old, but he had lived with us for three years and a half. He fell sick through tending the plague-stricken, for he was at this time their faithful servant; and having made a good confession, and being filled with a fervent love of God, he died and was laid in the burying-ground of the Laics.
In the year of the Lord 1472, on the Feast day of St. Ambrose, which fell on the Sunday after Easter, died Brother Everard ter Huet, a native of Zwolle, and Prior at Bergum, where for ten years and more he had ruled the Brothers in laudable wise. Having fulfilled forty-three years of life, twenty-five of which he had passed as a member of our Order, he died at last, being smitten with the plague, and was buried in the church of the aforesaid monastery.
In the same year, on the fourth day after the Feast of St. Ambrose, and when Prime was done, died our Brother John Lent that was a native of a place near Zwolle, being nearly eighty years old; but he had lived with us in the Religious Life for about fifty-nine years. He was very strict in his observance of the rule, and a pattern to the Brothers, but at length, being worn out with the disease called stone, he died, and was buried in the eastern cloister. By his writing he was of much profit to the monastery, for he attained great excellence in this art, wherefore he wrote many books for sale, and many for the choir and the libraries, wherein he left a notable example for others to imitate.
In the same year, on the day of St. Potentiana the Virgin (which was the Tuesday after Pentecost), and when Vespers were done, Johson of Tric died of a rupture. He was a Laic and Resignate, a native of Zwolle, and seventy-five years old; but he had lived with us for fifty-one years, being a pattern to the Laics by the toils that he bore, and his obedience to discipline. By reason of his trustiness he was often set over the husbandmen at Lunenkerc at the time of our exile, and also at home, that is, at Mount St. Agnes. But at the last he died suddenly and without making confession, for death was beforehand with him; howbeit he received the Unction, and he had made his confession two days before he died, and had received Communion with the others on the Feast of Pentecost.
In the same year, on the fourth day after the Feast of St. Lucia, died Gherard, son of Hermann, a Laic of our household, who was born near Albergen in Twenthe. He was nearly fifty years old, and had lived with us for twenty-three years. His stature was small, but his mind great, and he directed our husbandry with all diligence; but at length he fell into a consumption owing to a kick from a horse, and having lingered a long while, he died, and was laid in the burying-ground of the Laics.
In the year of the Lord 1473, on the 28th day of June, two Brothers were invested as Clerks. The first was Stephen Putselaer, who was born at Doesborgh, and had attended the school at Deventer; he was now twenty-two years old. The second was John, son of Tric, a native of Amsterdam, who had sojourned at the school of Zwolle for nearly four years, and at the time of his investiture he was at the beginning of his eighteenth year.
In the year of the Lord 1474, on the day before the Feast of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, and in the morning between the sixth and seventh hours, died Brother Otto Lyman, a native of Goch, being nearly seventy- six years old, but he had lived with us for fifty-five years and a little more. He was very zealous for discipline, and most strict in observing the rule of silence; also it was his custom to attend all the services in the church, each in its season, so much so that although weakened by old age and an apoplexy, he did not forgo this custom to the very end of his life. Besides this he carefully observed a voluntary poverty both in the matter of his clothing and with regard to the furniture of his cell. During his life he wrote many books for the library; but at length his infirmities grew upon him, and he fell asleep in the Lord in the presence of the venerable Prior and the Brothers, and was buried in the eastern cloister.
In the year of the Lord 1474, on the day of St. Urban, Bishop and Martyr, brother Martin, son of Nicholas, was invested. He was nineteen years of age and was born at Amsterdam, but he had attended the school of Brussels for three years.
In the year of the Lord 1474, on the second day after the Feast of the Conception of the Virgin Mary, and after Matins, died Brother Theodoric Veneman, who was born near Zwolle, being now seventy-two years old; but he had lived a laudable life with us for fifty-two years, lacking two months. He was of ripe character and a pattern Brother; moreover, he was zealous in observing the rule of silence and quietness, but at length he fell sick and slept in the Lord, and the venerable Prior George and the Brothers were with him at his death. He was buried in the eastern cloister.
In the year of the Lord 1474, on the day of St. Agapitus the Martyr, died Goswin ter Beeck, a Laic of our household, who was born in Zwolle, being — years old, but he had lived with us for about fifty-three years; his life was a very pattern, and well ordered, both in word and deed; he had been our miller for more than forty years, and was very faithful to the House. In that he greatly feared that death should come suddenly, he made his confession to the venerable Prior after due preparation, and a short time afterwards he met that death which he had feared, for God ordained it so.
In the same year died our beloved Brother Gerard, son of Tric, that was a Convert. This befell on the second day after the Feast of St. Lucia, Virgin and Martyr, and after Matins. He was eighty-two years old, and for many years had been a Donate, but having lived honestly amongst us for more than thirty years he was invested as a Convert, for so it seemed good to the Prior and the whole Brotherhood. He was most strict in observing discipline, weighty in word and character, austere toward himself, and a lover of poverty. Moreover, he directed our husbandry, and that of two other Houses of our Order, to wit, the Houses at Anyhen and at Lunenkerc, also that of the monastery belonging to the Order of St. Benedict which is called the House of Kleerwater, near Hattem; for out of charity to the Brothers of that House the venerable Prior lent Gerard to them. So having lived with us for nearly fifty-four years in this honest and devout wise, he fell asleep in the Lord and was buried in the western passage which is called "The Strangers' Passage," together with the other Converts.
In the year 1475, on the fourth day after the Feast of Maurice and his companions, and about the fifth hour in the morning, died William Brant, a Laic of our household, but a Clerk in regard to learning. He was born at Kampen, and was now nearly seventy-five years old; but he had lived with us for nearly sixty years. Although he was notable for knowledge, yet he desired to continue humbly, modestly, and in quietness unto his life's end in the condition of a Laic, and specially to avoid the sin of detraction. Beside his unceasing labours in other matters, he awakened the Brothers for Prime during forty years.
In the year 1473, on the third day after the Feast of St. Matthias the Apostle, and in the morning, died Encbert of Tyveren, a Donate and Fellow Commoner of our House, being eighty-three years old. Amongst other virtuous habits, he had one that is specially worthy to be remembered, namely, that if any did him a wrong, he would easily and without hesitation grant full forgiveness for the same, whenever the offender showed any sign of charity toward him. Being fired, moreover, with charity and love for God and his neighbour, and with a zeal for souls that ceased not night or day, he strove for their good whenever he had opportunity; and of this many can bear witness, both men and women, for whom he obtained places fit for them wherein they might serve God.
In the same year and week, namely, on the fifth day after the Feast of St. Matthias, John Bodien (?) died at Deventer. He was a Laic of our household, and being oppressed by infirmity he went to Deventer to take counsel of a physician, and there died in his brother's house; and since he was born of a good stock, his body was brought back to us with honour by his friends, and laid in the burying-ground of the Lay folk. For a few years after his conversion he served in the kitchen, and coming to his life's end he fulfilled the toils of many years in a short space.
In the year of the Lord 1477, on the Octave of the Feast of the visitation of the Blessed Mary, and after Nones, that is at about the eighth hour, died Gerlac, son of Wolter. He was a devout man and very trusty; a Laic and Resignate that was born at Ralt, and he was nearly seventy-one years old. On the day before his death, and after Compline, he took his supper in the kitchen according to his custom (for he was cellarer) and by a mysterious visitation of God he suddenly was deprived of all sense and strength. He lost the power of speech, and he lay until next day struck down with apoplexy without speaking or eating, and died after Nones at the hour aforesaid. He had lived with us for nearly forty years, during twenty-three of which he had fulfilled the duties of the aforesaid office with faithfulness and care, being almost always in his cell and ready to carry out the wishes of the Brothers. He was laid with the other Laics in that burying-ground of ours that pertains to them of that condition.
