Esch, Nicholas van

views updated


Mystical theologian; b. Oosterwijk, Holland, 1507;d. Diest, July 19, 1578. He studied in the College of Pope Adrian VI in Louvain, was ordained priest in 1530, and settled in Cologne. There he tutored and taught philosophy. He had great influence intellectually and spiritually over a group of university students, among them Peter canisius. He was devoted to the Carthusian Order and lived at several different times in the monastery, although his weak health prevented his becoming a member of the order. In 1538 he became pastor at Diest, where he was in charge of the Beguines of St. Catherine. He founded several diocesan seminaries according to the rules of the Council of Trent, and he contributed to the reform of many monasteries and convents by letters, counsel, and visits, on his own initiative or by order of the bishops. His spiritual doctrine, deeply rooted in his own period, was influenced by thomas À kempis, Gerard groote, Meister eckhart, Johannes tauler, henry suso, etc. Among his literary works are Introductio in vitam introversam, which is the introduction to Templum animae (Antwerp 1563) and Exercitia theologiae mysticae (Antwerp 1563).

Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae 3:133. hermes in Wetzer und Welte's Kirchenlexikon, 12 v. (Freiburg 18821903) 4:888889. d. a. stracke in Ons geestelijk erf 25 (1951) 5990. p. grootens, ibid. 31 (1957) 5171. a. ampe, ibid. 32 (1958) 303330; Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique 4:106066. a. f. manning, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 3:1109.

[m. m. barry]