Ruysbroeck, John

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John Ruysbroeck, Dutch Jan van Ruusbroec (yän vän rois´brōōk), 1293–1381, Roman Catholic mystic, b. Brabant (now in Belgium and the Netherlands). He was an Augustinian canon. In middle age he retired to a hermitage at Groenendael (near Brussels), where he was prior of a small community. His sanctity and good counsel attracted visitors from afar, and Johannes Tauler and Gerard Groote were among his followers. His influence on Groote was so great that John is regarded as a forerunner of the Brothers of the Common Life. His mystical treatises are classics of Middle Dutch literature and of Christian mysticism. There are English translations of The Seven Steps of the Ladder of Spiritual Love (1944) and The Spiritual Espousals (1953). His cult is widespread among Roman Catholics of N Europe. He was beatified in 1908.

See S. Axters, Spirituality of the Old Low Countries (1954); P. Mommaers, The Land Within (tr. N. D. Smith, 1976).