In the same year, on the Feast of St. AEgidius, and after Compline, that is to say about the middle of the seventh hour, died that devout Laic, Albert, son of Florentius. He was a Resignate and about seventy-three years old, but he had lived with us for nearly forty-five years, and for a long while served the Brothers patiently in the kitchen. But afterwards he was very serviceable to the sick, and to the Infirmarius, by catching and bringing them fresh fish. He was laid with the others in the burying-ground of the Laics.
FROM THE CHRONICLE OF OUR BROTHER THOMAS OF KEMPEN CONCERNING MATTERS NOT PERTAINING TO OUR HOUSE.
Concerning the year in which that reverend man, Florentius of Wevelichoven, was made Bishop of Utrecht.
In the year of the Lord 1479, Florentius of Wevelichoven, aforetime Bishop of Munster, was enthroned as Bishop of the Church of Utrecht on the Festival of St. Willibrord, first Bishop of that See.
He was a prudent man of honest life, ripe age, and a lover of religion, and under his rule, which was during the reign of our Lord Pope Urban VI, Gerard Groote flourished, that venerable master who was truly great by reason of his life, his learning, and the words of his preaching.
Of the death of John Ruesbroeck, first Prior of the Groenendaal.
In the year of the Lord 1381, and on the second day of December, being the Octave of St. Katherine, Virgin and Martyr, the venerable and most devout Master John Ruesbroeck died in the district of Brabant. He was the first Prior of the Monastery of the Groenendaal near Brussels, which Monastery pertains to the Order of Canons Regular; he was then in the eighty-eighth year of his age, and he was buried before the north end of the High Altar in the choir. He took the Religious habit in the aforesaid place amongst the first who were there invested, being then sixty years of age; and, by the help of God, he fulfilled the office of the Priesthood for sixty-four years. His holy and glorious doctrine was published far and wide over the land of Germany, and giveth light thereto. This was he whom Master Gerard Groote visited, together with John, a scholar from Zwolle, for he thought that his writings were worthy to be compared with those of the greatest doctors. Moreover, he had put forth many books that were most devout, touching matters of the higher understanding, which books, of his wisdom, he wrote in the Teutonic tongue; and he poured forth in liberal abundance that grace of heavenly sweetness which he had received from God, for the use of his neighbour and them that should come after in the Church. There are eleven books which he composed either before or after his entrance into the Religious Life; and less the tale should be incomplete, the book of his letters doth make that number up to twelve.
There was in the same monastery, under this venerable Master, a Convert whose name was John, a man very devout, who did humbly devote himself to his life's end to serving in the kitchen, and he was illumined with special grace for divine contemplation. He compiled a great and notable book, filled with high and heavenly doctrine, in the which he doth commend his most beloved father, John Ruesbroeck, in most excellent wise.
In the same monastery also were certain other most devout Fathers and Religious Brothers, eminent for their life and wisdom, as their holy works that have come down to us do testify.
Concerning the life and writings of John Ruesbroeck and Brother John Cocus, more is told in a little book that hath been put forth of late, and that is entitled "Of the Origin of the Monastery of the Groenendaal."
Of the death of the venerable Master Gerard Groote, a man most devout.
In the year of the Lord 1384, on the Feast day of the blessed Bernard the Abbot, and at the fifth hour, after Vespers, Gerard, surnamed Groote, died at Deventer, in the time of the pestilence; he was a venerable man and beloved of God, and the forty-fourth year of his age was nearly done.
His body was borne to the Parish Church of the most Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, and therein was laid with due honour not far from the sanctuary. His father's name was Werner Groote, and he was a Schepen and magistrate of the same city; his mother was called Heylwige, and both her husband and she were of high place and mighty in honour and riches, judged after the measure of worldly dignity; but Gerard, by God's inspiration, put aside the burden of riches and despised the pomps of the world on the which he had relied carelessly for a long while, and for the sake of an humble Christ took upon him a garb of humility. Suddenly he was changed into another man, so that all wondered, and he became a rule of life to Clerks and Lay folk alike. Hereafter, by the pattern of his good conversation and the exhortation of his holy preaching, he withdrew many persons from the vanities of the world and laid upon them the gentle yoke of Christ. Likewise he resigned all his ecclesiastical benefices, but he kept some small portion of his father's goods to provide for his own necessities. Much he gave to the Religious, and his dwelling-house and homestead lie bequeathed for ever to the poor Sisters, or Beguines, whom he had gathered together in that same place. Of his humility he took upon him the rank of a deacon so that he might be able to preach, but he would not take priestly orders because of the awe in which he held the same.
On a time he went toward Zwolle in company with Peter, Curate of the Church of Deventer, and his companion questioned him with friendly boldness, saying: "Beloved Master, why wilt thou not be made Priest, since thou art well lettered and fitted to rule others?" But Gerard made answer: "I would not be Curate of Zwolle, no, not for a single night, for my cap full of golden florins." And Peter being astonished said: "What then shall we feeble and wretched folk do, for our knowledge and our life are less worthy than thine?" And this word of Master Gerard had so great weight that this same Peter did afterward renounce his pastoral charge and did maintain himself upon a single benefice, and that one to which no cure was attached. Gerard, moreover, wrote profitable treatises, and many letters to divers persons, and from these writings one may see readily enough how great a zeal for souls was in him, and how deep an understanding of the Scriptures. He translated two books of John Ruesbroeck from the Teutonic into the Latin tongue, and these are entitled: "Ecce Sponsus" and "De gradibus amoris." Likewise he translated "The Hours of the Blessed Virgin," and certain of the Hours from the Latin into the Teutonic tongue, so that simple and unlearned Laics might have in their mother tongue matter wherewith to occupy themselves in prayer on holy days; and also that the faithful, reciting these Hours, or hearing them recited by other devout persons, might the more readily keep themselves from many vanities and from idle talking, and so, being assisted by these holy readings, might make progress in the love of God and in singing the divine praises. Once a certain man who was united to him in the bonds of friendship, asked him, saying: "Most beloved Master, of what use are all these books which you carry on so great journeys?" And Gerard answered: "For good living a few books are enough; but we must have all these for the instruction of others and to defend the truth, so that if any might not believe me yet they may assent to the authority of the saints." Many other good things also Master Gerard did in his life, as certain worthy records of him tell us, so that from the small band of his disciples there grew at length a great company of devout persons.
Of the great eulogy passed upon Gerard by a certain doctor.
Master Gerard of holy memory, he who was called "The Great," has passed happily to the Lord. Truly he was "The Great," for in his knowledge of all the liberal sciences, both natural and moral, of civil law, canon law, and of theology, he was second to no one in the world, and all these branches of learning were united in him.
He was a man of such saintliness and gave so good an example in his mortification of the flesh, his refusal of temporal advantages, his contempt for the world, his brotherly love for all, his zeal for the salvation of souls, his effectual preaching, his reprobation and hatred of wickedness, his withstanding of heretics, his enforcement of the canon law against those that broke the vow of chastity, his conversion to the spiritual life of divers men and women who had formerly lived according to the world, and his loyalty to our Lord Urban the Sixth—in all those things I say he gave so good an example, that many thousands of men testify to the belief that is in them that he was not less great in these virtues than he was in the aforesaid sciences. Master William of Salvarvilla, Cantor at Paris, Archdeacon of Brabant in the Church of Liege, an eminent doctor in theology, compiled the above eulogy from that which he heard from the lips of men worthy of credit, and from his own knowledge of Master Gerard, and he believed beyond all doubt that it was true.
How, after his death, the number of the Devout and the Order of Regulars did increase.
After the death of the venerable Master Gerard Groote, the devotion of faithful persons in Deventer, Zwolle, Kampen and the neighbouring towns began to grow mightily in the Lord, so that in a short time there arose many congregations of men and women that served God, dwelling together in common and in chastity of life after the manner of the primitive Church and that laudable custom of the holy Fathers that was introduced by the Apostles.
