Guigo I

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Carthusian legislator and spiritual writer; b. 1084; d. July 27, 1136. Guigo entered La Grande-Chartreuse in 1106 and was elected its fifth prior in 1109. After an avalanche destroyed the monastery in 1132, Guigo rebuilt it on the site where it still stands. St. Bernard venerated him as a master of the mystical life; Peter the Venerable considered him one of the most remarkable men of his time.

Between 1121 and 1127, Guigo wrote the Consuetudines Cartusiae, a codification of the customs that regulated the life of the earliest Carthusian monks and lay brothers. The main sources of this, after the Scriptures, as Guigo mentions, were the letters of St. Jerome and the Rule of St. Benedict. With regard to the "other writings of incontestable authority" to which he refers, recent research has been able to identify many of them and has thus shown that the first Carthusians were widely read in ancient and contemporary literature on the monastic and the eremitical life. The Consuetudines of Guigo became the rule of the Carthusian Order, shaping in outline and in many particulars its semi-eremitical character as it is lived to the present day. Subsequent collections of statutes provided for changing circumstances, but the Consuetudines remained the backbone of the order's legislation. The first general chapter (1140 or 1141), establishing liturgical uniformity for the whole confederation of charterhouses, made Guigo's codification of the liturgy and the chant of La Grande-Chartreuse normative for all other houses. During the last years of his life, Guigo wrote a life of St. Hugh of Grenoble (d. 1132), the cofounder of La Grande-Chartreuse. In his Meditationes, Guigo left us one of the spiritual and literary masterpieces of his century. Nine of his letters are extant.

Bibliography: m. laporte, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacqumet 5:375376. Consuetudines Cartusiae, Patrologia Latina 153:631760. Critical ed. in Aux Sources de la Vie Cartusienne, stenciled Collection to be consulted in Carthusian libraries, v.4 (1962). Lettres des premiers Chartreux (Sources Chrétiennes 88; Paris 1962) v.1. guigues du chastel, Meditationes Guigonis prioris Cartusiae, ed. a. wilmart (Études de philosophie médiévale 22; Paris 1936), critical ed.; Meditations of Guigo, tr. j. j. jolin (Milwaukee 1951). s. autore, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 6.2:196466.

[b. du moustier]