Soreth, John, Bl.

views updated


Carmelite reformer; b. Caen, c. 1395; d. Angers, July 25, 1471. He studied at Paris, where he received his doctorate in theology in 1438. Superior of the province of Francia (144051), he was elected prior general of the order in 1451 and remained in that office until his death. As general he worked for reform, and was particularly successful in the Low Countries, the Rhineland, and northern France. He sought to improve religious life in general within his order, especially by establishing stricter observance on a voluntary basis. At the Brussels chapter of 1462, he promulgated new constitutions for his order that were approved by the Orléans chapter in 1469. He was the founder of the second order of cloistered Carmelite nuns, and received from Nicholas V the bull Cum nulla giving canonical status to various women's groups affiliated with the order (Oct. 9, 1452). He personally established some convents, among them the foundations at Liège (1457), Dinant (1455), Haarlem (1466), and Vilvoorde (1469). With the collaboration of Bl. frances d'amboise he introduced Carmelite nuns into France, establishing a house at Vannes in 1464. Bl. Soreth drew up the constitutions for the nuns. Similar foundations were established in Italy during Soreth's generalate. He visitated extensively as prior general, insisting everywhere upon the renewal of the liturgy. He was noted for his love of the Blessed Sacrament, and is pictured in art with a pyx in his hand, recalling his defense of the Eucharist from profanation when Charles the Bold attacked Liège. He was beatified by Pius IX in 1866.

Bibliography: m. reuver, "Prima biographia B. Joannis Soreth e codice Viennensi Novale Sanctorum (12709) transcripta," [by Joannes Taye, a contemporary] Carmelus 5 (1958) 7399. g. meesters, "Carmelite Spirituality according to Blessed John Soreth," The Sword 16 (1953) 323335. m. arts, "The Work of John Soreth," ibid. 15 (1952) 457466. p. m. de la croix, "Une Précieuse découverte: Les Constitutions des Carmélites de Vannes (Nazareth)," Carmel 44 (1961) 6170. g. meesters, "Johannes Soreth und sein Werk," in Karmel: Gesetz und Geheimnis, ed. a. deckert and o. merl (Cologne 1959) 5568. Carmelus 10 (1963), special number on Las monjas Carmelitas hasta Santa Teresa de Jesús, has much on Soreth and the nuns, e.g., a. staring, "The Carmelite Sisters in the Netherlands," 5692, v. wilderink, "Les Premiers monastères de Carmélites en France," 93148.

[e. r. caroll]