Some of these who could ill abide the concourse of people in the cities, sought habitations that did befit them far from the places where men do congregate, and having builded them poor little houses, determined to lead a hidden life therein after the example of the ancient Fathers; but in process of time, as their numbers and their goods increased, they took upon them the habit of holy religion, for God so ordered it, and converted their houses into Monasteries of the Order of Canons Regular, thinking thereby to be the more profitable. This same memorable Master, inspired with a spirit of prophecy, foretold this thing, namely, that the number of the devout should increase mightily, for to a certain Priest, who was his friend, and afterward became a Canon Regular at Zwolle (from whom also I heard the saying), he said: "Behold, beloved, this good thing which by God's help hath been here begun, shall be increased yet more, and this little spark shall kindle many fires throughout all Holland and Geldria."
Thanks be to God that as we have heard, so have we seen with our own eyes the fulfilment of this prophecy, and that not only in the regions round about, but also in the parts afar off and in the upper provinces. He had it likewise in mind to found, with the help of certain friends, a monastery for Regulars who should take the habit which he had seen in Brabant in the house of John Ruesbroeck, but this purpose he committed to the followers whom he had made firm in the faith of Christ, that they should fulfil it, for death was beforehand with him, and this was, indeed, fulfilled effectually by these same disciples in after days.
Of the consecration of the Church, and the investiture of the first Brothers in Windesem.
In the year of the Lord 1387, on the day before the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, the first Church of the Monastery in Windesem was consecrated in Honour of the glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
This place received the name Windesem from the village that lieth near to it, and it is one mile from Zwolle, toward the south; near the eastern side thereof is the River Yssel; also some space away is Hattem, the strongest fortress in Geldria.
On this same day six Brothers made their profession and were invested with the habit of the Order of Canons Regular, who observe the rule of Augustine, the glorious Bishop and Father of our Order. The names of these are as followeth:
Brother Henry of Huxaria, a Priest.
Brother Werner of Lochem, in Geldria, the first Prior of the house there.
Brother John of Kempen, in the diocese of Cologne, who was afterward Prior at Mount St. Agnes.
Brother Henry Wilde of Hertzogenbosch, in Brabant.
Brother Berthold ten Hove, a native of Holland, who conveyed to us his patrimony and the place where the monastery standeth.
Brother Henry Wilsem of Kampen, a man of great probity, who was formerly a great one in the world. He was eloquent in discourse, humble and earnest in the service of God.
With these and others that loved holy religion, this new foundation of the Order of Canons Regular in the diocese of Utrecht had its beginning after the happy death of Master Gerard Groote, and under the rule of Florentius, Bishop of Utrecht, it increased by little and little, but in process of time it began to grow yet more fruitfully in divers places. All the men above named, save only one, had been disciples of Master Gerard, by whom they, with many other Clerks, were drawn to the amending of their lives, being imbued with his wholesome exhortation.
Of the death of John de Gronde, a Priest.
In the year of the Lord 1392, on the 17th day of May, being the day following the Feast of St. John before the Latin Gate, and at the fourth hour in the morning, John de Gronde died at Deventer, in the house of Florentius. He was a devout Priest and a mighty Preacher of the Word, and it was in the fortieth year of his age. The town of Octmesheim, in the district of Twent, and the diocese of Cologne, was his native place, and he was a man adorned with modesty and eloquence, and the venerable Master Gerard let summon him from Amsterdam in Holland to hear the confessions of the devout, likewise Gerard committed to him the governance of the Sisters of his House. For awhile he abode with the first Brothers in the ancient House of Florentius, and rose up with the others in the morning to recite the Hours; and when the time for rising came, he awoke straightway and went forthwith to arouse the other Brothers, knocking and saying: "Arise, watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Of this thing Master Gerard maketh mention in the letter which he wrote to the priests at Amsterdam, what time he besought that John should be sent to him, for this alacrity did especially please him.
As his death drew on, Father Florentius, who earned the love of all the devout, stood by him to comfort and console him; to whom John spake, saying: "Lo! the adversary doth strive to disquiet me, and would confound me at the last." But Florentius answered: "Fear not but trust in the Lord, and keep silence as to those things that are cast up against thee." Then John, as one truly obedient, said: "In the name of the Lord," and these were the last words that he spake before his death. He was buried in the Church of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, by the side of Master Gerard and in the same tomb, for it was in this church that he had oft proclaimed aloud the Word of God. Likewise from time to time he would preach at Zwolle and hold colloquy with the Brothers on the mount, urging them to hold with constant mind to the course they had begun. So these two on earth are covered by one stone, and one Stone, that is an heavenly, did make them firm in the true faith; as they loved one another in life, so in death their bodies are not divided.
Of the death of the most Reverend Florentius of Wevelichoven, Bishop of Utrecht.
In the year of the lord 1393, on the Feast day of St. Ambrose the Bishop (which in that year was Good Friday), while the Holy Office of the Lord's Passion was being said in the church, our most Reverend Lord Florentius of Wevelichoven, Bishop of Utrecht, departed from the light of the world. He died in the city of Hardenberch, having ruled his diocese for twelve years and five months in laudable and glorious wise, and his body was taken to the Church of the Blessed Martin at Utrecht, and was buried with honour in the choir beneath the steps of the sanctuary. Here a taper is kept lighted as a memorial of his good reputation, for verily he was a lover of the true light, and a defender of his country. In discipline he was very strict; and spent naught needlessly or to any unprofitable end, but all that was justly owed he paid honestly, repaying loans, restoring buildings that were decayed, setting up new ones, fortifying towns and castles. He loved the things of God and prudently disposed of worldly matters; by his servants he was beloved, to the poor he was pitiful; he cherished all devout persons, and was accepted of Clerks and people.
How Frederick of Blanckenhem was chosen to be Bishop.
In the same year, the noble and famous Lord Frederick of Blanckenhem, formerly Bishop of Strasburg, was chosen to the See of Utrecht and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. He was one of lofty mind, famous for knowledge and prudence, and by the help of God he ruled the diocese for many years with great glory, and guarded his country by his victorious might. Beneath his rule the Order of Canons Regular and the devout multitude of Brothers and Sisters spread far and wide, and rejoiced in their prosperity in all regions that lay beneath his jurisdiction.
In this year also three monasteries were founded in Holland, near Amsterdam. One belonging to the Carthusian Order, one to the Canons Regular, and one to the nuns of that same order: this last lieth within the city and near the ditch.
How the monastery at Northorn was founded.
In the year of the Lord 1394, about the time of the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Clerks belonging to the household and congregation of that venerable Priest, Master Everard of Almelo, a Bachelor in Physic or Medicine, began to prepare a place for a monastery; for of their own free will and by his council they had determined to build an house in Vrensueghen upon an hereditament that is called Enoldint. So having obtained license from that Reverend Lord Otto ten Hoye, Bishop of Munster, and having the consent of the Dean, Archdeacon, and Chapter, which was given on the 1st day of May, a small Oratory was consecrated in this same place during the Advent following and on the Feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle. This Oratory stood where now the church is builded, and there on this same day four Priests of the household of Everard were invested with the habit of the Order of Canons Regular; they were admitted by Wenomar, Bishop of Sebale, a member of the third Order, and Vicar-General for Pontifical Acts to Otto, the Reverend Bishop of Munster: now the names of the Brothers by him admitted are these:
The first was Henry Kyndeshof of Deventer, and there were also Herpe of Lippe, Hermann Plectenberrich, and John of Julich. Of these Hermann Plectenberrich was chosen to be the first Prior, and the four abode by themselves under the authority of the Bishop of Munster, because their founders would not have them subject to any other, but in the year of the Lord 1400 they were placed under the authority of the Chapter-General of Windesem, which is in the diocese of Utrecht, and lieth near Zwolle, as it were one mile distant.
Of the death of that most devout Priest Florentius, Vicar of the Church of Deventer.
