Mark of the Nativity

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Carmelite of the Touraine Reform, whose secular name was Mark Genest and whose religious name in more complete form was Mark of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin; b. Cuno near Saumur (southeast of Angers), Jan. 9, 1617; d. Feb. 23, 1696. After being educated by the Benedictines, then by the Jesuits at La Flèche, Mark entered the Carmelites in 1631 at Rennes, where earlier in the same century the touraine reform had been inaugurated. He was influenced by the Carmelite Bernard of Saint-Magdalen and by the lay brother mystic john of saint-samson of the same order. Taking prominent part in the reform, Mark completed and edited directories for novices (165051), which became the official manuals of the reform and influenced the Directorium Carmelitanum vitae spiritualis (Vatican 1940; Eng. tr. The Carmelite Directory of the Spiritual Life, Chicago 1951). Mark edited directories for external conduct (167779), wrote a manual for the Carmelite Third Order, served as confessor to the archbishop of Tours (Victor le Bouteiller), and at various times was novice master, prior, definitor, visitator, and provincial. He was also involved in a bitter dispute with the Jansenist Antoine Arnauld (d. 1694).

Bibliography: c. de villiers, Bibliotheca carmelitana, ed. g. wessels, 2 v. in 1 (Rome 1927) 2:312330. Méthode claire et facile pour bien faire l'oraison mentale et pour s'exercer avec fruit en la présence de Dieu, rev. innocent de marie immaculÉe (Bruges 1962). k. healy, Methods of Prayer in the Carmelite Reform of Touraine (Rome 1956) 2728, 3038.

[k. j. egan]