When any one at meal-time read somewhat incorrectly and stammered over the words, this venerable woman said to him “Read no more and do not defile the Word of God lest harm come to holy things and they that hear be offended in thee. Let another read that hath better skill thereto, that we may all understand and be edified.”
After no long time this good woman came to the end of her life on the Thursday in Holy Week after Mass was ended, and she was buried at Zwolle by her friends and the Brothers. From that hour and day, for three whole days, her son John Ummen fasted from every kind of food to promote his mother’s salvation, and he neither ate nor drank aught until the dawning of the day of the Lord’s Passover, and yet was he as whole in body and in strength as if he had been well fed every day.
And as these servants of God lived in poverty and at the common charge it came to pass that many men that were in the world, considering their holy life, came together to them, being eager to serve God and to leave the world, in the hope of an eternal gain. Meanwhile it happened that the venerable Master Gerard Groote came to Zwolle about the beginning of Lent, and of necessity abode there certain days, since he was anxious to comfort his poor children, for it was his desire to refresh with the word of consolation those whom he had drawn to leave the world. So a very great company of people came together to his preaching, and many devoutly submitted themselves to his counsel, for sometimes he would preach two sermons in one day so as to water the chosen vineyard of the Lord. And if he had determined to preach after the midday meal, he would remain praying in the Church or walking in meditation in the churchyard, taking no food himself, while he awaited the return of the people. For this reason they that loved his holy discourse were unwilling to stay away too long, but would sit them down in the churchyard or in the Church, and take beforehand places that were convenient and near the pulpit, so that at the proper hour they might the more readily hear and understand the Word of God. And when Gerard had done his faithful preaching, each would return to his own concerns rejoicing with eager heart, and praising God for all the things he had heard. And they marvelled above measure at the humble bearing of the Master, and were