In the year of the Lord 1400, on the day before the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, and when it was now late, and the Ave Maria had rung, there died in his own House at Deventer the Priest Florentius Radewin. He was a man of holy life and the beloved Father of all the devout, an humble Vicar of the Church at Deventer, a Master of the University of Prague, and he was now in the fiftieth year of his age. He was born at Leerdam that is subject to the Count of Arkel, but when he heard of the fame of Master Gerard, he left his native land and became his devout follower and disciple, and in a short space he was a Father to many devout persons, and the first founder of the congregation of Clerks in Deventer.
His garb was simple and gray in colour, his bearing was composed, his bodily presence full of grace, and his aspect lovable. His hair was black, but his beard somewhat gray; his face was thin and had but little colour, his forehead was bald and his gait and bearing were full of dignity.
Once he came on a visitation to Mount St. Agnes, and the Brothers were glad at his coming, and the elder amongst them asked him to deliver some discourse, so he spoke a few words to them on humility and charity, and at the end he added: "See now, ye may be sickened of these words that ye have heard from me," for he did not think that he could say aught worthy to be heard. Nevertheless he was mighty to comfort the devout, and it was a pleasant thing to see him and hear his words. Also the words wherein he confessed that he was not skilled to speak were received as very edifying, and some of the Religious wrote what he said on their tablets and in their books.
This most holy man of God flourished in the days of that venerable Lord Florentius of Wevelichoven and the illustrious Frederick of Blanckenhem, the two famous Bishops of Utrecht.
When his death was announced to them of the city, the Canons and Clerks came together to attend the burying of so great a man, and a vast multitude of people followed as far as to the Church of St. Lebuin, wherein he was buried before the altar he had served, which is dedicated in honour of St. Paul. His life that was adorned with virtue is more fully set forth in the DIALOGUS NOVITIORUM.
Of the death of Everard of Eza, a Curate in Almelo and a great master of Physic.
In the year of the Lord 1404, on the first day of the month of April, died that reverend man Everard of Eza, the Curate of Almelo and a great master in physic. He often gave the benefits of his healing art without price to many that were sick, but especially to the poor. Likewise he founded and in a special way provided for the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin in the Wood near Northorn, in the Countship of Benthem, and he procured that some of the Clerks who lived with him should be invested there. Amongst physicians he had a great reputation; of the nobles he was honoured, by worldlings he was feared, by the religious he was beloved, and for a long while his fame was good in the land. Moreover, he had been a close friend to Florentius, the Vicar of the Church at Deventer, and rejoiced to visit him; and he often succoured him in his infirmities and expended anxious care upon him; likewise he said of Florentius that it was a thing above human nature that a man so weak should live so long, unless it were that God preserved him.
But let it not be a marvel to any how it came about that these two reverend Fathers and Masters were thus of one heart in the service of God, for He who brought together the Blessed Peter and Paul to preach in Rome did also unite Florentius and Everard in Deventer, to be as it were two bright lights in the world, to dwell together as Brothers like minded in the House and there to comfort themselves and others.
But the conversion of this reverend Master Everard came about after this manner, and was brought by the co-operation of God to an wholesome effect. When the venerable Master Gerard, of whom mention is made above, was preaching the Word of God to the people outside the walls of Deventer, Everard hastened to come to his preaching, for he had heard Gerard's fame and was puffed up with the wisdom of this world; so he came not of brotherly love, but out of a curious mind, desiring to know whether the Master's teaching was consonant with his fame, for he did not hunger for uprightness but rather would catch him in his talk. Yet he stood not openly among the common and simple folk, but behind a pillar, as one that hideth; and behold Almighty God Who knoweth the heart, neither can any hide from His face, did fill the quiver of the preacher with sharp arrows wherewith in secret he pierced through the heart of this curious hearer, who, being pricked thereby, laid aside all the naughtiness of his former vanity, and became a devout disciple of the preacher. For when the preaching was done, he came near to the man of God, and made known how the Lord had dealt with him by means of the preaching, and how this had befallen him as if the preacher had traversed all the hidden places of his heart and seen all the secrets thereof. So Master Gerard received him and confirmed his charity toward him, and at length Everard became his companion and helper in preaching; but not long after his conversion Master Gerard departed to the Lord. After his departure the old enemy stirred up no small enmity against the devout disciples, but God was present with them, giving to them patience and constancy. Now many of the devout were ignorant of Master Everard's conversion, but he wished to join himself to the disciples of Christ that dwelt in Deventer in the House of Florentius; the Brothers, however, when they saw him were afraid, and began to flee from before his face as lambs from before the wolf, and they gat them into the hidden places of their cells; yea, and Florentius himself was fearful, for he knew not what Everard might mean, who aforetime had been harsh enough and had opposed the devout Brothers.
Everard therefore said to Florentius: "Wherefore do these Brothers flee away?" and he answered: "They know not with what mind thou art come," but Everard said, "I am come to amend my life," and when he was still held in suspicion of Florentius, he said after due thought and protesting his innocency: "If ye will not believe my words, at least believe mine acts—I pray you give me a cell for a season, and prove me therein of what spirit I am." Therefore they took him and assigned to him a cell where he lived long and was wholly converted; for as once he had gained great knowledge of medicine, so now he received no small light in the law of the Lord and in the holy Scriptures.
After this he accepted the dispensation of God towards him, namely, to be still and attend to his heavenly calling, and also following herein the example of Florentius, to gather together into his own house at Almelo certain Clerks and Lay folk, with whom he lived for many years under due discipline. Moreover, lest they who were so gathered together should be scattered abroad after his death, he began to think of a fit place where they might serve God together, and by His help he found such a place as he desired for the founding of a monastery, and here those Brothers whom he had formerly invested in an humble manner were placed. To them he distributed gifts out of his own substance, namely, gold and silver, books and other things for their use, for building and for needful expenses. As regardeth the foundation of this monastery see above, under the year of the Lord 1394. He was buried in his own church at Almelo, where he had governed his people for many years, and he left a good memorial among the devout whom he cherished and loved as a father. On a time when I attended the school at Deventer, I fell sick, and with such care did he tend me that by the mercy of God a like sickness fell not upon me for many years after.
In the same year, on the Feast day of St. Gregory the Pope, the building of our church was begun by brother John of Kempen, the first Prior.
Of the death of the Priest Amilius that succeeded Florentius at Deventer.
In the year of the Lord 1404, on the day before the Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle, Amilius the Priest died at Deventer; he was a mighty zealot for souls, kindly in feeding the poor, austere to himself, compassionate to the sick, comfortable to the troubled, and he was about thirty-two years of age.
He came from the parts of Geldria near Tyele, and coming to Deventer he attended school there for a while, but when he was amongst the foremost of the students he left the school and clave to Florentius, for it was his desire to serve God. Afterward Florentius procured his promotion to the priesthood, and before his death placed him over the whole congregation, likewise he did commit to his charge the governance of the House as being his beloved disciple. This burden that was laid upon him Amilius undertook with much sorrow, and though he was not minded to disobey the command of so great a Father, yet with weeping eyes, lamentation and sighing, he professed himself unworthy of this preferment; likewise in his secret prayer he mourned bitterly, for he desired rather to have the tasks of the kitchen laid upon him than to be preferred to the honoured post of governing men. For in the kitchen he ever rejoiced in his servitude, being safer therein, and having a good conscience; but in the other office a thousand dangers met him, bringing no small care with them. Yet God did not long delay to answer the prayers and sighs of his humble servant, for his burden on earth endured but a short while, and having fulfilled four years and near to three months in the care of governance, the Lord rewarded his faithful labours with eternal rest. His body was laid in the burying-ground of St. Lebuin the Confessor, near that of Lubbert, a Priest of his own House. There also was John of Viana buried, and there Reyner Haerlem the acolyth and many other devout Brothers and Clerks of the House of Florentius rest in peace. After the death of Amilius, John Haerlem succeeded as ruler of the House, but he was afterwards chosen to govern the sisters at Zwolle, and Godefred of Wesel filled his place, for the Fathers in their prudence did so ordain it.
