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.