It is no easy task to tell with what toil and sweat this mountainous place was turned into a level plane, and this sandy soil made abundantly fruitful. Very heavy and long was the labour of preparing a site for the burial-ground and church, for here the slope was steeper than in other places, and extended over the whole face of the ground. Yet by little and little and by labour done at divers times this hill was taken away and the matter thereof thrown outside the boundary wall into a deep valley toward the north: so that to the wonder of many scarce a trace of the said hill could be seen. And the Brothers who worked by turns there would say to one another: “True is the word of the Lord which He spake: ’If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed ye shall say to this mountain, be thou removed from hence hither and it shall be done!’ But since faith without works is dead, we do firmly believe that if we put our hand to this work in the name of the Lord, we shall quickly remove this mountain.” So it was done, not to this mountain only but also to others that stood round about the monastery when the boundaries thereof began to be enlarged and to be surrounded by a wall of stone. Besides this Prior John set up the following needful buildings: namely, a Refectory for the Brothers and another for the Lay Folk, a kitchen and cellar, and cells for guests, also a sacristy for Divine service between the choir and the Chapter House. And he himself was the first among them that laboured, and would carry the hod of mortar, and dig with the spade and throw the earth into the cart. When he had leisure he was instant in reading holy books, and often worked at writing or illuminating. He caused several books to be written for the choir and the library, and because they were poor he appointed certain Brothers to write for sale, as was the custom from old time. This many of the Brothers were zealous to do, but others set themselves manfully to the tasks without.
In the year 1399, Indulgences were granted to the people of Zwolle by the Apostolic See, and Pope Boniface the Ninth granted these to be gained by all that were truly penitent at the Church of St. Michael on the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, and on the Feast of St. Michael.
In this same year, I, Thomas of Kempen, a scholar at Deventer and a native of the diocese of Cologne, came to Zwolle to gain indulgences. Then I went on, glad at heart, to Mount St. Agnes, and was instant to be allowed there to abide, and I was received with mercy. Afterward, on the day before the Feast of St. Barbara the Virgin, came William, son of Henry of Amsterdam, who also, at that time, lived at Deventer with the devout Clerks.
How the Burial-ground at Mount St. Agnes was consecrated.