Of the first investiture of the Sisters of our Order in Diepenvene near Deventer
In the year 1408, on the Feast of St. Agnes the Virgin, the Sisters of the Order of Canons Regular in Diepenvene near Deventer were first invested. This investiture was done by Brother John Huesden, the venerable Prior of Windesem; and there were present also the Prior of the House of the Fount of the Blessed Virgin near Arnheim, Brother John of Kempen, Prior of Mount St. Agnes, and many other devout persons, both men and women, who came together eagerly to be present on so notable a day. So then there was great joy for the heavenly marriage of many devout matrons and virgins; but the sound of much weeping ascended to heaven also. The number of them who took on them the habit and the order that followeth the rule of the Blessed Augustine the Bishop was forty-three, and of these three first made their profession the same day, but the others remained Novices for a year. Many of these Sisters were gathered and brought from Deventer from the house of Master Gerard Groote, after that the numbers there began to be increased, and John Brincerinck governed and guided them for a great while.
How the monastery in Budiken was reformed.
In the year of the Lord 1409, William van den Berg, Bishop elect of Paderborn, began to reform the monastery at Budiken, transferring it from the rule of Canons Secular to that of Canons Regular; and he published on this occasion the licence for their transference, at the end of which are the words following: "To the honoured John Wael, Prior of the Monastery at Zwolle, that is in the diocese of Utrecht, we do by these presents grant, concede, and allow the privileges hereafter following, namely, that he may attach to the Church and Monastery at Budiken a suitable congregation of men devoted to God, when opportunity doth offer, and that they be under the Order of Canons Regular, conforming to the rule observed in the Monastery at Zwolle so far as the rule there obtaining doth permit. We are led to grant this licence for this special reason, namely, that St. Meynulsus, the founder of this monastery, is believed to have belonged to the Order aforenamed; let the said John Wael therefore set over this same congregation a Prior or Superior as may seem expedient to him."
Of the death of Gerard Kalker, a devout Priest, and Rector of the House of Clerks.
In the year of the Lord 1409, on the Vigil of the Nativity of Christ, Gerard Kalker died at Zwolle. He was a devout Priest and Rector of the House of Clerks in the said town, and his age was thirty-six years. The town named Kalker in the district of Kleef was his native place, but when he was attending the school at Zwolle he joined himself to the devout Brothers, and himself became one of their congregation. Afterward he was chosen to dwell in the new House that had been built for a congregation of Clerks by Meynold of Windesem, a rich citizen of Zwolle, and after a while was instituted as Rector of the same House, being held worthy of that office by his Elders. He was one of great stature and innocency of life. In word kindly, in counsel wise, in bearing composed; to the poor compassionate, to strangers courteous, and the citizens loved him; moreover, he burned fervently with divine love to gain the souls of many. He was a zealous follower of Florentius, whom he esteemed with all his heart and loved as his dearest Father; likewise he left behind him many devout Brothers whom he had built up to the highest virtues. He was buried in our monastery at Windesem, and Theodoric Herxen, his disciple, succeeded him as Rector.
Of the death of Henry of Gouda, a devout Priest, at Zwolle.
In the year of the Lord 1410, on the day of St. Gregory the Pope, Henry of Gouda died at Zwolle. He was a devout Priest and Confessor to the Sisters in that place, having been of old one of the disciples of Florentius, and he was born in Holland near Schoonhoven. Being learned in the Scriptures he was a mighty preacher, and one that did truly despise the world and its riches; he feared not to reprove the vices of sinners, and in his frequent preaching he strove for the salvation of his neighbours; moreover, he kept a strict watch over his own conscience, and guarded his good reputation and humility of life. On a time, as he was passing through the street in a city that is far away, some boys whom he knew not seized him from behind by his cloak, and mocked him with jests because it was his wont to go clad in very simple attire, and a long sad- coloured cloak, for he seemed to take no thought of any outward thing, nor to desire honour. So being thus entreated and disturbed he looked back and said to himself: "Here ought we to dwell, for at Zwolle they say unto us, 'Sir, sir,' yet what merit do we gain thereby?"
Likewise he came sometimes to Mount St. Agnes, and sought to speak with the Brothers in their cells, and as he was holding converse with a certain one of them, he said, amongst many other good things, "Very good is the life that ye pass here, and the more safe is the road that ye traverse in that ye abide in the cloister afar from the multitude of men. I, who almost every day do traffick with worldlings, what can I learn thereby save the acts of worldly men? I am a man untaught, neither have I knowledge of the life of contemplation, nor do I seek to take hold on lofty matters—but sometimes I can preach in simple words to untaught and common folk—yet henceforth I purpose to amend myself with more diligence, and by God's favour to apply myself to things of greater moment." When he said this, that Brother was greatly edified at the humble words that proceeded from his mouth. It is said also in his preaching he uttered this notable saying: "Why should I say more? Words do beget a multitude of words—and acts beget their kind. The fruit of the Word is its fulfilment in deed."
He was buried in the church at Windesem, where also certain other devout Brothers and Priests do sleep, and after him John Haerlem was preferred to rule over the Sisters in Zwolle, since the well-being of the House so determined it; he was one that was sufficiently skilled in sacred learning, and he had lived long and devoutedly in Deventer, and moreover had ruled the House of Florentius for several years.
How the Sisters in Bronope were invested.
In the year of the Lord 1411, on the day of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sisters of the Order of Canons Regular in Bronope were first invested. This House lieth outside the town of Campen, which town is near the bank of the Yssel where that river runneth down to the sea. This investiture, with indelible and perpetual vows to live the life of the cloister, was conferred by the Reverend Fathers and the Priors of our Order, namely, John Vos of Huesden, Prior of Windesem, and William Vorniken of Utrecht, Prior of Mount St. Agnes near Zwolle. To these the care and visitation of the House, and likewise of the house at Diepenvene that lieth without Deventer, were afterward committed by the General Chapter. But the number of these Sisters who were first invested in this place was fourteen, of whom ten became nuns, and four Converts; and of the ten nuns four did make their profession on the same day; the other six, and the four Converts remained for a year as Novices.
In the year of the lord 1412, a General Chapter was holden and the houses of the nuns at Diepenvene and Bronope were incorporated as members of the said Chapter.
The death of Wermbold the Priest.
In the year of the Lord 1413, on the Vigil of Pentecost, being the night of the Festival of Barnabas the Apostle, and at the eleventh hour, died Wermbold, a devout Priest of laudable life who was Confessor to the Sisters of the third Order in the House of St. Caecilia. He came from Holland, from a place near Gouda, and for long had stood as a burning and shining light in the city of Utrecht, enkindling many by the word of his preaching and drawing them to the path of right living by his good example and his wholesome counsel; for he was a zealous lover of the holy Scriptures, and an eloquent preacher to the people, one well beloved for his eminent continency of life, and honoured by great folk. He procured that divers books of sacred theology should be written, and translated divers sayings of the Saints into the Teutonic tongue so as to profit the faithful Lay folk who were earnestly desirous to hear the Word of God. At length, when his pious labours in the service of God had been fulfilled with many trials, the good Lord of His great kindness favoured Wermbold with a most sweet consolation in a vision that was revealed to him. His body was taken for reverent burial to the choir of the Church of St. Caecilia, and the last words he spake as life departed were: "For Thou Lord only hast set me in hope."
Of the death of John Cele, Rector of the School at Zwolle.
In the year of the Lord 1417, on the ninth day of May, which in that year was the fourth Sunday after Easter, the reverend Master John Cele died at Zwolle in the diocese of Utrecht.
He had ruled the scholars there strictly, being an excellent instructor of youth, a zealous lover of the divine Name, and one that closely attended the choral and other offices of the Church and taught others so. This most faithful man, eminent for his honest life, ruled the school for many years, and with discernment taught many of his pupils to love holy religion and the following after God. What Order that is illustrious for its life or reputation hath not had monks that were his pupils? Although above others the Canons Regular, the Cruciferi, and the Cistercians have gained many adherents to the Order from among his students, and of these some, being endued with the grace of virtue, have become fathers of monasteries and rectors of churches. For the pupils who were under his rule learned from their good Master to despise for Christ's sake the glory of this world that vanisheth away, and that in the whirlpool of this mortal life nothing is better and holier than to spurn the enticements of the world and to fight for the Lord of Heaven. In his days it was a lovely thing to enter the town of Zwolle and to see the chosen multitude of scholars that did attend the school. Who could tell in worthy wise with what fatherly care he strove to instruct all in learning and character, and to the leading of an upright life, and the holding of a good repute? For this purpose he often set before them and quoted the authority of the holy Scripture, and strongly encouraged them to copy sentences from the writings of the Saints. Furthermore, he gave them regular instruction in singing, taught them to attend the church assiduously, to honour Priests, to love religion, to hold converse with devout and learned men, to pray yet more often, and gladly to take their part in singing the praises of God. He himself was there present with cheerful countenance, directing the whole choir in their harmonious melody; and likewise on feast days he often played on the organ, rejoicing greatly in this task, and being herein a true imitator of David, that holy king who played upon the harp and danced before the ark of God, singing His praises. In process of time the fame of John Cele's goodness went forth to the utmost parts of Germany, and his sayings and opinions reached to the ends of the earth, borne thither on the lips of his pupils. The men of Brabant with the Flemings, they of Holland with the Frisians, they of Westphalia with the Saxons came in crowds to study under him, and having borne themselves studiously in the school, returned with their learning to their native places, men of Treves and Cologne, Liege and Utrecht, Kleef and Geldria were found here; and youths that were apt for learning gathered together from other villages and castles and made great progress in knowledge. The richer paid their own expenses out of their sufficiency, the poor gathered in bands to beg, giving thanks to the hands that helped them. These did the Master instruct gladly and without price when besought so to do for God's sake, for he was a true father of the needy, and he exhorted them to strive to turn their studies to God's service; but wandering and froward fellows he would not admit nor endure, but either by correction changed them to a better mind or drove them forth from his presence, lest the naughtiness of such presumptuous persons might work ill to them that were well disposed to obey, and disturb the peace of the studious flock and their Rector. So he was a rod of fear to the idle, but a staff of protection and safety to them that were well disposed to learn. Many of his hearers, when they had laid fitting foundation of knowledge, flew higher to loftier studies, and those who bore them diligently were promoted to the degree of Masters in a short while, and certain of these applying themselves to yet fuller knowledge were found worthy to be counted in the number of the Doctors.
The great city of Paris doth know, holy Cologne and Erfurt do confess, and the Curia at Rome is not ignorant of this, namely, the number of learned men whom the school of Zwolle sent forth while Master John Cele ruled her with all diligence, which thing he continued for a great while, even until his hair grew white, for they say that this venerable Master governed the scholars here for more than forty years.
This is his great glory, that so vast a multitude of his scholars speak well of him, so many illustrious Clerks praise him, so devout a company of monks still remember his name.
All things were well at Zwolle beneath his rule; they of the world were not at enmity with the scholars, the devout might serve God freely where they would, the Religious were under good supervision, and Priests of honest life were accepted of the citizens.
They who governed the people feared God and were endowed with wisdom and riches; moreover, amongst them were many learned magistrates who had been of old disciples of John, and as was fitting, they ever held him in love and reverence. He had collected many books for his own use, both of philosophy and divinity, and he directed that after his death these should be distributed for pious uses; for some he left as a pious bequest, and for the good of his own soul, to churches, some to monasteries, and some to the poor. So this is that revered and justly praised Master John Cele, a native of the town of Zwolle, a man well taught, learned, not puffed up by knowledge, sober, chaste, humble, and devout.
Once he had gone to the country of Brabant with the venerable Master Gerard Groote to see face to face that man most dear to God, John Ruesbroeck, one that was illustrious for his life and doctrine, for he had known him from afar, since his fame was noised abroad, and this journey he made out of love for his devout and holy life. John Ruesbroeck received them both in fatherly wise, and after a few days they returned to their own habitation, greatly refreshed by the words of his mouth and by his living example. This is more fully set forth in the book of the life of that memorable Father. From this time forth the flame of brotherly love burned yet more vehemently in the heart of each, and, indeed, John Cele did wondrously love Gerard from the very beginning of his preaching, ever holding him dear, and a man of one heart with him in Christ, one that did treat well of the Word of God before the people, showed a pattern of life in his own conduct, and was very fervent in his zeal for souls. For this reason Master John bore the reproach of men and much evil speaking from the froward, who never fail so to entreat them that do well; and this befell him because he encouraged and praised the acts of the Master and the glorious words of his preaching, yet was he not overcome by the snarls of envious folk, nor ceased greatly to extol Gerard, but before the magistrates and the people he spake freely on behalf of the Religious. To him did Gerard address certain friendly letters, and John, who loved the Master's words with all his heart, did collect the whole number of his epistles, because of his delight in reading them. Likewise he did often mention the venerable Master by name to his scholars, as one whom he knew well, and in his own pleasant voice did recount his deeds for an example to them. This is the end of the life of John, that faithful servant of Christ Jesus, to whom may God grant to enjoy the glory of heaven with all the saints. His body was buried at Windesem, in the ancient cloister, near the door of the church.
Concerning John Brinckerinck, a disciple of Master Gerard.
In the year of the Lord 1419, on the 26th of March, that is to say, on the day following the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, John Brinckerinck died at Deventer. He was a man beloved of God, a devout Priest and Rector, and Confessor to the Beguines in the House of Master Gerard Groote. He was born of good parents in the city of Zutphen, in Geldria, and in the years of his youth he began the devout life through the preaching of Master Gerard, for in a short while he became a disciple of the Master and was adorned with special grace; moreover, he heard many good things from him, and received from his mouth words of heavenly wisdom, for he oft held converse with him in the House, and yet more often without when they journeyed.
After Gerard's happy death, John was ordained to the priesthood, and when John de Gronde, the first Confessor of the Sisters at Deventer died, he ruled the said Sisterhood which Gerard had founded, being set up as the second Rector thereof, in which office he was a zealous minister, and he governed the Sisters in most excellent wise for many years, for God helped him. Sometimes he preached the Word of God in church to the people, and he drew many to the service of God as handmaids of Christ; and when the congregation of Sisters had begun to grow in merit and to increase daily in number, he began to build a monastery for the Nuns of the Order of Regulars outside the city of Deventer towards the north, a work done with great and daily labour, and he ruled the same most strictly with all diligence.
Through his example and his counsels, which promoted the salvation of many, a great number of other Houses for Nuns were begun in divers parts, of which some were under the discipline of the Canons Regular, while others professed the rule of the third Order and were incorporated therein.
His body was taken to his own monastery at Diepenvene, and there buried in the choir before the High Altar, and after his death John Hoef was preferred to be Rector of the Sisters in Deventer, but the care of the Nuns was committed to the Prior of Windesem.
Of the death of Gisbert Dou, Rector of the Sisters at Amsterdam.
In the year of the Lord 1420, on the day before the Feast of the Nativity of the glorious Virgin Mary, Gisbert Dou died in Holland. He was a Priest of reverend life and Rector and Confessor to many Sisters in Amsterdam, and he did also promote and found two monasteries for the Canons Regular. This man of God, from the beginning of his conversion, was very familiar with Gerard Groote, and his close friend, for he knew his inmost thoughts better than did any other mortal man, both the good thoughts and the bad alike, and whatever Gerard did in his life, for he was his Confessor and his most faithful confidant in those things which pertain to the examination of the conscience. He held with him, therefore, most devout colloquies, frequently conferring with him as to the condition of the Brothers or Sisters, and the things needful to preserve the devotion which had begun in many places. But through the bounty of God he lived safely for many years to comfort the good, and he often preached the Word of God publicly in the church to the people. He was kindly and liberal in hospitality to all who came to him, a faithful helper of the poor, a sweet comforter to the sad, a staunch friend to the Religious. The mighty looked favourably upon him, the simple folk and the community loved him, and learned men and prelates heard him reverently; and so having fulfilled seventy-five years of life, he died in a good old age amongst the Fathers of his House, and was buried in the Convent of the Sisters of our Order.
In the year of the Lord 1450, Peter de Mera, Chamberlain to our Lord Eugenius IV, obtained a letter granting Indulgence to our House, namely, to the Prior, the Brothers, the Converts, the Donates, and the Oblates in the House on Mount St. Agnes; and the purport of his letter was as followeth:
"Most blessed Father and most holy Lord, This petition is made to further the salvation of the souls of your devout servants Theodoric the Prior, the Canons or Brothers, and the other members of the community who dwell in the Monastery on Mount St. Agnes, near Zwolle, following the rule of the Order of Canons Regular, which monastery is in the diocese of Utrecht: likewise on behalf of the servants of this same House, and of other Priors, Canons, Brothers, members of the community, and servants, who shall dwell from time to time in the aforesaid monastery; wherefore that in future they may be ordered in more wholesome wise we beseech your holiness to deign of your grace to grant them Indulgence to the effect following, namely, that as long as they continue in the verity of the faith, the unity of the Holy Roman Church, in obedience and in devotion to your holiness and your successors, the Chief Pontiffs of the Holy Roman Church, who shall be canonically elected, so long a suitable Confessor chosen by them shall have power under the authority of the Apostolic See to grant to them when in articulo mortis full remission of all sin which they may have confessed with contrition of heart. Provided always that they presume not to do any unlawful thing through their reliance upon this Indulgence, and provided also that so soon as they are notified of this Indulgence they keep fast on every Friday for one whole year, or do some other act of piety: but if they have neglected to fast or been unable to do so, or if it hath been their custom heretofore so to fast on every Friday, then they shall be bound to perform some other special act of grace in accordance with the directions of the aforesaid Confessor.
"The privilege desired in this petition is granted to all professed Brothers, Converts, and Oblates, under perpetual vows, so long as they live in the observance of the rule.
"Given in the presence of our Lord the Pope,
"It is asked also that the aforesaid licence hold good without letters Apostolic to confirm the same.
"Granted. C. ARMINIENSIS."
As to the gaining of Indulgences at the stations in Rome.
To the venerable and devout Priors at Windesem and Mount St. Agnes near Zwolle, and to the Priests and Fathers unfeignedly beloved in Christ Jesus, these, from Brother Everard Swane of the House of the Blessed Virgin in the Wood near Northorn, your unprofitable servant, good Fathers. Venerable Fathers, most beloved in Christ Jesus, my love is ever ready to serve you, and I was desired by divers persons, yea, and besought, as I understood, by some of your Brothers also, to write to the Curia to enquire as to the virtue and extent of the Indulgences granted at certain stations in Rome by our most Holy Father Pope Eugenius IV, the granting of which Indulgences was promoted by my Lord the Cardinal as ye do know. I was required to ask the virtue of such, and how they might be obtained; this thing, therefore, I did long since, and I have received a reply to this effect, namely: "That no man may know fully the virtue and extent of these Indulgences, because from the time of St. Peter onward, Indulgences beyond number have been given and granted by divers Pontiffs."
I have spoken likewise on this matter with certain persons that are about the Court, and to put the matter shortly, these also are unable to give any certain decision in the matter, but, arguing it amongst themselves, some said that the remission of all sins may be obtained at any station; others held and said that all Indulgences granted throughout the whole city may be obtained at any one of the stations. Which is the truer argument I dare not to say, beloved Fathers, but this I know full well of mine own knowledge and experience, that Cardinals, Prelates, and others, both men and women, throughout the whole city, are wont to be zealous in visiting each several station; neither is it the usage there to make any reference to the virtue or extent of the Indulgences, even inwardly, but every man doth commit this matter to God Who alone doth know the tale of the same, and we too ought to follow this custom. But as concerning the gaining of the same, of which I have made mention above, the Chamberlain of my Lord Bologna, who returned to this country a short while ago for divers purposes, hath told me thereof by word of mouth, and he saith that he himself was present when the Indulgences were granted. Every man that hath made his confession and is contrite, and hath fulfilled the conditions laid down in the letter wherein the Indulgence was granted—that is, living in common and in the observance of the rule—may gain the same in the church of his own monastery. And these conditions are that he enter the church with the same intention that he would have in Rome were he present there on the proper days for visiting the stations; that he prostrate himself before the altar which he would have chosen there, and pour forth his prayers or certain repetitions of the Pater Noster as devoutly as he may: that he celebrate Mass: or visit the several altars saying the Pater Noster or other prayers after the same manner as that which is customary in the aforesaid city. In short, if any man doth as is aforesaid, there is sure hope that he will gain the Indulgences just as if he were actually present in Rome, as is set forth also in the said letter. Therefore, beloved Fathers, ye may, if it please you, tell these things to the Brothers of your House, or to any others ye will that desire to be informed as to the matters set forth above, and in this do as may seem expedient to you. As for our Lord Eugenius the Pope, aforementioned, who hath granted and given us Indulgences so freely, and my Lord of Bologna who procured the grant, and others who have laboured in what manner soever to this same end, ye will (as they do trust) make mention of them in your prayers, especially on the days proper for the stations, committing them to God for the sake of Jesus the humble. And may He see fit to keep you, and all that are committed to your charge, safe in His holy service.
Written on the day following the Feast of St. Philip and St. James, in the year of the Lord 1443.
The letter of the Cardinal of Bologna.
Antony, by the mercy of God, Bishop of Ostia, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and commonly known as the Cardinal of Bologna, to all and each of the Canons Regular, our beloved in Christ, and to all other persons that are Converts or Lay Brothers in the House of the Blessed Virgin in the Wood, and in the Houses elsewhere that belong to the said Order of St. Augustine in whatever diocese they may be, and who live in the observance of the rule, and to others who shall see these presents, greeting:
It is a just thing, and one consonant with reason, to bear witness to the truth; wherefore by the tenor of these presents we do notify your whole society, and bear witness that our most holy Father and Lord Eugenius IV, by divine providence Pope, by his Apostolic authority hath granted to each and all of you Indulgence and Concession following at my prayer and instance, the same being delivered by word of mouth and needing no further confirmation by letters Apostolic. Ye are not bound in any way whatever to avoid any man, even though he be for the time being held under sentence of excommunication, either at the time of the celebration of the divine Mysteries or at other seasons (unless indeed there be any in your churches that are publicly denounced as excommunicate), nor shall such intercourse be held to impute guilt to you or to any one of your company. Likewise and by similar authority he doth grant to you, that those among you that for the time being do suffer infirmities in the body be not bound to say or recite the Canonical Hours during the time of such infirmity, nor be deemed to be under such compulsion so that they be excused by the counsel of such suitable Confessors as may be chosen from your body.
Likewise that each Prelate of your several churches shall have authority with regard to vows to make pilgrimage across the seas, to the shrine of the Blessed Peter and Paul, or other places of pilgrimage which ought to be paid by you, or any one of you, from time to time, to commute the same to other acts of piety.
Furthermore and by the authority aforesaid he doth grant to the followers of your devotion this concession:
Whereas Indulgences have been granted by the Apostolic See to faithful persons all and sundry who from year to year devoutly visit certain churches in the which "stations" are appointed for certain days—and of these churches some are within, and some without the city—and whereas these Indulgences are granted to persons who visit the said churches on the days for which stations for this purpose are appointed;
Now therefore he doth grant that each and all of you, being truly penitent and having made confession, may and ought to enjoy the benefits of such Indulgences just as if ye had actually and in person visited the churches aforesaid.
And this concession shall avail both for the present and time to come for ever, so that it hold good for those of you only who shall continue to live in common, and in your own community (that is under the General Chapter), and shall persevere in the observance of the said rule.
A LETTER CONCERNING THE FIRST INSTITUTION OF THE MONASTERY AT WINDESEM.
Here beginneth the preface to the work following: with the whole affection of my heart and mind, and with the service of my voice do I exalt God, the Invisible, the Almighty, and His only begotten son our Lord Jesus Christ.
My most beloved Brother of old, when I told the tale of the former state of this House, of the Fathers and Brothers thereof, and their blessed deeds, and when I related also the origin of this foundation, thou didst seem to lend an ear somewhat readily thereto. Furthermore, thou didst make request that some memorial thereof should be committed to writing (for so it seemed good to thee), because they who saw and knew the former members of the House and the fervour of their lives, are now almost all dead; and I am as it were the dregs of the cup, the very last of all; and being already worn with age, it is like that I shall not be suffered to abide long with thee. For this cause thou dost affirm that it should be profitless and wasteful that by the lapse of time things that might perchance serve as an example and tend to the edification of some, should pass over to forgetfulness.
Wherefore I have fulfilled thy petition, though mayhap not thy full desire, since my manner of writing is coarse and ill-kempt; for which reason I have made no mention of thy name, nor of my own; and this is of set purpose lest if this poor letter fall at any time into the hands of another, he might be offended on the very threshold and so not care to go forward any further.
II. The history of the origin of the New Devotion.
Now in the days of old the land of the English did abound in men great and holy, by whose saintliness and doctrine (as saith the venerable Bede) that land was watered like the Paradise of the Lord; and so it was that certain rivulets of that water, through the mercy of God, flowed down to this our land to make it fruitful. For this country was up to that time truly parched and ill-tended, inasmuch as doing service to idols, and being ensnared in the errors of the heathen, it was held captive of the devil.
III. Of them by whom this land was turned to the Faith of Christ.
As for the first and chief of these spiritual rivulets, namely that great man and true saint, Willebrord, we know the tale of how he appeared here by sure testimony. For in the time of Pepin, King of the Franks, and his son Charles the Great, and when 700 years more or less had elapsed since the birth of the Lord, Willebrord with eleven others did irrigate the said land with the waters of their holy preaching. Moreover, with the help of his companions he did busy himself with breaking up the ground with the ploughshare of discipline, yet not without much difficulty; and in a short space the task of spreading the faith did prosper wondrously beneath their hands; for God worked with them, and did confirm their words with signs following.
Of a truth how great a fervour of faith and devotion flourished in this our land under their guidance, and for a long while after their days, is shown to this day, not only by the testimony of the books which we have read, but also by those countless churches and monasteries which, as we see, were builded on every side where the temples of idols had been overthrown.
IV. A lamentation over the waning of the aforesaid fervour.
But, fie upon it, this first fervour and regular observance of discipline did in process of time grow so lukewarm and feeble, that the outward framework thereof alone remained, and as for the fruitfulness of the truly spiritual life, the devil might seem to have said in the words of Esaias, "and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of defence."
A certain aged man and an honoured priest spake in my hearing of this drouth and failure of devotion, and referring to the time of which I tell, he said that in the days of his youth and in these parts of the Low Countries, all things pertaining to devotion and charity were so brought to nothingness, that if any were touched inwardly by a desire to amend his life, he would scarce find one single man from whom to ask counsel; nor scarce one spot where he could put these fledgling desires into a place of safety, unless it were among the Carthusians; for amongst them Religious observance and the vigour of spiritual life did flourish at that time, but scarce amongst any others.
V. Of the rise of the New Devotion in our land.
Since, therefore, there was such drouth throughout the whole land (as hath been said before) that there seemed to be no trace anywhere of the ancient devotion, the good Lord looked down from Heaven upon the earth with the eye of His mercy, and made rise a little fount in these failing days and in our land that was desert, pathless, and unwatered; which fount grew by little and little to be a river (as is said in the Book of Esther), and after a while into much water to irrigate not trees that are corruptible, but souls, which truly are the plants of that garden which is of the Spirit and faileth not.
VI. Of Master Gherard Groet.
Master Gherard Groet was this memorable fount, and not unworthily is he thus typified, having been small in his lowly esteem and abnegation of himself, but as his name doth signify, in the sight of God mighty to overthrow by the sword of this word of the Lord the foes that rise up against the salvation of His elect, so that he and his beloved sons might gain the inheritance of Israel. One may say fitly enough of this man what St. Augustine saith of Paulinus, who from being very rich became for God's sake very poor and yet with full store of holiness.
Moreover, like Anah, he found the hot springs in the desert, namely, the sweetness of divine love beyond common measure, together with abundant zeal to gain souls, and an hatred of wickedness.
Having these things before his eyes he spared not while he lived either toil or cost, for he went about preaching everywhere in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness.
VII. Of his death.
At length after much strife, and having converted many to Christ, this most blessed Father passed happily to the Lord in the year of the Lord 1384; and he left the residue of the work, of which he himself had done enough, to his little ones, those whom he had gathered under his wings that they might promote the salvation of many and be their pattern, whom also he had nurtured with the milk of his goodness and his sweet-savoured doctrine; for it was his intention that through them should be finished that work which he had ever in mind, and had striven to carry into effect so far as he could; namely, to snatch souls from the jaws of the devil and restore them to their Maker. This work his followers in their time were not backward to do, neither have their successors to the present day ceased to fulfil the same task.
VIII. Concerning Florentius and his companions.
Of these primitive disciples of Master Gherard, the first and chief was that Florentius, son of Radewin, who was wonderful in all holiness and honesty of character, and whose name that House, which was the first of all the congregations of Clerks only, doth still retain. In like manner one House at Deventer still hath its name from Gherard Groet, because it was the House wherein he dwelt, and afterward this was the first of all the congregations of women. This Florentius with his companions that were men of light, and whose names and deeds are of record, made no small gain of souls for the Lord, especially amongst the scholars that were Clerks, and by their labours the monasteries of divers orders were propped up in no slight degree and reformed also, the Lord working by their means.
IX. How like things were done in other cities.
Florentius seeing that this was good, and that indeed no sacrifice could be more acceptable to God than zeal for souls, sent devout and learned men to other cities also to do a like work, especially to places where there were schools largely attended, such as Zwolle, Doesborch, Herderwijc and the like; and these men lived a common life like that in the congregation already founded, and gained their livelihood by writing books. They studied most of all to draw to Christ such scholars as were Clerks and when they were so drawn and converted, to send them to the several monasteries and congregations, there to serve the Lord. Moreover, the conversion of these and their conversation was a cause and means of salvation to many, as we found out afterward in the case of divers of them. So much of their calling Clerks to Christ.
X. Of the names of the Fathers and Rectors of the first congregation.
Furthermore, with regard to the Fathers of the former congregations (to go back a little to my former subject), I, in the hearing of Christ Jesus, without whom nothing can be begun or founded duly, do say as followeth:
"Through what act of grace or miracle came it to pass that as Master Gherard Groet was preaching and sowing the seed everywhere, there were added to him so suddenly and unexpectedly men of such kind and so great, for these were of one mind with him, and every one of them in each city and place burned with the zeal with which he also burned to exhort and convert a people that was stiff necked. Yet with all diligence they set them to the task of gathering together virgins as pearls from the shells and most pure lilies from the thorns. These were in their days true bridesmen and friends of the bridegroom, who hear and rejoice because of the bridegroom's voice: who strove with emulation in God's behalf to present the whole body of plighted virgins whom they had gathered together as one chaste virgin to one husband, even to Christ.
Thou dost ask, perhaps, "Who are they whom thou dost so commend, and what are their names?" Hear then:
In Deventer, John Brinckerinc ruled over the virgins that were first gathered together there, and from these in after days sprang the House at Dyepenween, which was under the same Rector.